Archive | December, 2013

Welcoming 2014 – HAPPY NEW YEAR – Reflecting on 2013

NEW Year  1545839_10201353928905487_1284327879_n 2014 Will Be A Good Year !!!!

As the last four and a half hours of 2013 tick away, I am excited to begin the New Year.

2013 was, in many ways, a transition year.  I managed to be freed from an unsatisfactory living situation, grew the Chantelcer breed and business, learned much about gardening in not previously experienced conditions, added Icelandic Chickens, started this blog, and made some major progress in getting the barn transformed for Shops at Fayrehale which will open the end of May 2014.

Please note! (Those of you who many not know)  The unsatisfactory living situation I was freed from did not involve my husband but rather an individual we had opened our home to, who had lived with and basically been supported by us for 18 months, who ended up leaving on a negative note, and who caused as much disruptive and negative social activity as possible. I did not realize how much I had shut down during these 18 months until I was freed from the oppression of the situation!   It is over and done with.  Life is moving forward again and unfortunately, I will take a good hard look before helping anyone get a new start again. That is too bad.

2013 ends white with snow and cold!  We are experiencing a week of subzero nights and low digit days.  I am hunkered down. Staying warm and taking care of self and critters. Preparing to do some painting for the shop in the kitchen, shelves, molding, letters for the front of the barn etc., as it is not practical to heat the barn to painting temperature during this cold.

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12 hours apart – 11:30PM and 11:30AM this last storm

We lucked out and had rain and an inch of wet snow this last storm. It still snapped a section of a three trunk birch.  I am tired of the weather hype! It is winter. Snow falls.  6,8,10,12 inches of snow is not news! It is winter. Let me know if we will be getting 2 or 3 feet in 24 hours! Then I can shovel once or twice as it happens.

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Our World Here In Vermont Is Beautiful

I started this blog site February 4th, 2013.  Since then there have been 8,234 visits by 6,503 people. Thus 20.9% have been repeat visitors and the rest visited once.  Almost 1000 have been outside the United States.  More than I would have expected have communicated with me about various areas represented here.  While not large numbers compared to many sites,  I am surprised.

It shows how one can live a life of elegant simplicity, on the edge of a small Vermont village and still connect to many, scattered all over, with similar interests and concerns. I am humbled to think the life we are living may be of interest and assistance to others.

We enter 2014 prepared to open the Shop in May, to breed and ship Chanteclers  & Icelandics and to garden even more successfully than we did in 2013.

Remembering, as we hope you will too, to take time to stop and smell the roses.

Welcome 2014



Full Cold Moon / Long Night’s Moon Delivers First Measurable Snow

As the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark, we received 9.5 inches of snow.  More than our total winter snow fall for each of the last three years.  20 below zero nights kept me busy keeping the chickens comfortable and the house warm!

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I realized, mid month, that I had to slow down and allow my abdominal scar, where I had three cysts removed the end of November, to heal. Not an easy decision for me to make with all I have to do here!  I accepted that healing had to be the first priority and I can catch up later.

To feel productive I did some work on this blog site and created four sub-pages under the Shops at Fayrehale page.  It is our intent to have an online business presence where we can offer items that are representative of what we carry in the Shop.  Nothing can match an in person visit! (Once we open in late May 2014)  We know everyone won’t be able to make a personal visit so we will keep some interesting items on here.


Our goal is to maintain and present an unusual and eclectic selection of antiques in the shop and some of them will be featured under Antiques from Shops At Fayrehale


Christmas has always been a special time of year for me.  Years ago (1973), my brother and I established The Christmas Shop in Searsport, Maine.  This was before the big box Christmas stores full of stuff from China and people drove hours out of their way to visit us.  A unique store full of German ornaments along with gifts and toys.  That must be in my blood as Christmas will have a significant place in the shop we are opening here at Fayrehale.  Once we are open there will be a nice selection presented here on the Christmas from Shops At Fayrehale page.

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Gifts from Shops At Fayrehale  allows us to offer things for the person who isn’t interested in antiques. This page will grow along with the Christmas and Toy pages as we approach opening and non-antique merchandize is received.  As I have visualized and planned Shops At Fayrehale over the years, I have always said: “Antiques, Christmas and Gifts – those three words will stop every car!”

