Archive | April, 2014

Spring is Springing!


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Spring is Springing !

Yes, Spring is Springing! I can not yet say Spring has Sprung!  We are still having some freezing nights that make heavy ice on the water and cover the vehicles with snow like frost.  Yet, the lilac buds are swelling, the rhubarb is peeking though and the daylilies are announcing their forth coming beauty.  Spring is in the air and that is energizing.


The incubator has been humming beside me now for 4 weeks and we are having excellent hatching rates!  Even the first hatch, which I wondered about because of the horribly cold winter conditions during egg collection, came off in the high 90s for hatch percentage. These were intended for us to raise here at Fayrehale.  Once grown out, some will be sold as older sexed pullets to customers who do not want to raise straight run chicks and some will sustain us in 2015:)  This hatch had Chanteclers, Icelandics and Vermont Farm Flock eggs in it.  They have been moved to a brooder in the first hoop house. We had to install the shade clothes on all the hoop houses for these sunny 70 degree days  as the other two are still housing the Chantecler & Icelandic breeding flocks.


The second hatch occurred last night and this morning and it had an equally good hatch rate.  Three orders were mailed out this afternoon.  Two boxes of Chanteclers and a box that was half Chanteclers and half Icelandics. They should arrive at their new homes tomorrow and Wednesday.  This will now be a weekly happening as we fill our prepaid orders and keep receiving new orders.  The incubator will hum away as long as there are orders to fill.  It is exciting to finally having people discover and appreciate this great Canadian heritage breed that was developed for cold climates.

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The end of May is careening towards us!  So much yet to do  and yet I know that with better weather allowing for long days and nights, we can be ready for a soft opening the end of May!  Grand Opening will most likely be the 4th of July!  This weekend, with Tom’s help, we got half the floor area thoroughly cleaned and stained.  Even though this area will be covered with an Oriental rug and will not show, it needed to be cleaned and sealed. We used a Cabot solid color deck stain that covers everything!  OH! if only this old barn floor could talk! What where the carriage horses that walked across it and wore down the boards on their way to their stalls in the back of the barn?? Were they Morgans? I like to think so… this being Vermont and I having been a breeder of Morgan Horses in years past.



Fayrehale has a 14th century connection to the Verrill (Varrall) family and I have used “Fayrehale” all my adult life as a name for my property, a prefix for animal registries and now for Shops at Fayrehale.

Today was a beautiful 70 degree day and I took the opportunity to work on painting the wooden letters that will spell “Fayrehale” on the front of the barn over the shop entrance.  So much easier outside than when I started them in the kitchen!  Looks like back side will take 2 coats and front side 3 coats.  Want them well sealed before they go up.  It would be nice to not have to repaint then:)


Another brain storm!  I learned many years ago that when ever I procrastinate and something is not done when I, or others!, think it should be done there is a good reason! These three units were cleared from the barn last fall and covered with a tarp for later removal.  Winter hit and they stayed put!  A GOOD thing!

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This unit was being discarded as it had no glass in one side and no way to remove door and replace glass (even had someone else more skilled than I look at it) Thus no use in the shop!  NOW, the glass will be removed from the other side, the entire unit will be painted the same green as the shutters on the house and “Fayrehale” on the barn and it will be used outside some where along the lilac hedge on the side of the driveway. NOW, use your imagination. Side pieces and a cross piece will be added so that a 6 pane window sash can be hung above it.  This section will be white.  The bottom of the base unit will have a window box w/ flowers (inside) and there will be two clay pots on either edge of the top (framing the hanging window sash)  An outside display unit to be used when we are open. Three shelves for what ever and 6 panes for ornaments.

The other two units are old Borders fixtures that have slatwall backs,  The backs will be removed and the slat wall used in the very back of the barn near the pellet stove. If the sides can be saved, they will be filled with soil and become raised beds. Not accomplishing something when initially intended can be very good.

Earlier this month and after my last posting, I celebrated the 66th anniversary of my birth.


Tom and I spent a nice day in the Upper Valley and had a celebratory dinner at Worthy Kitchen in Woodstock.  Tom gave me an iPad. We need it to take credit cards when  Shops at Fayrehale opens. This gives me an opportunity to become familiar with it and the finger swiping moves that are not my natural style!

You may have heard about the third eye and someone may have told you that two heads are better than one!

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I do like the camera on the iPad.  It will serve its major purpose of taking credit cards while providing a portable way to quickly check e-mail.

Time to call it a day. Have a carpenter coming tomorrow to help me in the Shop. Best get some sleep.



HELLO April ! —– PLEASE Do Not Fool Us !

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HELLO  April !  —–  PLEASE Do Not Fool Us !

It has been a winter whose time has come to end!  A winter with way too many nights of  extreme, cold, subzero temperatures.  A winter determined to make us welcome Spring with open arms and big smiles.

April arrived  and I waited patiently and silently to get through April 1st —  quietly wondering if Mother Nature was going to fool us!  So far so good:)

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On March 31st, you could not see the stainless steel fence around the pallet garden in the front yard, you could not see the two half barrel planters along the road that hold the egg signs three seasons of the year AND the annual flooding of the lower southwest corner of the property had not started!

The pictures above were snapped April 2nd. Two days of sunny weather in the high 40s saw the snow start a dramatic retreat.  Here’s hoping it continues. PLEASE do not fool us Mother Nature!

As Spring approaches, I look at the list of what has to be accomplished and set priorities.  The incubator is humming away here on the table next to me.  Full of eggs that hopefully will hatch and start providing the chicks that we send around the country.


