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DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease !!!!!

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A NEW record of time between Blog Posts at the other extreme!  4 Days!

The responses I received from several friends I emailed this to, made me to decide to make it public on the off chance that someone might benefit.

An example of the responses:  “My goodness, what a revealing story.  I had no idea of the consequence of a tick bite other than the words “Lyme Disease.”  Now I know now devastating it can be.  I’m so glad there’s treatment for Abigail and wish her a full and speedy recovery.  Poor thing!  What kind of dog is she?  I have a miniature poodle and will pay close attention to her, now that you’ve shared your experience.  Thanks!”

DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease  !!!!!

Damn Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease

Abigail Often Rides on My Shoulders

It has been an emotionally draining morning.  I woke up at 7am after 10 hours of deep sleep in the coolness of the tent. I  reached out to touch Abigail (rear hip) and she yelped.

I got up, she sat up and did not move further. I picked her up and set her down and her rear end collapsed.  I did get her standing and she walked slowly and unsteadily to the house — peeing and pooping on the way.

I carried her to the van and drove the 2 miles down the road to the Vet who was not open yet. The assistants were working and gave me the first open appointment at 10am.

Back home to wait the long 2 hours. Covered Abigail with a cold wet towel as she seemed feverish and I worried!  Knowing that I did not have thousands to spend — not even too many hundreds (you can only do so much robbing Peter to pay Paul)

10am arrived and we were at the Vet’s.  She did have a fever – 3 degrees high – Vet did an examination of her limbs and head/neck for range of motion and took her for a walk around the clinic.  Then she came to talk to me and suggested we test for Lyme first before she discussed the second possibility — adding that both were curable .

I said fine but she has had no ticks on her this season — the response was that this tick, if Lyme, would have been 6-8 months ago!  Learned something there!!! Wish I had discovered the Green Mountain Tick Repellent last season!!!

She drew the blood and said the test takes 10 minutes — you can wait in the waiting room, on the porch, which ever you like – I said I will go to the van.

Had JUST settled in when the clinic door opens and the Vet comes out and said the antibodies are so high that the positive was immediate!

Thus the fever and the stiff, painful joints.  SO — pain pill 2x a day for a week and an antibiotics pill 1x a day for 28 days.

Then I went into town from the Vet’s to mail the last chick order of the season and to stop at the grocery store for some milk, bacon and cottage cheese — all to help Abigail want to eat before the pain pill.

A big relief — I was worried this morning that I would lose her.

A little background that might help others —  Saturday she was off in her left front shoulder/leg — gimpy —  I figured she had twisted it jumping off bed or furniture — when she jumps of the bed in the tent each morning, she waits for my okay and then jumps off the bed and out the door to land outside.

Yesterday, Sunday, she seemed a little stiff and slow but the weather was horrible and I was stiff and slow — she was drinking, eating a little and peeing and pooping.  Then today she was so helpless!  The Vet said that, untreated, it would just have kept getting worse — stiffness and pain and inability to move..

She had a pork medallion and cottage cheese once I settled her into her chair — then her pills and then a good drink of water — the water she insisted I freshen so that was a sign of normalcy !!  I have a cold wet dish towel on her while the fever comes down and I will play nurse — work on website and keep her in my sight —

Vet said 1-3 days to start seeing improvement.

The pain pill must be working as she is alert w/ head and ears up as she rests under a wet cold towel in her chair… her eyes are brighter and her ears respond when I talk to her   — a big relief!!!!

It is a good thing I can carry her:)

So there is the tale of DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease!
 DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease!

Late 2010 when Abigail (HRM Abigail of Fayrehale) was 11 weeks old.  She will be six years old this fall.


What a difference 24 hours makes (and the Vet said 1-3 days) — from not using her rear end to jumping in and out of the chair again — out came before in – which just now happened — she barked to go out — and trotted on our walk which went 2 neighbors down when she turned around to head back..

Turkeys were gobbling, flying, playing in the field and she JUMPED up to look, on rear legs, and was ready to give chase but for the leash.

So now we just continue the meds — I never heard about no dairy for antibiotics —  and in this case when the vet was mentioning pills I asked about cheese — that should have been the no dairy briefing! Fortunately a friend, who worked for a Vet for years, educated me when I revealed that I had fed Abigail cottage cheese.

So, today’s pre-meds snack was 2 eggs with one bacon sprinkled with dog food —   some food was suggested before pain pill —  then I just put pills in the back of her mouth, hold it closed and stroke her chin —

Now I have to get myself back in gear

Feels like fall – 9 color spots on maple across the street 
Update #2
 36 & 48 Hours Out

36 hours out — she was eating dog food again and backing up quickly and normally

48 hours out —  Looks like all is back to normal….just have to complete the 4 weeks of medications.

Abigail was “on guard” last night in the tent when she heard something outside and this morning she jumped from the bed, out the tent door, and landed outside.

What a relief!  I have heard from many people that they were totally unaware of Lyme Disease with dogs.  Hopefully sharing this experience has helped to make people aware and also to understand that with proper care Lyme Disease can be handled.

My biggest surprise was that the infecting tick was so long ago!! I continue to wish I had discovered the Green Mountain Tick Repellent last season!!!  AT LEAST we know about it now.


