Friday, December 28, 2012

2012: The Year in Pictures

2012_in_Pictures1

We wish you and yours a Happy and Blessed 2013.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, One and All!

 

nativity

This precious Bonnie Mohr painting found its way to me this Christmas (Merry Christmas was added by me). Maybe I will leave it up all year! Does it get any better? The true meaning of Christmas.. AND two donkeys?!

Bless each and every one of you, and may love warm your hearts this Christmas.

With love,
All of Us at Flat Creek Farm

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Life as We Know It

… has been busy! Let me just get my shaming out of the way first. Just look at the dates, people. My last post was September 16. Today is November 17th. Really??  I think I’ve hit a new blogging low. Must.Do.Better. (if you don’t believe me, I understand!).  Also, I’ve become terrible at blog visiting. I’d love to spend an entire lazy day just catching up on blogs! One can hope.

What are your favorite type of posts? Random posts are mine. I believe it is because my brain works that way. So random! That’s why I feel like I’m spinning in circles half the time – not getting any real stuff done (or at least not fast enough to suit me). The older I get, the worse it gets. Anyone with me on this?

Oh yah.

Where was I?

Here is one thing I accomplished over the long, dry, hot summer -- a re-do of an old ice box we’ve had in the barn for 25 years or more. Sorry, no ‘before’ pictures. It wasn’t in horrible shape, but did take some time (especially since at one point I painted it white.. what was I thinking? Covering up that cool old galvanized finish??). I dressed it up with old coke signs (the wire is now gone - Earth magnets worked the best for holding them in place). This way, I can change it up super quick if I want to. Hmmmm.. thinking some Christmas Coca Cola signs might be nice...

ice_box

We also harvested honey. Amazingly, for a drought year we had several pounds and it increased from last year. Not enough to sell yet, but enough to keep us stocked until next year. The bad news is we lost our two new hives that we purchased. The good news is the “swarm” hive and original hive both seem to be doing great (at last check).

bee
This little honeybee visited us inside. She wanted a drink of honey.

We have a new resident at the farm and I am in love. There is a story to go with this new resident, but that’s another blog post.

aermotor

Gracie and Ruby are famous!! Well, sort of? They have a little space in the current (Nov/Dec 2012) Hobby Farms issue.

HF_Nov-Dec12

Chloe and Banjo say “They’re just donkeys… what’s the big deal?”
Banjo_Chloe

In August we were blessed with a visit from the Blacksmith’s oldest sibling – his one and only brother. Jerry visited from the far away and beautiful state of New Mexico, and stayed with a sister locally. We had not seen him in 12 plus years, but he and the Blacksmith always kept in touch. Sadly, it was their last visit as Jerry passed away peacefully in his sleep soon after he returned home to New Mexico.

brothers_sisters
I am so thankful they had that last visit, and also that we took several pictures. I loved this one with the good-natured sibling “fussing” going on (cute). These four were the only surviving of their mother’s six children. Now we have only three.

On this Thanksgiving we are reminded to count our blessings each and every day. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!! For this and every single day, we are truly grateful ♥

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Donkey Roping–Again?

UPDATE on 9-17-12: “Open burro roping” has been removed from the description on Facebook Sept 29 event page and from Eden, Tx website event page.
Thanks so much everyone who helped.. big hugs from the Donks!! ♥♥
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And this one is sponsored by a church.
Yes, really. It’s true. And we are very sad to learn of this ;(

Reposted from For the Love of Donkeys Facebook page:

Just as we did in Van Horn, let's come together to tell Eden, Texas that the donkey roping competition scheduled for Saturday, September 29 at Rodeo Arena is not acceptable. Ask them to please cancel this inhumane event.
Please contact:
Celina Hemmeter
Eden, Texas City Secretary/Administrator
(325) 869-2211
cityadmin@edentexas.com
...

