Oct 20
by Maryclaire Mayes

Can You See A Good Dad


Can you see a Dad in this picture? He is the little speck in the middle of the picture, to the left of the tractor. The reason he doesn’t even look like a person is because he is up to his chest in a drainage ditch he has been working on. Our son and his partner’s  landscape business (Terra Mira) have been using our front field for their landscape business and compost operation, but that field is eventually going to be the site of our daughter’s family house so Terra needed to move.  Terra was hoping to buy a piece of land this year for their compost operation, but that deal fell through. Now they needed a place fast, to put the leaves they will be collecting soon from all their fall clean ups. So this Dad suggested using our back field, but it needed some leveling and a drainage ditch.

Terra planned to do all the work, but they are growing so fast they just ran out of time so dad suffered through bulldozing ( just kidding, Dean jumps at a chance to learn to drive a piece of heavy equipment) and then followed up (without heavy equipment) getting the ditch ready for landscape fabric, adding stone and the drain pipe. They didn’t ask him to do it, but this Dad knew they were going to need the field before they would be able to get to it and it needed to be done before it rained again. It was cold wet work, but he didn’t want the boys ( both in their 30’s but we still call them boys :o) to work into the wee hours of the night to get it done or worse yet not get it done and not be able to use it for their fall clean up. So he worked all day getting the work done, because he is a good dad.

This is not an isolated incident. He gets up early and before he leaves for work at 5am he does a little book keeping for the boys landscape company. He also meets with them sometimes before he leaves to see how things are going. He is always there for our family and all the grandkids, even the youngest think he is just the best. I think I have to agree.

Oct 20
by Maryclaire Mayes


IMG_2174Dean would like to take a vacation to see new places, but I am sort of a homebody and we usually don’t go any where. I am usually happy to stay here taking care of our little farm.

Until 5th grade, I grew up not too far from Sandy Hook, NJ and our family spent a lot of time there in the summers. So even though I love our little farm, I sometimes get a yearning to watch the sunrise over the ocean and walk barefoot on the beach for miles. I love smelling the salt air and hearing the shore birds calling.

The last few years, we have tried to get away for a little vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Last year I waited too long to make reservations to go to one of my favorite places, Long Beach Island, NJ. This year despite covid and Dean figuring out he could even take a few days off, it all worked out to take a few days off to go to the beach.

For some reason trip logistics are always my job. The first order of business is always to see if one of our kids and their family would like to stay here and take care of the farm. Fortunately all the grand kids love it here and our daughter was  happy to stay.  Somehow our daughter managed to take on the added burden of caring for all the critters living here. She kept up with the garden, barn chores, our annoying dog and her 5 kids and their homeschooling.

Even though the weather was cloudy and chilly, we saw sunrises, walked for miles, collected seashells and saw pelicans and dolphins. So we had a nice little vacation, mission accomplished. I know Dean would like to go and see new places but he still likes me enough to humor me and accompany me to the Island.




Aug 20
by Maryclaire Mayes

Saint Caddy

IMG_1876 (1)We have often referred to Miss Number One’s therapy pony as Saint Caddy, because he is so kind and patient with the little kids who love him and the goat who looks to him for protection.Caddy ( his full name is Cadillac Man) came to us through a program called “Personal Ponies“. This group started by lending these calm, quiet ponies to families with a child who has disabilities, for as long as they want them and take good care of them.

Caddy is a U.K. Shetland pony, which are descendants of ponies used in the U.K. to haul wagons of coal out of mines. These ponies were used for their small size and good temperament. We got Caddy when he was 17, the girl who had him was going to college and said it was time for him to go work his magic for another family. We have had Caddy for 9 years,  since Miss Number One was two years old. All the grand kids love him but Miss Number One has always had a special bond with him.