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What the world needs now is love, sweet love……………

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It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. ……………What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No, not just for some but for everyone. No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

My last Blog post was January 20th of this year and I selected the title and first line above on March 6th of this year!  It is now August 11th and time I catch everyone up on the good life at Fayrehale! I am working in my outdoor office:) A shaded location that usually has a breeze on the other side of the lilac hedge. I can see people drive in and work on building the website between customers.

Outdoor Office Shops At Fayrehale

My biggest conflict, I find, is balancing a peaceful connected to the earth and Mother Nature Life while staying aware of the outside world. This year, the primary season and the major party conventions displayed an ugly side of our Country/Society filled with hatred, darkness, corruption and outright fraud. I had to retreat into my world for my own health and sanity.  I know how I will cast my vote on November 8th so I have no need to listen to the current attacks or the debates — I can shut it all out and honor my inner Henry David Thoreau and Noah Rondeau!

As January rolled into February, I came to the realization that it was better to start the aesthetic redecorating of the house as it is and not wait for envisioned and planned major renovations!  We my not live long enough or ever be able to afford those!  This caused me to do the first floor bathroom over. New fixtures, new flooring and newly painted walls.  It looks great and is a very comfortable room to use. Then I started on the dining room. It was slow going as the room is fully furnished. I had to do a section at a time, moving furniture out, draping everything w/in spatter range, paint and then after the paint dried, put that area back together! It will get finished this winter after we close Shops At Fayrehale.

Blue for Fayrehale Dining Room      Blue for Fayrehale Dining Room

I chose a blue for the walls that compliments the art and the furnishings and a darker blue for the floor.  I like painted floors and am not swayed by the reactions of horror from friends when they find out I painted hardwood floors!  I *hate* hardwood floors, they are not original to our 1840 home and if we ever get to accomplish the major renovations, they will be pulled up so we have the original board floors.  As was done in many old houses, I just painted around the large 10×13 rug!

During this time, I was also continuing to work with the Doctors at Dartmouth as we attempted to heal my radiation fibrosis – It had been less than pleasant for 5 years. NOT life threatening, just a pain (literally) and a seeping mess. Finally the Doctor said, if you want to, we can end this once and for all!  I listened, decided and scheduled surgery for April 28th. April 28th was selected to get us beyond winter, to fit Tom’s work schedule so he could come to Vermont for 2 weeks and to have me healed enough to open Shops At Fayehale by mid June.

Thursday the 28th of April arrived and off to Dartmouth we went. I knew I would be staying until Sunday.  The Doctor worked miracles!  He filleted the foul radiation flesh away from my lower abdomen.  A 14.5″ incision down my left thigh allowed him to harvest a 4″ x 6″ piece of skin and the necessary blood veins to feed it. This was then tunneled under the 4-5 inches of skin between thigh incision and the area on my lower abdomen where the skin graft needed to be applied.

Pretty remarkable.  I had not had to stay in the hospital since 1983 when I had my cancer surgery.  Let me just say that medical procedures have developed and advanced at a mind boggling rate!  Thankfully.  Care while in the hospital has deteriorated — as it is smothering and intrusive when one is not in a serious enough condition to require that type of care!  All to cover themselves from liability.  Enough said on that.

I was glad to get home and I did follow my Doctor’s orders.  It was six weeks before I could wear clothes! The skin graft was in the waist area. I had a comfortable nightshirt for bed (need to have something I could pin the drain to) and three Amazon close-out specials ($4.50 ea.) that were a Halloween design of ghosts and pumpkins:)  Turns out the ghosts glowed in the dark!  I had a pair of oversized, loose coveralls for trips to Dr. or town.

I did behave and as it became 5 weeks out, I tested my limitations and then rested if I had gone too far.  We did a Major relay in Shops At Fayrehale so we could fit the Barrister Bookcase in for more display space. Fortunately, it consists of eight sections.

Barrister Bookcase Shops At Fayrehale      ca.1900 Corner Cupboard Shops at Fayrehale

ca. 1900 Corner Cupboard Shops At Fayrehale

The ca. 1900 Corner Cupboard was moved over by the door in to the backroom.

After skipping a year, I am back to sleeping in a tent from May until October.  We created a new set up with a new tent that can now be taken down and stored over the winter.  The old real box spring and two mattresses is no more! A Queen size 22″ deep air mattress with a phenomenal memory foam pad makes for comfortable, deep sleep and the cool nights (sometimes even Chilly!) make the hot and humid days easier to take.

Fayrehale Sleeping Tent

Fayrehale Sleeping Tent      Sigrid Line Icelandic Chickens

The opposite end has the two reading chairs which in reality are more apt to be piled with books and clothes.  Right now I also have a cage with 9 very special Sigrid Line Icelandics that need to be kept separate.  They will move out to another grow pen in two weeks.

The Chicken business continues and we shipped Icelandic and Chantecler chicks and eggs all over the Country.  The last batch will be mailed Tuesday and we can finally shut the incubator off, move the chicks out of the kitchen and start dusting the house!  The incubator was filled and started in April so the first hatch would be in May after I came home from the hospital. If you are interested you can find out about both the Icelandics and Chanteclers online.  Those seriously looking to learn about the Icelandics should also join this very educational group.

