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Saturday, December 17, 2011

There is a new addition to our fur family.

A kittie whose name is Baxter.

He needed to be SURE to get introduced to Emmie the dog, AKA cat chaser extraordinaire.

Collars were held and little hands protectively placed around Baxter as he was introduced. The meeting went well and we are all hoping that trend continues


A Brief History of “Let There Be Peace on Earth, and Let It Begin with Me”

Sy Miller and Jill Jackson were a husband and wife songwriting team. In 1955 they wrote a song about their dream of peace for the world and how they believed each one of us could help create it.

They first introduced the song to a group of teenagers selected from their high schools to attend a weeklong retreat in California. The young people were purposefully from different religious, racial, cultural and economic backgrounds, brought together to experiment with creating understanding and friendship through education, discussion groups, and living and working together in a camp situation. Sy Miller wrote in his own words what happened:

“One summer evening in 1955, a group of 180 teenagers of all races and religions, meeting at a workshop high in the California mountains locked arms, formed a circle and sang a song of peace. They felt that singing the song, with its simple basic sentiment – 'Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,' helped to create a climate for world peace and understanding.

‘When they came down from the mountain, these inspired young people brought the song with them and started sharing it. And, as though on wings, 'Let There Be Peace on Earth' began an amazing journey around the globe. It traveled first, of course, with the young campers back to their homes and schools, churches and clubs. Soon the circle started by the teenagers began to grow. Before long the song was being shared in all fifty states – at school graduations and at PTA meetings, at Christmas and Easter gatherings and as part of the celebration of Brotherhood Week. It was a theme for Veteran’s Day, Human Rights Day and United Nations Day. 4H Clubs and the United Auto Workers began singing it. So did the American Legion, the B’nai B’rith, the Kiwanis Clubs and CORE. It was taped, recorded, copied, printed in songbooks, and passed by word of mouth.

‘The song spread overseas to Holland, England, Italy, France, Germany, Lebanon, Japan, India; to South America, Central America, Africa, Asia and Australia. The Maoris in New Zealand sang it. The Zulus in Africa sang it.”

Professional singers began singing it. Over the years many artists have performed the song. Among them are Tennessee Ernie Ford, Andy Williams, Danny Kaye, Nat King Cole, the Smothers Brothers, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Eddie Albert, Placido Domingo, Edie Adams, Gladys Knight, Mahalia Jackson, John Gary, Pearl Bailey, Roberta Shore, Champ Butler, the King Sisters, Mary Tyler Moore, John Raitt, Liberace, Bob Crosby, the International Children’s’ Choir, Gisele MacKensie, Lloyd Bridges, Patti Page, Angela Cartwright, the Young Americans, Jack Smith, Pat Boone, Crystal Gayle, Vince Gill, Harry Connick Jr., Johnny Mathis, Allison Chu, Rhonda Fleming, the Norman Luboff Choir. Television shows with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Lorne Greene, The Boston Pops, Ted Mack and Father Keller have used the song.

“Let There Be Peace on Earth” was awarded the George Washington Honor Medal by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for “Outstanding achievement in helping to bring about a better understanding of the American Way of Life.” It also received a Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

In Sy Miller’s words again: ‘This simple thought, 'Let There Be Peace on Earth, and Let It Begin With Me' first born on a mountain top in the voices of youth, continues to travel heart to heart – gathering in people everywhere who wish to become a note in a song of understanding and peace—peace for all mankind."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scenes of Fall

The smell of wood smoke hangs in the air,

falling leaves are everywhere.

Life on the farm is busy busy right now but here are a few of the sights recently.

chalk drawings in the driveway

autumn flowers


hot, salty peanuts over an open fire

fun photography

that wraps up this week from our home to yours!

Friday, September 23, 2011

HELLO Autumn!

We had a fun idea for welcoming a most wonderful season,


So here is the inside scoop of our photo shoot...

Take 1:

Ok, not bad..........can we move the signs closer together?

Take 2:

lets try this, what if we move the horses closer together?

Take 3:

that's great! Now can you act like you are exuberantly happy that this is the first day of fall even though your Nana is totally interrupting your riding lesson with her camera and silly little signs and take after take of pictures? Hmm? Can you? pleeeze?

Take 4:


You guys are the best! Thank you!