I am SO ready to see boxes like this ready to go to people wanting to start their own flock of  Chantecler  and/or Icelandic chickens. In 2013 we were already shipping by this time.  I have been waiting for fairer weather as it is not just Vermont that has suffered this winter, it is the entire Country.  I refuse to send newly hatched chicks out until I know it is safe.

The first potential hatch is Sunday, April 13th and then we should be on track for something to hatch every Sunday.  The first one is questionable. I put 16 dozen eggs in and a week later candled them down to 12 dozen.  The 4 dozen I pulled were obviously duds. This week I will candle again, two weeks in and see what is going on.  These eggs were gathered during extreme cold so anything that hatches is an early gift.  Unless there is a surprisingly miraculous large hatch, which I am not expecting, we will keep this batch here at Fayrehale.  They will grow out here, some will provide older birds for sexed pullet requests later in the season and some will feed us next winter.

Hopefully the 12 dozen I added last Sunday will be in better shape as the weather had started to become slightly more moderate!  They too will be candled this weekend and the obvious duds pulled.


Longing to get the gardens going!

The gardens are still under 12-18inches of settled snow.  Seeds need to be started. With living conditions as they are this season, I have very limited time and space to start seeds.  This is when one welcomes an offer to barter and I have a friend who will be starting seeds for me in return for older, sexed Chantecler pullets.  What perfect timing and the needs of both are easily met.


Lots to do before opening Shops at Fayrehale the end of May!

We provided some updates in an earlier post.

Winter made it impractical to heat the barn to painting warmth.  We did paint shelf units in the kitchen and the last two are in here now.  Soon, hopefully, we can break out the paint, do some touch up second coating and finish the unpainted areas in the barn.  Not as bad as it may look to someone who isn’t visualizing the finished project.

Winter has also been used to find and connect with local Artisans to purchase inventory for the Christmas and Gifts sections of  Shops at Fayrehale: Antiques, Christmas, Gifts

We have made some awesome connections and are well on our way to offering green, local, Artisan made items along with the antiques.

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There have been personal challenges this winter!

The snow, I can handle. The ridiculously long, like all winter!, periods of extreme cold, not so much:)  In addition I have have to deal with radiation fibrosis  and I had to eliminate some inner anger left from an intended act of kindness!

The radiation fibrosis is the result of radiation I had 30 years ago after my cancer surgery. It is not life threatening and thus is an irritant that I will have to live with for the rest of this life.  A small price to pay for 30 years of post cancer life to date and how ever many more years lie ahead as I turn 66 next week:)

Radiation fibrosis takes 20 plus years to appear.  I was on schedule as I lived with the cyst, then three cysts for 7 years or so. Last fall they became red and irritated from pant belts and seat belts.  I went to Dartmouth Medical and had them removed on November 14th.  Then the fun began. The two smaller ones healed. The larger one that was directly on and in the surgery scar has yet to heal.  The Doctor’s can not tell me with 100% certainty that the perpetual draining will stop!  We are working on it and each visit they cauterize that “wound”.  I do believe it is helping.  Hopefully not wishful thinking on my part! Next cauterization is April 14th.

IF, I am to drain for ever more! I will design an elastic wrap w/ velcro that holds either washable pads or feminine pads!  It would also be nice if there was a good use for the fluid that drains so i could collect it and sell it!!!  As I said, regardless of the eventual outcome it is a small price to pay for life!  The other changes, red, thickening, creasing skin are limited to the 3″ x 4″ radiation port and can easily be airbrushed out or my scantly clad modeling photos:)

I did have to quell some inner anger left from an intended act of kindness.  It wasn’t as easy as it should have been!  I still have to stifle small doses at times.  They will be less likely to bubble as winter ceases!  Many of you know that we openly and willingly housed a convicted sex offender that had been friends with Tom at Colgate eons ago.  He was locked up for thirty years.  We opened our home and our lives for 18 months and then his inner evil bubbled and his manipulative, vindictive, horrible true nature reared its ugly head and there was a messy departure in which he attempted to do as much damage as possible to various social and personal relationships!  He succeeded at varying degrees.  That has not generated the feelings that I had to fight!  Karma will deal with that behavior and he has no good ahead in this life and will hopefully do a better job when he returns for the next one.

The inner battle I had to fight was the large financial burden he was. Thousands with a BIG “s” that would have been available to quickly fix the furnace and hot water heater that were knocked out last December by a burst pipe.  Now I lived adequately with the wood stove making a warm kitchen and through the floor register a warm bedroom. I had cold running water  and I quickly learned how to thaw the ice in the toilet bowl! Still better than a walk out back to the outhouse:) The Majority of the people currently living on this earth would jump at the opportunity to switch places with me.

Still, during some of those bitter cold spells, the anger would start to bubble.  Not proud of it. It was not right nor was it good!  It just was.  As I said, choices had to be made and the priority had to be getting the shop open so it would start generating some income and not pouring very limited funds down the “cellar drain”.  The breaking weather is helping!  It soon will be totally eradicated!

Life is good. Life is moving on. On April 1st I ordered myself a gift!  I bought Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City.


Next I will gift myself with Ben Falks’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach

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Ben Falk is a Vermont Treasure.

Permaculture is the subject I must study this season. 

As Spring arrives I am revitalized and looking forward to moving back into the tent! (later than usual), getting the gardens planted, the chicks going to new flock owners and Shops At Fayrehale open.  If you are in the area this summer, stop and say hello.

Life is Good !


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