We have added some special, exciting and natural new products to Shops At Fayrehale and to our online selection!      Natural Products at Shops At Fayrehale

 "Stops Leg, Foot and Hand Cramps" - All Natural 19th Century Amish Formula - Do You Suffer From Leg Cramps & Charlie Horses ?      "Stop Acid Reflux" - All Natural 19th Century Amish Formula - Do You Suffer From Acid Reflux ?

Dog Treats - Cookies - ALL NATURAL - Best Quality, Human Grade Ingredients, Tasty Treats

1st:  All Natural Green Mountain Tick Repellent Made right here in Vermont.  We swear by it and that is why we added it to the Shop! Abigail has not had a tick this year. We use it on ourselves as well and the smell is delightful. A customer in CT emailed that she took her dog to “tick heaven” to play. She was using GMTR but did not put it on her dog as he had the injected by the vet repellent.  After the session, she was tick free and she removed 6 from her dog!  Doesn’t get any worse than CT when it comes to ticks!.

2nd: “Stops Leg, Foot and Hand Cramps” – Discovered by the Amish while they were still in Europe and brought to this country sometime in the 1880’s.  I was introduced to this by a good friend in VA who stopped to visit after hearing about my suffering a horrible hour of cramps and spasms.   I experienced this after a couple hours of stacking wood.  I dare say that I have never lived a worse hour. She generously gave me half of her bottle.  WOW!  I was so thankful as it works. It has taken the fear away and if I suspect that I may cramp after a task, I take it preemptively.

3rd: “Stop Acid Reflux” was also discovered by the Amish while they were still in Europe and brought to this country sometime in the 1880’s. It is made by the same people who do the “Stops Leg, Foot and Hand Cramps”.

4th:  ALL NATURAL Dog Treats-Cookies. Made in New Hampshire with the best quality ingredients.  If it isn’t good for us why would we feed it to our Canine Family Members? Each cookie is baked by hand in small batches and made of 100% human grade ingredients, sourced in the USA.

The Porcelain Artist who Hand Paints Porcelain “In the Style of Celia Thaxter” continues to work on the Dinner Service.  The Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter is finished!

China Pottery Porcelain Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter

China Pottery Porcelain Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter      China Pottery Porcelain Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter

China Pottery Porcelain Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter      China Pottery Porcelain Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter

This place setting joins the Rosa Rugosa, The Woodbine and the Asters place settings. Ten more to go!

This Spring when I was painting the dining room I though about how we want to display this special dinner service when we are not actually using it. I found acrylic display fixtures online and one day when I needed a change of pace, I tried them out in a cabinet in the parlor that is visible from the dining room.

China Pottery Porcelain Rosa Rugosa Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter

China Pottery Porcelain Rosa Rugosa Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter      China Pottery Porcelain Rosa Rugosa Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter

The display fixtures worked as I hoped they would and between this cabinet and another we will be able to enjoy this dinner service every day.

I was taken by surprise at how quickly we lose condition when we are laid up after surgery AND how long it takes to regain it!  I am still working on that as I help Tom stack wood — later than ideal due to surgery.  I have rolled with it and figure that this year, I can only do what I can do. This means no garden was planted and I can live with that.  We have a good local farm stand near by and I did not want to waste seeds (some special) by starting too late.

I was very surprised that the day after surgery, my abdomen with its 4″ x 6″ graft did not hurt!  I was pain free in that area for the first time in over 5 years!  Used to it now:)  but for a while after surgery it would dawn on me with surprise “I don’t hurt anymore”.  The 14.5″ incision in my thigh was another situation! It has healed and we must have been a sight to see after surgery when on Tom’s arm, I was walking down the road in a Halloween nightshirt!  Three or for times a day and a little further each day.

If you have made it this far! You are a real trooper.  I am headed out to finish late chores and move some chicks around so I can pull those still in the incubator out.

I do hope you are all having a good year and have worked out how to live life without being overcome by politics and the media!  

Vote your own conscience — do not vote from fear.

I will try not to take another seven month break.

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Welcoming 2016 — Three Weeks Late!

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As glad as I was to see 2015 come to an end, the new year is already speeding by more quickly than I realized!  How is it that three weeks have passed and I am just now greeting the New Year?

Our first real winter weather came after Christmas! And the first subfreezing spell in 2016. I took this picture one morning when the Kitchen was down to 40 degrees – my fault for procrastinating under the warm bed covers.

Promise of Warmth - Fayrehale Farm

The Promise of Warmth

A quick review of 2015 reveals a year where I lost far too many friends to Cancer. A year where my own radiation fibrosis continued to aggravate. (Yes, I am a cancer survivor and this situation in annoying but not life threatening and a small price to pay for the 32 years I have lived since and the 20-25 years I would hope to still have)

It was a high predator year for Fayrehale Chanteclers and Fayrehale Icelandics  as we dealt with a Fisher Cat, Lynx, Fox and Raccoon. The skunks that just steal eggs do not warrant mention as they seemed harmless in comparison. We came through alright, a few orders rolled over due to predator losses and are in good shape for 2016.

Shops At Fayrehale continues to grow. We closed the physical shop Christmas Eve, as we do each year, and will stay closed until Spring. The definition of “Spring” is still to be determined!  I know that once April arrives, we plan a major relay that will give us more display shelving and a fresh look for those returning.

