May 16
by Maryclaire Mayes

Musings from the farm- Chickens!

IMG_2844Chickens!   I was fortunate to have parents that were not country folk but managed to move to a small farm to raise their 5 and then 6 children.  We mostly had horses, but other animals came and went, cows, pigs, ducks, the orphaned baby whatever and chickens.

We inherited chickens from somewhere and even though they didn’t lay a lot of eggs. I really liked them. There was something very calming about going out to talk to the chickens. They would come to me and talk in low little voices. Almost like cooing.

We have had chickens before, almost everywhere Dean and I have lived but for some reason we have been without for quite some time. We had them when the kids were younger, our son Hal  and his friend loved to go see if there were eggs and come in and want them scrambled to eat.

When Hal  was about 8 he showed his chicken in 4- H, one that was almost bigger than he was.  When we moved we found homes for them all and have not gotten them again until now. Somehow, now everyone has  decided that we should have them again. So we ordered chicks from a hatchery, they send them to us through the mail. It may seem strange but is a good option to order direct from the hatchery.  I’m glad we got a little push from our kids to get them, and so are our kids, and of course the grand kids.

May 16
by Maryclaire Mayes

Cucumber Skin Care

I always plant cucumbers in my garden. This wonderful veggie is full of good nutrients for your face from the inside and out. It is a good source of Vitamin C and Molybdenum; both nutrients can help detoxify your skin and make it smooth and beautiful.

A quick fix for puffy eyes: place chilled cucumber slices over your eyes. You’ve probably seen this before—because it really works!

Redness: Cucumbers have natural anti-inflamatory properties that calm and soothe your skin. You can place thin sliced cucumbers anywhere there is redness. Great to soothe sunburn, rash or rosacea flare ups.

Spa Facial: Lightly puree 1/2 cup of cucumber and mix 1 to 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (look for one with active cultures). If it is too runny you can add a little oatmeal. Gently apply to clean dry face and neck. Relax for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse and enjoy your new glowing skin.

Apr 16
by Maryclaire Mayes

Musings From The Farm- My husband Amazes Me

7.hard workerMy husband, amazes me on so many levels. He is the smartest man I know. His father was a very smart guy and a thinker, but he wasn’t at all handy with tools. The story goes that he only owned a hammer and a screw driver and never used them.

My husband, Dean is a thinker too. I remember when our son was about 7 or 8 and Dean took him to work for the day. Hal watched intently as his dad work at his desk. Then he asked him this question in disbelief ” So they pay you just to think?”  Of course Dean responded “yes they pay me to think” . We all got a good laugh out of that one.

Somehow along the way though, Dean taught himself how to be handy; and this was all before the internet age! My theory is he inherited his mom’s genes. She grew up on a remote dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains that was pretty much sufficient.  Dean also had lots of friends who grew up on farms and I’m sure he was always there to lend them a hand. Dean likes to say to me, ” tell me what you want and I’ll make it happen” and he does, better than the plans I had in mind. Because he is a thinker and a doer!  I can’t think of anything he can’t do.  Feeling blessed to have him as my husband. Love that man!

Mar 16
by Maryclaire Mayes

View from my window – Goodbye Ruth


Oh Ruthie, we are so sad to see you go and you will no longer part of the view from my window. You were always curious and adventurous, keeping us on our toes. Ruth will be missed.

A raccoon with rabies wandered into our paddock, right next to the goat hutch to die. Discovering the raccoon first thing in the morning I had no idea when it arrived and what had taken place before I saw it. I followed all the right protocols to isolate our animals from the raccoon and had the vet out the next day to give Caddy and the goats their booster rabies vaccine just as a precaution.  They were still current, but I wanted to be sure.

I was reminded a few days later by the Health department to keep an eye on our goats for neurological symptoms, as there is no rabies vaccine approved for goats. I wasn’t worried though. My goats had been vaccinated every year with the approved sheep vaccine. Although the vaccine is not approved for goats, it is because of lack of research to prove it’s effectiveness on goats, not lack of effectiveness.

Then on day 19 since the raccoon visit, Ruthie was laying down in the barn and in obvious pain. Just shy of her 11th birthday, I assumed she was sick with a digestive upset. I offered her some baking soda, ( I know right?, but goats seem to like it when their tummy hurts), she wasn’t interested, but Allie ate some! I petted Ruthie and brought some hay and water, but she wasn’t interested. I went in and thought about what could be wrong. Then I saw she was stumbling around out in the paddock. Oh no I thought, that is a neurological symptom and I wondered could she have rabies?

By the time I got out to the barn she was laying down again pressing her head against the wall ( head pressing is another neurological symptom).  I alerted Dean to what I suspected and called our vet. I moved Caddy and the other goats and kept checking on her until the vet arrived. Of all the goats, if one would go investigate the raccoon it would have been Ruthie! But even so, I was sure the vet would tell me that he didn’t think it was rabies.

Ruthie was standing up when he came, she was head pressing, wobbly, drooling a little bit and in obvious distress. The vet had seen a lot or rabies, but never in a goat, but he really thought that was what he was looking at and said she should be euthanized. And so she was and a brain specimen sent to the lab for testing. Thankfully the results came back negative. I don’t know what she had but I don’t regret euthanizing her to have her tested. At her age I don’t think she would have recovered and I don’t think I had a choice considering her symptoms. We are all relieved to know she didn’t have rabies and can still be confident in the rabies vaccine.

Feb 16
by Maryclaire Mayes

View From My Window – Got Goats?

We are often asked if we have goats. The answer is yes we do, three. Although we haven’t milked our own goats for some time.

Many years ago, I gave a friend (who had a dairy farm) two goats. She fell in love with goats and eventually had her own herd and we were buying goat milk from her instead of milking our own. It is an arrangement that has worked out well for both of us.  So why do we still have goats?  They are our pets. If you think you would like to keep goats there are a few things you should know.

Goats are very social animals and should always be kept with at least one other goat friend.  Contrary to their reputation they are really very picky eaters. Although they do like to eat anything you have planted, like raspberries, blueberries and roses!  They don’t eat tin cans or anything like that. My goats won’t eat their treats if the pony (Caddy) has touched it. They won’t eat all the hay I feed them either, they pick out what they like and leave the rest for Caddy to clean up. They are funny creatures and I love to watch them playing out in the field. They are pretty adept at standing on their hind legs to reach leaves on trees and playing with each other and butting heads.

Goats are also very good escape artists so good fences are a must. They are terribly curious creatures and are prone to getting into trouble because of it. They will bond to their caretakers and will want you to come visit them, hopefully with treats, every time you go outside. I hear them calling to me every time I go out and if they see me heading in without coming to see them they complain very loudly to let me know. Our goat Allie is my favorite. When we are grooming Caddy she will come and get in the way so I will groom her too. She always makes me smile.