The individuals from Hallelujah Trail Cowboy Church who are planning the competition:
BUZZY BIERSCHWALE 830-459-7958
STEVE BELOTE 325-245-3425 (“Pastor Steve”)
DAN TOMLINSON 325-869-5206

This morning we also noted that Hallelujah Trail Cowboy Church is already planning another burro event in October.
Here is another helpful note if you’d like to help by emailing a letter to the editor:
The Eden Echo is a newspaper in Eden, Texas and is published once a week on Thursday. This newspaper is owned by A.J. Dolle and Lillian Dolle.
Email: edenecho@wcc.net


source: For the Love of Donkeys facebook page

Wonder why we think this is a big deal? And needs to stop? For more details on donkey roping, go here. (Warning: explicit photos and info)

There is also a petition specific to the September 29th Eden, Texas event – please sign if you so choose.

While you’re at it, you may want to LIKE For the Love of Donkeys on Facebook

Thank you for caring ♥

Much Love,
Ruby and Gracie

Legend of the Donkey's Cross
by Mary Singer

“Bring me the colt of a donkey,”
was the Master's request.
A young donkey was brought to Jesus
to carry Him into Jerusalem.
A week later Jesus was ordered
to be crucified.
The little donkey so loved the Lord
that he wanted to help Him carry the cross.
But, alas, he was pushed away.
The sad little donkey waited to say
goodbye until nearly all had left.
As he turned to leave, the shadow of
the cross fell upon the
back and shoulders of
the little donkey.
And there it has remained,
a tribute to the loyalty
and love of the humblest of
Gods creatures.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Mystery ~ Solved

The dogs and I take a nature hike most every day. For me (and 2 of the three dogs), it’s supposed to be a walk for health and weight loss, but who am I kidding?

My Pack.

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I always get sidetracked by an empty eggshell (what kind of little birdie was that?) or …

Look at the pretty flower! (one of the few wildflowers during drought)...

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or…

Squirrel! (this normally distracts my canine pack)
squirrel

or some interesting blueberry-ish looking fruit lying on the ground. What?!?! We’re in a drought, for Pete’s Sake.

ripe

I took my phone pic of the mystery tree (which bore the ripened fruit above) and posted it to facebook to see if anyone could identify it for me.
leaves_fruit

The answers poured in – from PawPaw (I wish!) to Damson Plum to some kind of Damson Berry.

I decided to delve further and I sent the phone picture to Missouri Conservation Ombudsman. He was perplexed by this phone pic also. So Mr. W and I trekked back to the spot and took some better pictures for the Ombudsman. Notice how tiny the fruit is in Mr. W’s hand. Sadly, that fact alone would rule out Paw Paws! Well, and of course, Paw Paws are not normally blueberry colored…

BlackHaw

Mr. W and I had taken our little Missouri Tree Field Guide with us and tentatively identified the tree as a Nannyberry. However, Mr. Conservation Ombudsman has officially identified it as a…

wait for it…

Black Haw.

Per MDC site:  Decades ago, when more Americans led rural lives and walked more, the fruits were nibbled on by many. The root bark has been used medicinally. Ecosystem connections: Many species of birds eat the berries, including the cardinal, cedar waxwing, robin, ruffed grouse and wild turkey. Mammals that relish the berries include deer, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, skunks and mice. Deer and beaver eat the twigs, bark and leaves. Many animals use this shrub for cover.

The fruit tastes somewhat like raisins, but there will be no Black Haw pies here. Saving these little morsels for our wildlife neighbors. They’ll surely need them this year.

Thank you, Tim, Missouri Department of Conservation Ombudsman, for your help!

Find ways to Explore and Enjoy in your neck of the woods. You never know what you might find!

We’re off to the Missouri State Fair this weekend. Hope to share some lovely long-eared and other photos with you soon!

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Sweet Little Brayers at Play

Well, you might imagine a sweet little “hee haw” from Gracie and Ruby. Prepare to be shocked (right after Goldie’s bark). The news from the donkey barn radio is blaring in the background, and you’ll also hear a rooster crow.

