So where do I begin??? I guess I’ll have to do as they do in the movies…a flashback!
December, 2010..got the call from Taylor Farm, located in Londonderry, Vt., that they would like to carry my line of fresh baked breads at their farm store. Wow…that blew me away to think they thought so well of what I produce to sell it to the public. I dove right into baking up a storm. I would chuckle to myself at 5:00 a.m. as I was shaping the dough and sliding them into the oven that I was like the “time to make the donuts” man. The best part was my breads sold quickly and so I had to keep making more!!
January, 2011…”The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing…” It’s very white here and the snow banks are getting higher. Good thing we can cozy up by the fire. In hindsight I should have done some more cozying. Little did I know back then how busy we would get. We’ve had a pretty steady stream of wonderful guests staying at the B & B. We are really enjoying meeting new people.
Febuary, 2011…Still snowing…..”Goat School” takes place Sat. thru Mon. of Presidents’ Day Weekend. What a blast!! Ken and Jan Spaulding of Stony Knoll Farm, Maine made learning about goat keeping fun. We all got a big laugh when our Golden Retriever, Hawkeye, discovered the frozen goat hoofs Ken & Jan had brought for us to practice hoof trimming. Hawk came prancing into the room with one in his mouth feeling very proud of himself. We had a total of 30 people attending and some couples booked rooms at the house. How great it was to spend a weekend with people who share the same interest and love of goats. I prepared a buffet lunch for the attendees for each day and if I do say so myself the chili I made with goat meat was ass-kicking. Everyone left happy and more self-assured about taking care of our goats.
We also met Steve and his girlfriend Tessa. Steve loves goats and I was looking for someone to help us grow the farm. What could be a better match? and his girlfriend of 6 yrs. is sweet and adorable. Steve had graduated from Univ. of Mass., Amherst with a pre-vet and biology degree. The guy is brilliant! We agreed we would give the relationship a try this summer and then take it from there. We decided he would move to Vermont the end of March so we could get to know each other and prepare for the coming of kids the beginning of May. Tessa was to stay in Mass. since she is graduating with a degree in graphic arts this May.
Received terrible news…Brooklyn (our 10 yr. old Golden) has lymphoma and Hawkeye (our 11 yr. old Golden) has a mast cell cancer. Brooklyn will start chemo and Hawkeye will have surgery.
March…Still snowing….Brooklyn begins her chemo. She is to go through the Wisconsin protocol which means a chemo injection each week for 16 weeks. She handles the first injection fine and her lymphocite numbers go down from 50,000 to 2000. We figure we have this thing beat.
Hawkeye has surgery to his left thigh to remove the tumor and he comes through with flying colors. No extra treatment needed!
Steve moves in with us and he is a joy to have around. He jumps right in, shares many of the day to day jobs that I ask him to help with and takes it upon himself to do jobs where he sees a need and I haven’t. I bake breads to sell now and he makes goat milk soap that we will sell at the Farmers’ Market this summer. We start planting seeds for the summer’s produce and it’s so nice to have someone share this task with me. We seem to have so much to talk about and we’ve become friends as well. Both of us are eagerly awaiting the May arrival of Annie and Sophia’s kids.
Ed, Steve and I attend a series of 3 classes on bees. Those are truly amazing little buggers. What I learned to put it simply is the male (drone) bees impregnate the queen and then they die. The queen is catered to as if she is Cleopatra. Food is brought and fed to her, she is fanned to keep her comfortable and is not allowed to lift a wing to help out in any way. All of this is done for her by women bees. I was truly jealous until I learned that she lays thousands of eggs a day. I decided then and there she could keep her lifestyle…not interested!
April…Oh, did I tell you it’s snowing…but who cares. My house is once again filled with the smell of earth from all the little seedlings sprouting and Ed and I are off to Kiawah Island, S. Carolina for a few weeks. The family will be meeting us there to celebrate Passover together.
Brooklyn is not doing well. She has stopped responding to the chemo. I know this will be her last trip to Kiawah. April 26th, 2 days after we arrive home we have our wonderful vet, Dr. Rob Treat, comes to our home to put Brooklyn down. The whole process took 3 minutes and my canine best friend is gone from me for forever. It was truly a very sad day! Poor Hawkeye lost his soul mate and became very despondent and we were afraid he would pass away from a broken heart. We included him in everything we did..but we could not cheer him up.
Mud season has begun!
May…Guess what it stopped snowing!!! but still somewhat chilly and raining. It seems the rain has taken over for the snow and the road is muck & mire.
We are proud to announce the birth of 2 black & white spotted little boys (bucks) weighing 6.5 & 6.8 lbs. on May 3rd. Mama Annie and kids are doing fine. We are also extremely delighted to announce the birth of 3 little girls (does) weighing 4.5 lbs. to 5.8 lbs to Sophia on May 11th. Mama Sophia’s delivery was extremely difficult since 2 of the girls where tangled up and it took human intervention to save kids and mama. Sophia developed a fever 4 days after the birth and stopped eating. Steve diagnosed her and suggested we start her on penicillin. Annie stopped eating as well and we found out we should have dewormed Annie & Sophia since the parasites multiply exponentially due to the stress of delivery. Since both mamas were not producing enough milk for their kids we had to give them a homemade milk replacer. It turned out to be too rich for their litte tummies and they came down with diarrhea. My wonderful friends in the goat community helped us with their advice that comes with years of experience. Even when I would call late at night they were there to tell me what to do. I am definitely blessed to have such wonderful friends who share their knowledge so freely…Thank you…Thank you…Thank you!! I am able to say that everyone is well and thriving.
On Saturday, May 21st we travelled to New Hampshire to pick up our new rescue Golden Retriever. He was in a kill shelter (which means he had 5 days before he would be euthanized) in Louisiana when Golden Huggs of Williston, Vt. found him. They retrieved him (no pun intended) and sent him to a foster home in Arkansas and then from there to us. His new name is Ernie Kovacs (Ed’s pick) and he is truly a comedian. He came strolling off the transport wearing this big grin on his face. He cracked everyone up. He’s about 2 yrs. and is a sweet, sweet pup. He is also very handsome. Hawkeye is beginning to perk up since Ernie’s arrival and this is good. So he is filling in that hole in our home that opened up when Brooklyn died.
So now another hole will be opening in our home…Steve has told us that he will be leaving us. His girlfriend (now fiance) needs him back in Massachusetts. I’ve come to rely on him sooo much and enjoy having him around. He truly became part of our family and a good friend, so I’m feeling sad for me and at the same time thankful that I got to know him.
We started selling at the Jamaica Farmers’ Market on Sunday, May 22nd. I made my artisan breads and Steve made Banana Bread. We also sold chicken and duck eggs. We did better than we expected and I sold out many of my breads. As an extra benefit, we really enjoyed meeting an array of very nice and interesting people.
Oh..it stopped raining. I am now dreaming of all the veggies that will be springing to life and ready for harvesting before too long…yummm! Irene