Whats that? The horses are upset because I didn't get their faces IN THE PICTURE? make the horses happy

Take 5:

Happy Autumn from our place to yours~

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sick Chick

One of the hens "martha stewart" (so named because of her extreme attachment to cleaning and arranging the hay in the hen house) got all droopy and began to walk like a penguin, all straight up and down instead of like chickens normally walk.

Many Google hours later made it pretty clear that martha had an egg stuck umm..somewhere.

Treatment is very warm baths to relax the muscles

In case the egg had ruptured and caused an infection in the abdomen Martha went on antibiotics. 3 days of hot bathes and 0 signs of an egg made the peritonitis the more likely culprit.

You haven't really lived until you try to pry open the clamped beak of a highly unwilling chicken to force down a liquid antibiotic that is necessary but dangerous since chickens inhale liquid into their lungs very easily.

After 3 nerve wracking days of this I found a way to inject a strawberry with the drug instead and just let her eat the strawberry!

Much easier on both of us!

She was so weak that she had to be separated from the hens and the rooster because they were beginning to peck at her which (thanks again Google) is a response designed to keep the rest of the flock from catching what the weak one has. So Martha moved in to the big house and lived on a heating pad covered with a layer of newspaper to soothe her sore tummy.

She turned down every food imaginable except the strawberries and was losing weight rapidly UNTIL in desperation I tried butter.

She loved it and would peck diligently while I held a stick of butter in front of her.

That gave her protein, fat and much needed calories, hooray for butter!

So therapy became antibiotic laced strawberries, fresh water, a heating pad and BUTTER.

Not a bad gig for a chicken except for the fact that she started to refuse water....and food...and would turn and face the wall.

Her belly (which had been swollen and hard and red, was getting smaller. The antibiotics were working so what was wrong now?

After consulting my good friend Dr. Google still once more I found a very interesting article that helped me diagnose this latest development. It seems that of all the herd/flock animals that exist, chickens are the most dependant on interaction with the group. On a scale of 1 to 10 they are the tens of group therapy. In short, Martha Stewart was suffering from depression.

Late afternoon is "chickens gather on the deck time" in these parts so that might be a good time to reintroduce Martha to the flock that had tried to peck her to death 3 days earlier, right? Yes? No? Am I throwing her out the door to her death?

Oh the stress of it!

I looked at the chickens on the deck.....I looked at martha standing there all wilted and facing the wall........

Time to see what would happen. I lifted her up and sat her in front of the door and opened it, figuring it would be better if she made her debut on her own two feet rather than me dropping her from the sky so to speak.

Turkey Lurkey on the left, and mz martha rubbed necks and talked - no pecking whatsoever.


Even Gregory Peck, the rooster, came over and settled in beside her making little friendly noises.


So therapeutic supervised visits for two hours in the late afternoon were added to the strawberries - heating pad - antibiotics and butter regimen.

Today martha spent the whole day outside with her peeps and all was well. No antibiotics, no strawberries, or butter, just chicken feed and fresh raw cream for the probiotics to counteract all the antibiotics.

As twilight set in I was curious to see what martha would the rest of the hens and the rooster began heading towards the chicken house, martha stewart stayed behind anxiously peering in the window at her newspaper covered heating pad.

"stop taking your stupid pictures and open the door" she said.

and in she hurried, as fast as her little legs could carry her

back to the safety of her little warm lair for one (?) more night...

Small town Saturday Night

The three Musketeers and I

took some time this weekend to paint the town red.

there were Shirley Temples

and fine dining~

some minor trepidation at trying new foods
(ribs instead of chicken nuggets)

Followed by a trip the the local artists Co-op

looking at things from a different perspective

Then off to the childrens theater for a live play.

How the average American child waits for the action to start

Meeting the cast...

and strollin on the boulavard in search of ice cream

a perfect small town hot summer night.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Just Another Day (in paradise?)

I woke up to a hot morning sun.

We have reached to end of another summer.

A time when everything feels overblown...

the weather

the fields

the garden.

I stepped out of my door and into morning air that felt like walking into a bathroom just after a shower has been running, all hot and steamy.

My bare feet were conscious of the quickly drying grass as I made my way to my garden.
In the humid simmering heat I walked, feeling all earth mothery.