My Mild-Mannered Girlies :)

Ahhhh… life on the Farm ♥

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Celebration of Barn Quilts

Back in 2009, I received a phone call from friend Margot McMillen. A few weeks prior, I had published this blog post about our fun day at her diverse farm near Hatton, Missouri - Terra Bella. Included in that post was a photo of Terra Bella’s barn quilt. There was also a barn quilt painting activity going on that day.
BQ
Enter – Google Alerts. An author, Suzi Parron, was signed up to receive Google Alerts by email regarding these key words: BARN QUILT. She received the alert and link to my blog post, contacted Margot, and in turn the original bloggie photograph was published in her recently released book Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement. A few years in the making, this book is a feast for the eyes and heart, with gorgeous Barn Quilt photos across our nation as well as the tender stories involved with each barn quilt. I am proud and honored that my photo of Margot’s Barn Quilt was published in this wonderful book. Thank you, Margot and Suzi!!
book
Back to the Celebration part of this post: This week we were invited to attend an event at Hatton, coinciding with Suzi’s whirlwind book-signing tour across the American Barn Quilt Trail. What a wonderful evening!
And it was so great to finally meet Suzi! She is this bundle-of-energy-type person, with a true zest for life (and Barn Quilts, of course). A high school English teacher by day, and author/photographer by night (and down time from school).
Suzi
Lovely quilts by a famous Callaway County quilter were on display in Hatton Hall. The pieces were about the size of a postage stamp and the colors were so brilliant.
quilt1
Margot’s husband Howard Marshall, as well as our Fiddler and other musical friends helped provide the musical entertainment.
 Broadway Brewery chefs (Columbia, MO) were on hand with a delightful meal prepared for all of the attendees. All gourmet dishes were prepared by foraging for and utilizing local/Missouri meats and crops/produce. Several of these luscious items were produced at Terra Bella Farm. Broadway Brewery offered a nice selection of their always delicious (I am told Winking smile) beer as well. Mr. W and I must visit Broadway Brewery in person soon. It is the Fiddler’s favorite place to eat currently.
On the Menu: Patchwork Family Farms Pulled Pork, Missouri Rice Pilaf (I had forgotten there is rice grown in MO!), Pickled Lady Apples, Missouri Tomato-Cucumber & Wild Purslane Salad (I just pulled purslane from the garden today – apparently it’s a delicious weed!), Dilled New Potato Salad, Missouri Peach Cobbler (YUM).
food
beerS
Apparently, I’m not a great food blogger. I tend to eat fast. Too fast. Before I can snap a picture of the whole meal. Trust me, it was delish beyond compare.
plate
The tables were beautifully decorated on a quilting theme by Barb (Margot’s friend).
Side note, Barb and Margot introduced me to beekeeping about 10 years ago – this whole beekeeping thing we do now is totally their fault! Winking smile Back to the table decs and wall d├ęcor…
table1
Jenny Bondurant of Auxvasse Creative Arts Program and Bill Hart of the Missouri Barn Alliance and Rural Network told about their respective programs. Suzi Parron ended the evening’s festivities with a slide show presentation and delightful commentary – so much barn quilt eye candy! It left everyone truly excited about Barn Quilts, whether they had a barn or not!
I will also make mention that the evening’s events were a fundraiser for Missouri Barn Alliance and Rural Network and Auxvasse Creative Arts Program.
So, Bloggers, just so you know. Keep blogging and posting your photos. You just never know. One of them (or more) might end up in a book someday. And how cool is that for a little old country blogger like me?
If you’d like to order Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement, check out Amazon or Suzi’s website. I see she has a limited number of signed First Editions on her website. These books would make wonderful gifts for the quilt lovers in your life as well!
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P.S. Presently, we are receiving a much-needed rain here at Flat Creek Farm. Praise God! Never lose hope.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Purple Martins 2012

We had no tenants last year, but this year.. YES! The young ‘uns have been flying for a few days now. Another amazing thing about the 100+ temps is that it seems they have all survived and thrived through this. Earlier this week I hung out with them awhile (they fussed a little.. but not too much).
martins
Love them!
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P.S. The answer to yesterday’s Crusty Rusty Mystery Item: Sorghum Mill or Sorghum Mill Press… depending on which side of the river you were born ;)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