Being closed January – April does not mean “vacation”, it means change of focus. This year that focus will be on a big expansion of our online product selection along with cleaning and painting the dining room and restoring order to the parlor!  We want to get things ready so we can entertain friends again. Our first dinner to be a small gathering of four (and we are two!) as we initiate the Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter. By late Spring, the fourth place setting out of a planned fourteen will be finished. (lilacs)

 Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter  Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter  Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter

Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter

As we expand the online portion of Shops At Fayrehale we are adding five new categories.

Coined - When Silver & Coins Are Joined - Fayrehale Farm   elegant_dining - fayrehale farm

celia-thaxter-garden-isles-of-shoals- fayrehale farm  antique_vintage_kitchenware fayrehale farm

“Coined – When Silver & Coins Are Joined”   —   “Elegant Dining”   —   “Isles of Shoals”   —   “Antique & Vintage Kitchenware”

The fifth new category will be “Vermont Coin Silver / Vermont Silversmiths”.  I am still working on the category picture. Most of this years online expansion will be devoted to these five categories.  It is my intent to add at least a couple items each day.

As I look ahead to 2016, I want it to be a year where gardening returns as a larger slice of the Fayrehale Farm Pie. It has fallen to the wayside these last couple of years with everything else being accomplished.  I hope to balance things out this season.  Our website is experiencing growing traffic —  significant increases — and I can see what visitors are interested in and what pages they visit.  Many come to this site for gardening and chicken information and this season I will plan to add some posts in those areas.

The most satisfying and rewarding thing about having this website is the people we connect with, communicate with and in some cases become friends with!  Like minded people.  In the world we are now experiencing, it is vital that we all stick together, help and promote each other.

We appreciate it when you let people you know, know about us!  Our Chanteclers,  Our Icelandics,  Shops At Fayrehale: Gifts, Antiques, Christmas

We enjoy hearing from you and receiving your feedback.  We would enjoy hearing what you would like to see more of from Fayrehale.

Now to stoke the stove, take Abigail out and then read for awhile as I wind down this January day.

May 2016 be a GREAT year for us all!



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Shops At Fayrehale — Knocks At The Door!

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It happens fairly often, people travel through several States to visit Shops At Fayrehale and arrive either just before we open or on a day we decided to close!  

They knock at the door.

Even the Geese that mow our lawn want to know when we open!!

Two recent knocks at the door are noteworthy and proof positive of the need to build a solid internet presence.

A week ago last Thursday, I decided to close Shops At Fayrehale and work on painting the bathroom we are renovating. It seemed like a safe day to sneak as Columbus Day weekend was coming and and I knew we had a busy weekend ahead.

I was painting away when there was a knock at the door. Abigail was barking. I consider ignoring it but the knock is persistent!

So, I answered the door and a Gentleman said, “we drove up from CT because my wife wanted to see your Shop”. I  quickly opened and explained that I was always open if I was home – etc.

They had a nice look around the shop, we had a nice general conversation, they made their selections and as they were paying the husband asked if I had always lived here. My response, “I was born in Concord, MA and grew up in NY, PA & NH”, had him reveal that his wife grew up in Towanda, PA . “She did! I graduated from Towanda High” . He called his wife back in from the car where she had gone while he paid and told her. She said, “I did too!” I responded,”well I was way ahead of you — I was class of ’66” and she said, “so was I!”  “I am Jim Verrill and was Editor of the Yearbook” — Her mouth dropped open as she said, “I am (was) Mary Bartlett!” — My date to the Senior Prom!!!! 49 years ago!!!!!

Mary Bartlett - Class of 1966 - Towanda HS - PA        James Verrill - Class of 1966 - Towanda HS - PA

Our Senior Pictures – 1966

We spent three hours catching up. She and her husband were on a two day Vermont Foliage tour. Mary had been researching cold weather laying chickens for a friend and found us of course – Fayrehale Chanteclers!  Then Mary saw the Shop and decided she wanted to visit the Shops At Fayrehale on their VT tour. They took a 50 mile extension (each way) from White River Junction where they were spending tonight!

The power and the value of the internet!!!!

The other couple I want to mention as noteworthy live in Erie, PA.

This past Saturday I had just finished an errands run.  One of those trips where I had a careful list to keep me on track during seven different stops. The kind of errands run that I hate but are sometimes necessary.  I pulled the van into the drive and came in the house to quickly answer an email before I moved the vehicles, put the signs out and opened the Shop.

A Knock At The Door!

“Are you open?  My wife and I drove here from Erie, PA. She has been following you on Facebook and on your Website.”   While we were the primary destination, they were taking a nice trip. They had visited Salem, MA, Bar Harbor, ME before coming to Shops At Fayrehale  and then were headed home via Old Forge, NY  and Lake Placid, NY.

She had ordered 5 Chanteclers from a hatchery, fallen in love with them, and wanted good stock. That desire was responsible for her finding us on the internet.  Often our Chantecler and Icelandic chickens bring people to Shops At Fayrehale: Antiques, Christmas, Gifts.

Several hours later, they left with their Shop selections and a dozen week old Chantecler chicks. I then moved the vehicles from the driveway, put the signs out and finished opening.

A good presence on the internet is beneficial!