We have always thought Caddy was a sort of guardian for all the other critters in our care. But the other day when a neighbor’s German Shepard snuck into the barnyard we got to witness him fending off the intruder first hand. I had forgotten to plug in our electric fence the night before after Dean had herded the guineas into the coop. So the dog just barged right through the 5 strand fence that keeps Caddy and Midnight in and other animals out. My son happened to see the dog go through the fence and called me to come out. When the dog started to chase Midnight, Caddy jumped into action, literally! Caddy looked so mean, charging, kicking and bitting at the dog. I feared our sweet pony was going to hurt the dog. I quickly got Caddy into the barn, with Midnight close behind. My son grabbed the dog and got him out. I put a lead on him and checked him for injuries, fortunately Caddy didn’t make much contact with the dog and he seemed ok. The neighbor came soon after to apologize and take the dog home. I had always thought the pony and the goat were bonded especially since, Midnight’s mom died a few years ago. Midnight is never too far from Caddy. That day Caddy was courageous, and proved his care for his goat buddy.

Aug 20
by Maryclaire Mayes

Guinea Hens!


Guinea nest foundGuinea hens are very private birds when it comes to their reproduction. You don’t see them procreating and they don’t want you to see their nest either. I would love to let them go ahead and sit on their eggs for 28 days to hatch their babies, except that predators also love the idea too. We have lost 2 of our guinea hens. They didn’t come home and I couldn’t find where they were sitting on their nest and make them come back to the safety of the coop.

Fortunately, the last time a hen didn’t come home for the night, SDK was here to help. That is our grand kids business, “Spy Detective Kids”, yes really they made a business card and everything. It was really fun to follow the SDKs because they were so excited.

First Miss Number Four exclaimed she found a feather, Mr. Number Three responded with “Is it a guinea hens?”. With each feather they found their were cheers and building excitement. They searched for the next feather and the next and found a small path through the underbrush. Then Miss Number Two who was the last in line yelled, “There’s the Guinea hen!”. They had finally found the hen on her nest. You would have thought it was Christmas morning!

Not thinking we would actually find the hen and her eggs, I had forgotten to bring a bucket to pick up the eggs. If you don’t pick up the eggs, it is impossible to get them to go back to the coop. So I recruited the SDK team to carefully carry the eggs back in their shirts, while I herded the guinea hen back to the safety of the coop for the night. I am happy to report that we all made it back, the guinea to the coop and all 32 eggs to the house. I gave some to our new neighbors to see if they can hatch out another batch of keets and to another gal who wanted to hatch some too. I always try to find someone to hatch them to help fight ticks every where they roam. Thanks to the Secret Detective Kids, for helping me to find  them.

Jun 20
by Maryclaire Mayes

Independence Day?

19392924d7258457e628c02e1a4b5bfcWhy do we celebrate Independence Day, the 4th of July?  Is it just the first holiday of Summer or another day off from work for a party? In the past it was always called Independence Day and there is a reason for that. Independence Day celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by delegates from the 13 colonies in 1776. The Declaration of Independence changed the course of history. It celebrates the experiment of a new kind of government. For the first time in history, the people, not kings or conquerors, would rule a nation. Delegates elected by the people would vote, representing the will of the people, because they declared it is a natural right for people to be free. This was a radical new idea that would allow people to pursue their own dreams and see their own hard work benefit themselves and their family. No where in the world before, had people been inspired to be independent and self sufficient.

After the vote, John Adams writes to his wife, Abigail: “Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which never was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony ‘that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, …This . . . Day . . . will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. . . . It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Was it perfect? No, but it was a daring experiment to throw off the yoke of class and let people govern themselves and strive to be better. America has been striving to be better since its inception.

So on this day, July 4th 2020, Independence Day, celebrate… just remember what you are celebrating. I am celebrating the vision of our founding fathers and the brave men and women who have sacrificed to make us free, the right to worship God, love my family and friends, live my dreams, be independent and own my own business making our healthy skincare products! What about you? What are you remembering and honoring about the 4th of July?