Archive | October, 2013

Living an Earth Connected Life of Elegant Simplicity – WITH? / VERSUS? – the Internet and Social Media!

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I find myself pondering, all to often, the impact of the internet and social media on my  earth connected life.  Can the two extremes function together?  I  have been going back and forth and back and forth and…………. I think I have finally come to a satisfactory conclusion  *for me* !  They can work together!

I was born on the Family Farm in Concord, Massachusetts. While life has taken me to many places and in many directions, I have always maintained a connection to the soil, to the land. It is in my blood!   As a child, I lived in the country, we had a big garden and I can remember renovating a large shed with my brothers (using lumber from a collapsed barn, salvaged nails, a hand saw and a hammer) to ready for the pair of bottle lambs our neighbor was giving us.

Later as an adult, we raised our own beef, pork, lamb and poultry. Hand milked our Guernsey cow, Molly, and eventually her two daughters Matilda and Martha.

During these years there was only television and it played a very small role in life!  Strictly controlled when we were young ( Black & White) and not that important in later years.

WELL, full disclosure requires that I confess to watching a full week of Betty Davis movies (two per night) when I was in college!

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Now, in my 65th year, the world is much different and more complicated

The world is wired.  Computers and Smart Phones link to the internet, facebook, twitter and on and on.  Many people are “connected” all the time. Separated from real human to human interactions. Families, under the same roof, connect individually to the net while often communicating with each other electronically!   This electronic evolution/revolution seems to isolate and separate from other people and from nature.

Part of me has argued internally for outright rejection. I resisted computers until I decided in 1997 that I needed to learn how to use them or be left behind. At that point they had not become so invasive.  I decided, that in order to understand how they work, I needed to create a webpage from scratch using html codes. I did it and never have had to since as an IT Husband does it for me now:)

I do not have a smart phone! I do not want or need one. I do have a cell phone. I can make  a call, send a text and take a picture. That is all I need.

My being loves having my hands in the dirt in the garden, the poultry, the natural world in general AND my being enjoys and needs nice things – books, art, silver and china. That combination creates what I call “elegant simplicity”

Nothing beats an evening with friends, gathered at a nice table, with good food and conversation and suddenly someone says: “OH my goodness it is after midnight” Those not frequent enough occasions are the frosting on life.  Now, chances are the communications that gathered us together were via e-mail.

SO yes, modern technology fits an earth connected lifestyle if it is managed to enhance and not take over!  I use facebook!  Not for a zillion friends I do not know but to maintain contact with a few friends scattered far and wide.  Friends from my days at Borders. Friends connected to Star Island. Some friends I have connected with because of joint interests in gardening, poultry, food and lifestyle.  I use FB for gardening connections.  How else would I be able to connect with and follow Ben Falk  or John Forti  or, or, or……

I use the internet for this website, where I connect with people around the world and promote our poultry which I hatch and ship.  I maintain a facebook page for our Chanteclers  and our Icelandics.

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Fayrehale White Chanteclers in winter housing.

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Fayrehale Icelandics in winter housing

Currently there are 427 people following the Chantecler page and 75 following the newly created Icelandic page.  That is over 500 people that we have connected with for our poultry sales.  Something that would never have happened without the internet!  Our beautiful small Vermont village is the perfect place to live.  Selective utilization of modern technology allows us to connect across the country and around the world with like minded people.

I am state emphatically that modern technology enhances and expands our simple, earth connected life!  It allows us to be connected with like minded people and thus less isolated in our existence.

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So, as the Hackmatacks turn yellow and prepare to shed their needles, we have moved back into the house for the winter. It is time to dust and clean the dining room  (The incubator ran in the dining room from March to September:) so that we can have friends over for supper.

And YES, we will use e-mail to make the arrangements!

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Fleeting Fall In Vermont !

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DSCN3202Today is October 14th, Columbus Day, and I realized that I have not posted since September 3rd!  Time has flown as we scurry to be ready for winter!  I will take a few minutes tonight and give you a glimpse of what we are doing and a few updates!

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The second 3 cord load of firewood –  We stack along both sides of the driveway. The left over and driest wood is closest to the kitchen door:)

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Is there anything more beautiful than poultry, freshly feathered for winter, glistening in the Fall sun ?

We had a very successful season with our White Chantecler Breeding Program and once again we shipped chicks and eggs all over the Country.  We added a second great heritage breed when we brought Icelandic Chickens to Fayrehale Farm! They too will be offered in 2014.

Four weeks ago all the pens were thrown open and all the birds allowed to free range as they molted and prepared for Winter.  Two more weeks and we will start gathering them up.  The lucky ones will go into winter housing and be either breeders or egg layers for next year.  The others will help sustain us and their good lives will end November 9th when we have a hundred or so butchered.