We are busy renovating the downstairs bathroom, winterizing the cellar to prevent another unexpected, extraordinary freeze like we had last December and rearranging the back room in the Shop as we prepare for the Holiday season.

Back Room at  Back Room at

Back Room at

Back Room at  Back Room at

The Totally New Look In The Back Room At Shops At Fayrehale.

We have also started the outside transition for the Holiday Season.

Yes!  That Is The First Snow Of The Season! – Last Friday Night.

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Goslings & Lilacs Revive My Soul — Life Feels Good

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Life here at Fayrehale continues to be multi-faceted busy!!

We had a Goose setting on eggs. No way to know when she actually settled on her nest with 8 eggs so we just waited patiently.  This past Sunday she presented us with 8 goslings!  8 for 8! The Gander is an American Buff and the Goose is 1/2 American Buff and 1/2 Sebastopol. The cross fixed the less than pleasant dispositions our Sebastopols had and gave us some curly feathers. It will be interesting to see how these youngsters feather out as they are now 3/4 American Buff.

Shops At Fayrehale Geese      Shops At Fayrehale Geese

New birth in both the plant and animal world makes my heart sing.

The Lilacs have come on fast, as Mother Nature speeds to catch up after a severe winter and a late spring.  They are on schedule for a peak presentation this weekend, Memorial Day weekend.  The weather predictions are for cool so they should last nicely.  I need them to, as I need a new banner picture for Shops at Fayrehale with the lilacs  in bloom between the sign and the entrance. It is certainly time to replace the winter snow image!

Shops At Fayrehale Lilacs      Shops At Fayrehale Lilacs

Shops At Fayrehale Lilacs      Shops At Fayrehale Lilacs

Lilacs have always been a favorite. I have planted and left collections everywhere I have lived.  The best collection is here in Vermont with us now. Over 45 varieties and more than 55 bushes. The property is perfumed by the fragrance of lilacs.  As you can see we have wood to stack!  3 cords dumped in the front yard and another 3 cords in the driveway.  The driveway pile will be stacked first as we need the area for customers to park.

We are fast approaching our one year anniversary for opening Shops At Fayrehale: Antiques – Christmas – Gifts

 We opened July 4th weekend last year and this first year has flown by.

The Icelandic Roosters think the railing is a roost installed for them:)

………….and they will come right in to the Shop if I am not careful!

This first year for Shops At Fayrehale has been good. We already have people returning from last season.  We developed online shopping for Shops At Fayrehale over the winter. We needed to turn a rough. cold winter into a productive one!  We have found and added FOUR  new Artisans and with their individually crafted pieces, expanded the Ornament Selection.  Temari (Japanese String Balls), Gourd, Quilted and Felted Wool ornaments join the great selection we already offered!

Shops at Fayrehale Temari Ornaments      Shops at Fayrehale Gourd Ornaments

Shops at Fayrehale Quilted Ornaments      Shops at Fayrehale Felted Wool Ornaments

As some of you know, the winter wiped out the plumbing in this 1840 house we call home!  Since December, 2014, I have lived a Colonial lifestyle, carrying water up from the cellar in buckets and jugs and rather than a trip to the outhouse, a 5 gallon bucket by the wood stove!

Working with the plumber now as repairs are made and we plan for more winters like the last.  As with all projects in old homes, we found that we have to do some work on the bathroom floor.  After taking out the toilet and sink, which we are replacing, I looked under the linoleum, hoping to find an old wood floor and instead, found a black and decaying particle board floor!

SO — it will be a while before we have the new Toilet and Pedestal sink installed. Work will progress so we have hot and cold water to first floor tub & shower, hot and cold water to the kitchen sink and the outside faucet functioning so I can use the hoses.

Shops at Fayrehale Felted Wool Ornaments     Fayrehale New Toilet

The sink and toilet will remain stored in the dining room, shut off valves installed on their feeds, until the floor and other renovations are finished in the bathroom.  We are very fortunate to have a fixture source that offers higher end fixture close outs and were able to pick these up for 25% of original cost.

As we do this work, we are switching to an electric hot water heater!  Three strikes and the Lemon (expensive) gas hot water heater that we have is OUT!  This meant we need to run electricity from the breaker box in the barn across the Ell to the far side of the cellar under the main house!  Our Plumber suggested that we do it and save significant money!  Having done it, I would hate to have paid a professional to do it!!

Of the several possible route choices, we decided to take conduit along the inside of the front porch that connects the barn to the main house. A few feet along the side of the main house we can enter the cellar through the old gas heater vent!  Tom was here to help and it took us most of last Saturday.  We had to measure, cut and assemble the PVC conduit and then disassemble and feed the pieces over the wire in reverse order. Seven 90 degree joints were the most time consuming as we thread 50′ of wire through. The straight pieces were a breeze until we got to the last 25′ straight section which was epoxied together from another project. No need to epoxy the rest.  Once the wire was in the conduit, we installed from the front (barn) backwards to the main house.

Fayrehale conduit   Fayrehale conduit

Fayrehale conduit

A good job to have done and one that puts us that much closer to running hot water!

We continue to hatch and ship both Chantecler and Icelandic chicks. The incubator will be running non stop until fall.

Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens

I will never cease to marvel at the 21 day process that takes an egg and results in a healthy strong chick.  These Icelandic chicks are from our fertility check hatch and are being raised to stay here.

The only other significant news concerns the ending of a special chapter in my life! For several years, I was an active and very involved volunteer for Shops On Star located on Star Island, an island in the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire.  My most significant accomplishment/contribution was finding an Artist who could paint porcelain In the Style of Celia Thaxter!

Porcelain In The Style Of Celia Thaxter

She lives on her mountain top in New Hampshire and had a Star Island connection from her youth.  I searched unsuccessfully for three years before I found her. Her pieces are properly signed and annotated, but otherwise nearly impossible to distinguish from the original pieces that Celia Thaxter did herself!

Shops On Star is now under new leadership and headed in a different direction that does not include locally sourced, Artisan produced, selections like this fine porcelain.

Last week I took a trip to visit the Artist who has painted the Porcelain In the Style of Celia Thaxter for Shops On Star to deliver, personally, the news that Shops on Star will no longer be carrying this historic porcelain once the remaining inventory is sold on Island this season.

The highlight of the day, having deliver my news, was seeing the Aster place setting (minus the luncheon and salad plates which are not finished yet).

Porcelain Aster Place Setting In The Style of Celia Thaxter

This phenomenal place setting is part of a specially commissioned dinner service which the Artist will continue to fulfill and will ultimately have 14, 13 piece, place settings — all different Celia designs PLUS a large selection of platters, covered and uncovered serving dishes and a large tureen w/ under platter.

As you may remember, this follows the Woodbine and Rosa Rugosa place settings.

Porcelain Woodbine Place Setting In The Style of Celia Thaxter      Porcelain Rosa Rugosa Place Setting In The Style of Celia Thaxter

Woodbine                                                  Rosa Rugosa

Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter

This pretty much brings you up to date with the varied activities at Fayrehale. I would expect the next posting to be weeks out when the garden is well under way and I am back to sleeping out in the tent!

Life is Busy, Life is Good.

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Labor Day Flies By as Autumn Swiftly Approaches

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There are patches of red appearing here and there on the trees already!  How did that happen? 2014 has flown by and I think part of that is age! (the older we are the faster time seems to pass) and part is how out of balance our lives have been this year as we concentrated on opening Shops at Fayrehale.



The Shops At Fayrehale will continue to be the primary focus as we finish out 2014 and then bring balance back in to our lives in 2o15!  We were fortunate to be invited to participate in the Peacham Corner Guild Annual Christmas Show in Peacham, Vermont this year.  This successful annual event will expose us to 1000 local people with two months to go before Christmas.  Exactly the exposure we need as a new business working to be known locally.  Already planning our display which will be planned and set up here before being dismantled and transported to Peacham for the two day show.

I discovered a great old postcard from the past as I was looking for local items that might be of interest in the Shop or at the Show.


Talk about excited!  I could not believe my luck!  What a marketing tool. I added the line across the bottom and then searched the internet for a postcard back that did not say “affix 1 cent stamp here” !


While looking for feedback on a rack card I was designing, I had a friend ask me why I didn’t use a QR code!  Prior to that, I knew nothing about them!  A quick education for me and Tom said he could generate the codes.  It is obvious that in this age of smart phones we have to go higher tech!  My first thought was to place the code in the stamp corner and then I realized it would be covered (lost) when the card was mailed.  So the solution was to double down!  Primary QR code is for the Shops Facebook Page as that is where the frequent updates are. That was placed center bottom so always visible and scannable. The secondary QR code is for the website and that will be covered by a stamp if the card is mailed.

IF I have your address in my files you will probably receive one in the mail.

We still needed a serious piece of marketing literature as we build our exposure. I considered a tri-fold brochure to distribute to B&Bs, Motels, Information Centers etc. and after pricing and pondering, realized that a two sided rack card would do everything we needed at a substantially reduced cost per piece. I used Vista Print to create a rough draft and then posted the draft images online and sent them in an email to others for feedback.

Marvelous feedback came back to me from many people with varied backgrounds. I am fortunate to have a network of friends and associates to assist me prior to my finalizing the design and printing.  SIX draft modifications later, the finished design was ready to print and it will do what we need it to do.

Final FrontFinal Back

                          Final Front Design                                     Final Back Design

I must tell you about the exceptional customer service Vista Print provided over the Labor Day Holiday weekend!  I e-mailed them several times to discuss the QR codes being distinct enough for printing.  They responded every time in less than  24 hours (I wasn’t expecting any response until after the weekend) They clarified the codes at their end and they now reside in our image files.  Both post and rack cards are being printed. I am excited about receiving them.

As I am still on activity restriction while abdominal healing occurs, I feel productive as I get things accomplished that take hours and hours but are not physically strenuous.  Just finished a small article on including locally produced consumable specialties in smaller retail shops.  A long shot! Nice exposure if published in a retail gift shop magazine.

Cmas 2

Still working on pictures to submit with the article and they may  drive me crazy as I work to create some good marketing shots!

Click, Click, Click, then Pick, Pick, Pick!

The green stocking is the wrong angle, the doll needs to sit up, the light is wrong, oops!, crooked ornament in the background….. and on and on and on!

Through the eye of a camera we see the flaws:):)

Cmas 4

Back at it tomorrow with a fresh eye!