The rich ripe ground which has been giving and growing all summer. The over blown flowers and smells of grass thick in the air, layer over layer.

The nearly spent garden succumbing to morning glory vines and bumble bees now stealing center stage from the peppers, the last fruit standing in a dying garden.

The shade of a nearby tree, long green leaves hanging low, made a pretty picture. The hay fields lush and green spread out in every direction, hot sun over head didn't penetrate my verdant little glen under its massive branches.

So beautiful, so lush, like a hot house garden, butterflies included.

Still caught in the spell of my earth mother - the planet and I are one mood

I rounded the corner, tripping in the process over my pajamas and fell,

landing on one knee in this

Well, at least this is how it looked after I fell on it.

Apparently, my earth mother self temporarily forgot that a hot summer day is not all about last fruits, butterflies and verdant glens. Its also about ants and bugs and sticky heat...

and chicken poop.

My mood was gone in an instant...

impulses to take pictures of a summer morning vanished,

replaced completely by the beauteous wonder of a solid wood door with air conditioning on the other side

(and an inadvertent picture of oneself in the door handle taking a picture of a door handle)

ahh the miracle of forced air ducts! And freezers with ice - and iced coffee!

And a battery operated laptop with which to write down the tale of my conversion.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Sometimes its great to live on a farm and sometimes its just as great to get away for awhile.

Go somewhere the opposite of grassy fields...

find a place where there is a lot of liquid magic...


It takes on a whole other dimension!

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You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


There is probably no better place to observe the ebb and flow of nature in all its beauty and violence than on a farm.

Animals are not aware of animal rights.

They ignore political correctness.

They function by their own code of ethics which is powered by a strong engine called instinct.

During the last week we have had 3 baby calves born (awwww)

found one dead skunk in the yard near the chicken coop (thank you dogs for protecting the hens, said while holding my nose)

one dead feral cat (trespassing can be lethal)

as well as a couple of other interesting "birth to earth" scenarios.

If you are eating or are somewhat visually sensitive, then you want to just look at the nice picture below of the hens eagerly waiting to be let out in the morning and read NO further...

just click off this blog and go to your happy place none the wiser or more disturbed.

Whatever you do don't scroll down!

This is your final warning!

Had a highly unusual event last week. Well, the event was a snake eating its prey (which isn't unusual but the kids capturing him in a card board box and saying "get your camera - hurry! " This was a chance to learn for them - better than a movie in science class for sure!

As the snake slowly pulled the bird in and its jaw unhinged to allow for the great (in comparison) size of its prey, the snake almost appeared to be smiling

I'm sure if we could really know the reptilian minds inner workings, the snake was probably not smiling but instead thinking "GO AWAY and let me eat in peace!" but we will probably never know if I am correct in that or not...

soon the event was winding down and the box was tipped to one side so the snake could go his merry way.

Sad, disturbing, primal, literal life happening there. I wish I had taken pics of the little faces standing around the box. Eyes wide, fingers touching lips, minds taking in the scene before them.

A few days later I got a call from Handsome Son to bring my camera to the milk parlor, there was something I really needed to see.

Picture this, a busy concrete and steel barn. Twice a day it fills up with cows waiting to be milked. The noise level is impressive, vacuum suction swooshing, cows mooing. Nothing tree like or meadow like in the slightest.


Here is where a little sparrow decided to build her nest.

I wrote HERE just above the spot, can you see it?

While the cow looked at me in amused alarm, me with the black box up to my eye clicking....that she found strange. What was right beside her in the top of the post apparently not so much....

Fragile little is still in its shell

once they noticed my shadow hovering over them, little mouths flew open waiting for food

The circle of life.............

poets have written of it, Elton John sang about it and us here on Blackberry Hill get to live it.

Each and every day.

Thursday, July 28, 2011



My name is B-rad and

I am 8 years old.

Today it rained and I was

SO bored.

I played Clue with my Nana and I won!

Then I made lunch for us so Nana could do stuff.

I made roasted pork and cole slaw and potatoes and beans.

I did it ALL by myself and Nana told me the secret ingredient for cole slaw...

shhhhhhh. I'll never tell. Now it is MY secret ingredient!

I helped Nana do her work and she paid me. Then we went to the store and I bought a Transformer.






Then I taught Nana to play Chuzzle

she loved it.

she was good at it.