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Toys from Shops At Fayrehale rounds out the four areas we will feature in Shops At Fayrehale.

We are excited about our May, 2014 opening!  Lots to do and I will get back in to the swing of things after Christmas.

Tom arrives tomorrow for a five day stay!  Yeah! We will celebrate Tom’s Birthday, which falls on the Winter Solstice, with a “Woodstock Day” and a Birthday meal at a new restaurant we have been wanting to try!  A “Woodstock Day” is a leisurely day, strolling the streets of Woodstock, and stepping in to shops as they catch our fancy!

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Woodstock, Vermont

Any visit to Woodstock always includes a visit to Gillingham’s !

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FH Gillingham & Sons General Store

So until next year!

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


Hello December!

November came and left before I realized it!  How time flies when there is so much to do  and I could use extra hours each and every day!  At least some extra hours of daylight. When one is used to working until dark, there is a big difference between 9:30PM  and 4:30PM.

We made some good steps forward in November. Steps that go beyond consolidating the poultry for winter care. Part of that consolidation involves our annual butchering day.


Preparing for Butchering

Once again we used the services of Dan Martin,  Martin’s Sawmilling & Poultry Processing Used to do my own. Now it makes so much more sense to have Dan and a couple of his daughters come and do it all efficiently in a few hours!

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This year we did 76 chickens, 6 turkeys and 4 French guinea fowl.  We had about 20 left from last season when we did 116 chickens.  The next day, after they chilled over night, Tom and I bagged them and put them in the freezer.  Planning Guinea Fowl for Christmas Dinner.

Once again, the entrails (not the offal!) were used to make a fertile trench in the garden.

Butchering accomplished, we found a semi retired contractor who could help us as we work on the Shop.  I desperately need to get that page updated.  Until I do, there have been piece meal updates in my various blog postings. Planing a May 2014 open and feeling pinched for time!

ONE major accomplishment made my heart sing!  We got the inner door framed in the larger barn door opening!  When we are closed, the barn will look like it always has!  When we are open, you will see and use the front entrance from an 1830 Cape.

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Installation of front entrance from 1830 Cape

I found and purchased this doorway in 2003 after our purchase agreement was accepted and before we closed on this property!  Purchased it for this very purpose as we knew there would be a shop in the barn once I retired and was here full time.  Being able to visualize and plan ahead has saved us thousands and thousands of dollars as I buy when the price is right – in other words when I can “steal” it!  Hate to think what this architectural component would cost today!!

We are making progress inside too.  You saw the first picture above. The second picture was taken today.

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MAJOR Progress

I have been working around the outside walls while waiting to clear out and move the things we had stored in the barn  The contractor who helped me frame in the door returned with his son and moved two very heavy and large pieces to the second floor – their ultimate home!  One a French, black lacquered sideboard that will go in the computer room one day  and the other the top, three cupboard unit that goes above the mantel for the fireplace in the library which, when finished, will be the second floor of the barn.

They moved the 1920s gas stove (originally gas & wood but converted to all gas) that we will use in the kitchen, when it is remodeled, to the back of the Shop where it will be stored and used for display.  Priced so I hope it doesn’t sell but will shed no tears if it does.

Now we can see, work and plan the actual shop space.

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The back alcove will be brightened with white paint except for the original hay racks on the back wall that will be left as they are and just cleaned.  There will be 6 lower shelving units and the pellet stove that will provide heat for the shop back here.  People can circle the center units as seen in the 2nd of these 5 photos,

November fled as we made some good progress .  Have a kerosene torpedo heater so I can keep working. I need to get the priming and painting done so I can start filling with inventory.  Champing at the bit to do that!

We have minimal Holiday plans as the Shop is our focus right now.  No tree this year, no gifts and maybe not even a “de-incubatored” dining room for dinner!

As a Dear Friend said:

“You have HUGE PROJECTS going on, James. Focus on that remembering … Christmas is in the heart”

So, Happy Holidays to all of you! I imagine it will be 2014 when I post another entry


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