On a more personal note, I have decided that 2015 will be the last year we hatch and ship chicks on a large scale.  The White Chantecler will remain part of our lives as we keep our flock for our own use (eggs and meat) and possibly some small local sales/sharing. We have done our part to preserve this great Canadian Heritage breed  that nearly disappeared and are ready to just enjoy having backyard chickens again.

2015 will also see our gardens back in production.  Nature blessed us w/ abundant fruit this year and next year we will have that balanced with abundant vegetables.

Immediate priorities right now are getting some wood stacked, getting the pellet stove in the Shop vented to the outside and getting the first floor of the house in suitable condition for a very special cousin who is visiting the beginning of October.

May Autumn slow down Old Man Winter so I have plenty of time before I hunker down !


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Spring is Springing!

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IMG_0242   IMG_0250

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.

F 1

F 5    floor - day after  - Copy

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!

IMG_0400   IMG_0412

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!

third eye 10269396_10201935655375784_1579999756179277693_n  IMG_0105

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.


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Feeding Fayrehale Fowl Fermented Feed!

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How is that for alliteration !

Last Monday we were fortunate to have Lisa and Frank Richards of Mack Hill Farm in Windsor, Vermont attend our local poultry group’s monthly meeting.  Lisa was invited to speak on feeding fermented feed to poultry.

The next day I started fermenting!

I started immediately because I learned I could start by fermenting the feed I was currently using!  People ferment various whole grain combinations and I will make some minor changes as I progress with fermented feeding.  For now, the important thing to me was the fact I could take the feed I use and thus have and start fermenting!

That means layer pellets, cracked corn and water.

DSCN4906   DSCN4905

DSCN4909   DSCN4910

 Let the fermenting begin!

Last Tuesday I started 3 buckets  and did two more Wednesday night. First feeding was  Saturday with a 3 day bucket. I used a 4 day bucket today (Sunday)  and will use  a 5 day bucket tomorrow  Monday) so I can see where in the 3-5 fermenting range we want to settle.

Because you can start with what you are currently feeding!, we started with a mix of layer pellets and corn. I checked to see if mash was less expensive as it soaks to mash and decided that the one penny extra per 50# bag for pellets was worth it to have less dust in the kitchen.

Pic #1 & #2 show the mixture in the buckets. Cheap bird feed (for sprouting) added to two (added to third after pictures taken). Middle bucket is just feed mix before bird seed

Pic #3 – water added to two – add tepid water  The two on the right already need more water:)

Pic #4 – no covers available when I picked up the buckets so I  used saran wrap to cover until I got covers yesterday.

Make sure you fill shy of 3/4 full w/ dry feed!  It swells and bubbles as it ferments.  I had to scoop  out feed as I learned the right level!  Keep adding water as needed and keep a little water over the top of the mix.  I now add the birdseed after the initial swelling has happened.

DSCN4914   DSCN4918

There are currently six covered buckets in the kitchen! (only place warm enough for us to ferment right now)  I have friends that do it in their basement. You want a spot where you can maintain 60-70 degrees,  The open bucket is a 5 day bucket and will be fed tomorrow (Monday).  The second picture just shows who the nose in the first picture belongs to!  Abigail has been very intrigued and actually tried some before I found the covers.

You will note that I have the buckets sitting on boot trays.  They have swelled and bubbled over as I learn the amount of feed to start a bucket.

Fed Fayrehale Fowl First Fermented Feed

Yesterday (Saturday)  I took a 5 gallon bucket of fermented feed (3 days fermenting) and fed the birds. The 4 chicken pens attacked it like one would go after an addictive special treat! Crazily eating it.

The ducks and geese were more cautious and not so sure that “slop” was appropriate. The Saxonys dove in first and then the geese decided they were missing out on something good.

I was using 100# every 2 days of dry. 100# made 6 buckets of fermented so if there is a 50% cut, I will use 1.5 buckets a day. If a 30% cut, I will use two buckets a day. I will get this fine tuned!

Either way! 30% to 50% is a significant decrease in feed costs and the birds are healthier and the yolks will be larger!!!

Today, Sunday, was day 2 of feeding fermented feed! The birds were all excited and got right down to the business of eating. I like seeing all that moisture going in to them too during this cold weather!  I used 1.5 buckets today.

Looks like I am using about half the feed that I was using before. Will keep working on portions and number of feedings until I am sure they are satiated each day.

I plan to stick with this system for now with a minor addition or two!  I will add some dried kelp (a cup or two per bucket)  AFTER I check to make sure it is Atlantic Coast sourced and not from the Pacific Coast!.  I will also add my food grade DE (diatomaceous earth) to the mix when I feed it.  In the spring I will switch out the cracked corn for crimped oats.

That is what I am doing to start!  I will post several good links for you to use as resources and there is lots of research out there.  Fermented feed not only saves feed and cuts feed costs, it makes healthier birds.


Mack Hill Farm Fermented Feed

Mack Hill Farm Fermented Feed Follow-Up

Mack Hill Farm Fermented Feed Finale

10 Foods to Ferment For Chickens

Benefits of Lacto-Fermenting Feed For Chickens

The Science of Fermented Feed

Backyard Chicken discussion – Fermented Feeds

Why and How to Ferment Your Chicken Feed

The above will give you a great start. Our birds all seem happy with the change and I sure like to see all that moisture going in to their system during this frigid weather.  I feed twice a day so it is consumed before it freezes. You just have to work with your birds until you find the amount they will consume.  I still scatter some scratch (after morning feeding which is the larger feeding) to keep them occupied and to keep the bedding worked.

 Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 3 –  Feeding Fayrehale Fowl Fermented Feed –  observations and conclusions about feeding fermented feed! WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG ??

I had been verbally told that it was a good way to feed. I could have done research and started way sooner than I did! Thank goodness Lisa Richards of Mack Hill Farm came up to speak to our local Poultry Group!

It absolutely saves 30-50% on feed. Thinking that I will fall in the 40% area? 4 bags out of 10 not used, $40 out of $100 saved — I can handle that!!

I used 1.5 buckets yesterday (that would be 50% less) and I fed 2 buckets today (that would be 33.3% less). My feeling is that the amount needs to be in between these two amounts.

I will continue to observe — Thinking I may end up alternating days — 1.5 buckets one day, 2 buckets the next … all depends on clean up today. I am no more into creating frozen feed than I am in making ice w/ water:):)

Speaking of water! They get fresh water after they are fed (and clean it up) so fresh water taken around in the afternoon. They seem to be “washing their beaks”! and then it freezes over night.

Will keep observing this too. They are getting lots of water in the feed now. You will be amazed at the amount of water absorbed by the feed.

So I am thinking that real savings will be 40-50%.

The birds themselves appear much more content. They are excited to see the feed bucket and dive right in but it is not frantic! They tend to business and once satiated they roost for a while. AND, NO, they are not drunk! fermented feed does not have that high an alcohol content! I think they are pleasantly satisfied!!

Besides kelp (EAST coast sourced) I will also add a little alfalfa pellet — The Chanteclers, particularly, love hay and consume the best of what I put in their hoop.

So, I will keep observing, and continue to wonder! —



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How We Ship Fertile Hatching Eggs — Successfully!

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My apologies to regular readers who may not be interested in this specific post. I attempted to title it in such a way that you could skip opening it when you received your email notification if you were not interested.

Here at Fayrehale, we successfully ship fertile hatching eggs from our Chanteclers and our Icelandics all over the country. Including into the true wilds of Alaska! This particular Alaska mailing took 10 days and had an 80 something percent hatch!

I have been asked repeatedly how we package the eggs for shipping.  The easiest way to respond is to do a pictorial tutorial here, as a blog post, so that it has a URL that can be shared.


Tri-Fold Egg Cartons

We use a tri-fold egg carton that is perforated to that it can split in half making two, six egg components.  Now, you don’t buy eggs! so you need to know someone in the neighborhood or at work who does and can save the cartons for you.  We are lucky!  Our Village Church has a monthly breakfast, Pete & Gerry’s donates the eggs, and they save the cartons for me! These tri-fold cartons play a large role in our success.


Yes!  Toilet Paper!

Nothing fancy or pretentious about us!  Toilet paper is always handy and we use it to wrap each egg.  Roll the egg six or eight times in the toilet paper. The egg is in the middle so that there is extra paper at both ends. Stand the egg in a compartment as shown above. The extra paper on the bottom squishes around the bottom of the egg — remember this is the narrower end so that the air sac is up.  Repeat until six eggs are standing like the one pictured above.


Snugly Encased

As shown on right side of picture above, the tri-fold is carefully closed. Extra paper nudged if necessary into its own egg shaped compartment. This folds the extra toilet paper over the top. Tape closed. Now each egg is gently and snugly encased in an individual egg shaped compartment.  Wrap each 6 egg unit separately in bubble wrap and tape.  I save and reuse bubble wrap.  If you do not have any, someone you know does!



Thicker (or more) bubble wrap is put around each 6 pack. The bottom of a Priority Mail Box is layered with bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts. The 6 packs are placed side by side in the center of the box. Narrow egg end down.  Bubble wrap and/or styrofoam peanuts used around all four sides and over the top.  The box is sealed with tape.  Everything is now snug. The eggs are very well protected.

We use regular Priority mail and insure in case package is destroyed en route.  Remember you are mailing fresh, unwashed, clean eggs. There is plenty of time! Remember the eggs we mailed that took 10 days to reach their destination in the wilds of Alaska! When a hen starts a clutch she selects a nesting spot and lays an egg every day (occasionally skips a day) until she has a clutch of 16-20 eggs.  That means the eggs sit for three weeks or so before the hen judges the clutch big enough and settles on the nest to incubate. 

The point of that reminder is to let you and your customers relax! The eggs you mail will be received and will start being incubated faster than a hen would do it naturally!

IMPORTANT Note:  We do NOT annotate the package in any fashion! We do NOT say “fragile”, We do NOT say “Fertile Hatching Eggs” – We just address and mail the package as if a regular (light weight) gift!  This is important. It is known, and has been confirmed to me by people in the Postal System, that there are postal employees who will deliberately mishandle packages that are so marked. No need for them to know!

This system has worked very well for us and our customers have been very happy.

Three weeks after receipt they see the results!


Happy Mailing – Happy Hatching

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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!


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.


Fayrehale White Chanteclers in winter housing.


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.


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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