I hope. Sorry for the unplanned blogging hiatus. I don’t know even know where to begin, so I’ll just jump right in and see where I land…
Drought and Heat 2012: We are still suffering in our neck of the woods. Grass, crops, gardens.. all are dying. Even the trees are in danger at this point. I’ve been watering to try to save what I can. The good news is we’re now into the “cool 90’s” this week after two weeks of upper 90’s to (as much as) 107 here. Please tell me what’s going on where you are. The rains have been so spotty. I know some have received showers of blessing.
In spite of everything, we still have a few blooms and tiny bit of garden left. Amazing, I say.

blooms_gdn

Bees: We are picking up another hive of bees this week from a relative who is a beekeeper and does his own splits each year. This will be Hive #4. Yay! On one of our hottest days last week (107), I captured these honeybees soaking up the moisture at the bird bath. It was really interesting to watch! Maybe because I’m a Bee Nerd? At any point during those warmest days you could see several bees at a time cooling off here.
bees_thirsty
Do you ever have a list of “things I should have blogged, but never did?” Here’s one of my many. This handmade mosaic stepping stone was given to me by my parents on my 50th b-day (gulp) 2 years ago. I sooo love it! The gentleman who creates these is wheelchair-bound in a local nursing home (about my age), and donates the proceeds to our county’s Relay for Life.
step_stone
Now, here is something that Mr. W is quite proud of. One of his newest projects. Still doesn’t seem real to us sometimes, but his dear blacksmithing friend Ed passed away suddenly a couple of months ago. Slowly but surely I think some of  Ed’s “best of the best” rust pile has somehow found its way to Flat Creek Farm :)
Just for fun, can anyone guess what this lovely crusty rusty item is?
guess_what
One more random catch-up item.. and I’m outa here for now (hopefully not so long this time). Remember Goldie? Wow, she grew up! She’ll be one year old at the end of this month. Notice the post-critter-chasing tongue?
Goldie
Hope everyone is doing well. I’m trying to slowly catch up on blog visits too. Where does the time go??
Till next time…
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Monday, June 18, 2012

If you love donkeys…

UPDATE – GOOD NEWS!! The donkey roping event has been cancelled by the town, per email reply I received just now from the Van Horn, Texas City Administrator. And also official word from Patrick’s Mom via facebook ;)

Thanks for sharing the love!! ♥♥♥

We invite you to check out this post and plea from Patrick, a rescued roping donkey. Time is running out for the “roping donkeys” set to provide “entertainment” at a rodeo in Van Horn, Texas this weekend June 23rd and 24th.

may09girls

Per Patrick – “If you’re looking for a way to help, please call Jason Owens; the promoter of the event. His phone number is 432-940-9051. He has said he will take all calls. Please explain to him why he needs to cancel the donkey roping competition in this Saturday’s (June 23) Van Horn Rodeo. We hope that if he receives enough phone calls educating him about why this should not happen – he may decide to bow under pressure. Also, please write to the editor of the local paper in Van Horn, Texas: Larry Simpson, at The Van Horn Advocate: lsimpson@vanhornadvocate.com

{Patrick also wants you to know that Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, America’s largest donkey rescue, is ready, willing and able to take in all the Van Horn roping donkeys.}

If you so choose, you can also sign a petition here that may help out. Thank you for caring ♥

Love,
Ruby and Gracie

Monday, April 23, 2012

Oh, Honeybees…

What have you done now?

swarm1

Spring hit about a month early here in the Midwest.

The bees received the memo on that.

We did not.

Saturday afternoon I went over to feed the bees. I spied something unusual in a tree overhead the hive. Yup, it was that SOMEthing you see in the picture above.

Hmmm….

It appears our good bees in the original hive had decided to make a split. And, without the assistance of their beekeepers. The nerve…! (go ahead and say it… ‘you snooze.. you lose’!)

A split is formed from the hive when things get a little overcrowded. A portion of the colony splits off, and begins to swarm. Certain other conditions figure in also. Normally, swarming doesn’t begin quite so early in the year. And there are things a beekeeper can do to prevent such things (including observation within the hive, and attempting to do the split themselves), but…

That’s okay. Mr. W and I needed a plan for a fun Saturday evening date. Why not capture some honeybees?!?!  I’m just thankful I happened over to the bee yard before they departed the scene. Forever!