As you may or may not know, we have had an unusual season weather wise!  May & June saw us swimming in water and mud as Nature gifted? us *each* month with 10-12 inches of rain!  This delayed the gardens as those foolish enough to plant replanted 2 & 3 times.It was mid June when we finally got started and even with well started plants it has been an interesting and so-so year

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In July, I wrote about growing melons in one of the hoop houses.  We good good growth, great blossoming, lots of bumble and mason bee activity pollinating and plenty of small melons.  None to a stage where they were big enough to ripen.  Will do it again next year and plan an earlier start.

UPDATE!  October 20th re: Melons

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We found three melons when were were preparing the Melon Hoop for winter housing for the Icelandics!  We had our first one for breakfast this morning!  What a treat! No way to describe how much better a home raised melon, ripened on the vine is!  No way that commerical, store bought melons come close!!

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I am claiming the Bitter Melon (Bitter Gourd) to be a *success* !  Considering the season, I am pleased to have had half a dozen good size fruit to eat!  The vines took off later than was ideal (I blame the weather) and if I could have the 2 months I lost at the beginning of the season, I think we would have had an abundant crop.  We definitely do it again next season and may put an arbor in one of the hoop houses along with replanting the outside area that did well this year.

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Lots of beautiful apples this year!  The secret to great apple sauce is a *hot* apple picker! We have an ample supply of apple sauce frozen for this winter.  I did not have time to can this season so the freezers are our friends.  After Tom picked the apples, I steamed them whole (having rinsed them for possible dust as we use no sprays), ran them through the Foley Food Mill and added some (small amount) of local honey and some cinnamon. DELICIOUS!

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GREAT year for squash and pumpkins!  We had vines growing every where. Up over hoop houses and up into the trees.  We have a good harvest (more butternut that any other variety) and will store them whole for a long as possible, checking and processing it they show signs that they need it!

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The Pallet Garden was a big success and was published in magazines in England and New Zealand!  Next year we will do it again and keep it to salad greens, chard & herbs w/ tomatoes in the pots.  It was very productive and close to the kitchen. It also was smack dab in the middle of the front yard! and I believe in productive front yards!

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Tomatoes!  Tomatoes grew lush and heavily fruited plants! And with the exception of Stupice  which I fed on almost daily, plant to mouth, and Great White, they mostly stayed green!  Maybe a dozen other than Stupice & Great White ripened over the summer. I did not have time to process green tomatoes so the Chickens enjoyed.

Swiss Chards, lettuces, mixed greens and peppers (hot red & sweet bell) did beautifully and we fed regularly on then all summer.  Plenty of bell peppers in the freezer.

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Something enjoyed the corn before it the ears were plump enough and mature enough for us to enjoy!  We planted 12 stalk  w/ beans and squash.  We do not have room to grow corn to eat and have a great place just across the river in New Hampshire where we could get freshly picked corn every weekend when Tom was here.

AND that brings us to the biggest time consuming activity occupying us right now as we race winter!  I am priming and painting in the barn where the Shops at Fayrehale will open in the Spring!  Priming 1840 bead board is a slow, time consuming job!  Especially up near the ceiling where we are leaving beams and boards raw.  I need to bring the Shops at Fayrehale page on this site up to date!  NOT tonight! Instead a will just post a selection of pictures here to give you an idea of how things are progressing.  We will be offering Antiques, Christmas and Gifts.

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The area for the kitchen tin and antiques is yellow w/ white shelves.  The exception is the closet (left in 2nd picture) while will be totally yellow with under shelf lighting.  I had to grab a few pieces of time to test the color!  and it works as I visualized it to.

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The Christmas area is red & white. This area is a “U” with an adjustable unit on each side (red with white shelves). The back is a solid red, fixed shelf unit that with have a piece of white 1/4″ quarter round added to the front of the shelves.  Boxes of Christmas ornaments will be displayed here. The far side of the side shown in the 2nd picture will be the same red w/ white shelves. The back of the right side (not clearly shown) is the yellow section w/ tin shown above.

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The opposite side of the barn will be antiques. The green (chosen to highlight silver) and the blue (chosen to highlight clear and milk glass) will also help direct and focus the customer’s eye so they are hopefully not over whelmed by a white wall of beautiful items!

Still need to second coat the green and blue and touch up the white. Pleased with the way it is coming together and it too is as I visualized.

So you can see we have been busy!  We wish you a happy continuation of Fall as we work to have the painting done by the end of October!

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Enjoy Fall

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