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.

Jan 16
by Dean Mayes

Fighting Colds – Tea Tree Oil

Fighting Colds with Tea Tree oil

by Andrea Butje

Tea Tree essential oil has always been used to fight infections and destroy microbes. Ever wonder why?

One of the active components in Tea Tree is called “terpinen-4-ol.” Terpinen-4-ol activates monocytes (a kind of white blood cell) in the body. In response to inflammation, monocytes go to the site of an infection and boost cellular performance for a greater immune response. Read more about it in this blog post!

A great way to use Tea Tree to fight respiratory infections is to inhale it. In his Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Salvatore Battaglia says:

“The Australian aborigines have long recognized the virtues of tea tree. The leaves were simply crushed in the hand and the volatile oil inhaled to relieve colds and headaches.”

You can get these benefits by doing a steam the moment you feel a cold coming on.

Steam & Stop This Cold Now!

25 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

25 drops Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora ct. 1,8 cineole)

25 drops Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Drop your oils into a 5 ml bottle with an orifice reducer. This is your “stock blend,” and you can use it many times, since you’ll only be using 1 drop for your steam.

Add 1 drop to a bowl of steaming water, close your eyes, and lean over the bowl to inhale the steam. Repeat several times a day for a week, then pause a few days, then repeat for another week. You can see the steaming technique in a video I made here.

If you’d like to get a look at a tea tree plantation, I have some pictures here. I had the chance to visit one in South Africa. It was such an amazing experience (and as usual, I took pictures)!

Take care,



Jan 16
by Maryclaire Mayes

View From My Window – Happy Valentines Day!

Dean and ClaraDo you celebrate Valentines Day? What do you do when you do, but your spouse not so much?  It’s always been a conundrum for me. My parent’s had always liked to celebrate special days, birthdays, holidays and yes Valentine’s day. I remember when I was very young they went away on a ski weekend in the Poconos for Valentine’s day, we stayed home with our Aunt Ella and had special treats. My dad always got my mom flowers on special days. One time the florist misheard my dad and sent my mom flowers with a card that said “love, John”,  instead of “love, Don”.  My dad thought it was pretty funny and after that all the flowers came with a note, “love, John”.  I think my dad was a real romantic.

My husband Dean, on the other hand not so much. My first inkling came a few months after we were married. Our first Christmas my sweet husband gave me, a pillow. He had hinted I needed a new pillow and I had told him no mine was fine. Even his mom was mad at him. Next was my birthday,  no gift, no card, no special dinner with a cake like my family always had done. He might have said happy birthday, I don’t remember, but I know we did have a discussion and his explanation was his family didn’t do much to celebrate birthdays. And Valentines day, forget it, the day didn’t exist to Dean.

When two people get married they bring many expectations from their upbringing to the union. More than once I have wished Dean was a little more romantic. But in a day and age when most marriages don’t last our commitment grows stronger.  We have learned over the years to work and focus on the positive. Dean has always been there working hard and providing for me and our family. He believed it was important for me to stay home with our children and I was blessed to be able to be a full time mom. And eventually he supported me in homeschooling our children. Dean is a planner and he always tried to make what ever we needed happen, and he usually succeeded. In time I was able to dial back my expectations for holidays and Dean, to my surprise, has tried to remember those special occasions that mean so much to me. Today we are headed towards celebrating 37 years of marriage.

Like most marriages, there have been times when it was hard to continue working on our marriage. But working through our struggles together and working to understand each other have made us even closer. The rewards for staying the course have been multiplied over and over again through the years. There is a comfort that comes with being with someone who knows you so well and growing older together. There is special blessing in watching your kids grow up and now grandchildren too. He has always been there for our kids when they need him. Over the years Dean has softened and even become a little more romantic. Dean loves our family and he knows how blessed we are to have them close and in our lives. I love watching him interact with our grandchildren. I am so grateful for him. Happy Valentines Day Dean!