Here’s a video of our adventures to save the bees. If you reallllly love bees and are interested in this, you may want to watch the entire 10 minutes. Otherwise, maybe just snippets. Also I have to note that it’s a bit of a challenge to video while donning a bee veil. Therefore, I am sorry for some video hiccups and ground footage!

Hopefully, the Queen was saved, and this new hive will thrive!

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, we went as scheduled to pick up our package bees from Walk-about Acres the following day.

I loved their directive signs :)bee sign

One of these buzzing packages was ours!pallet o bees

It was chilly, in the 50’s.. but as soon as we returned home, we proceeded to install the Minnesota Hygienic bees and the Queen (in cage) in a new box. I’ll keep you posted on how they do.

opening_pkg

queen

In a day or so, the Queen should eat her way out of her cage. The candy cork was removed and a mini-marshmallow was stuffed in. This was a trick we learned at the Beekeeping Workshop earlier this year. This delay will prevent the other bees from killing her (if she releases too soon).

Did I mention Mr. W built several brood boxes and supers late in the Winter? Thank Goodness.. looks like we’ll be using them all up at this rate! He did a GREAT job, by the way. They even have the recessed hand holds. I have to brag on him!

Now we officially have three hives. Exciting!

The bees have some nice pastoral scenery surrounding them. This is the pond that serves as a backdrop to the Bee Yard. pond

Did I also mention this is our 200th blog post? Wow, as slow as I’ve become at blogging, I thought I’d never make it to this point. Never say never! In honor of the 200th post we’re preparing for maybe a little somethin’ special in the near future.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!!

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Linking up @ Homestead Revival’s 59th Barn Hop!
Barn-Hop

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beekeeping Workshop

First I just want to say, Hi Everyone!! Sorry to be absent for so long. Life sure happens, doesn’t it? We just have to do the best we can, and run with it. I’m so thankful for Leap Day because that allows me to at least get one blog post in for February. Yay!

Recently, the Blacksmith and I attended a wonderful beginning beekeeping workshop sponsored by the EPA and University of Missouri Extension. Our main speakers for the day were Jim and Valerie Duever of Jim 'n' I Farms. We both learned so much that our heads were spinning. Thank goodness for some fabulous learning materials, camera, and lots of notepads. It was an entire day of beekeeping information – loved it!!

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displays1

Feral comb, inserted into a frame.

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frame2

Did you know that rubberbands work great for holding in comb, should you capture a wild swarm? Me neither.

rubberbanding_frame_feral_hive 

We also learned about some different feeding strategies (including pollen patties), and when to feed them.

A fabulous demo was given on how to set your new package bees up in their new home. It’s really not as scary as it sounds (I hope, because we’ll be doing this soon).

Darn, I wanted a more close-up picture of Valerie. She had on the cutest honeybee cardigan ever!  Here she is demonstrating some beekeepers’ protective clothing options.

Val_1

Everyone had hands on experience building a complete bee hive set.

Here, part of our group learns to put the frames together. We had all ages actively participating in this workshop.. which I thought was extremely cool.
learning_2_build_frames

We also learned how to insert the Duragilt foundation into the frames we had built. (All was easy peasy, once we got the hang of it).
foundation_insertion

At the end of the day, our completed projected was given away as a door prize. How cool is that? (sorry, best picture I could get of it.. everyone was in for a close-up of our wonderful creation!)

door_prize 

Hopefully, all of this new information from the workshop will help us have healthier and happier bees,

and more of this.

Duever_honey

In addition to this workshop and reading some great beekeeping books, over the past couple of months we’ve been watching some great ‘bee’ flicks from Netflix. I would highly recommend any of these for your continued bee education:

Queen of the Sun (update: you can preview, rent or buy this beautiful documentary via the player at the bottom of this page!)
Bees: Tales from the Hive: Nova
Vanishing of the Bees
Colony

Off to put some frames together! Happy Leap Day!!

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