Penny the Traveling Clothespin Doll shares her adventures at home and abroad.

All posts in Our Farm

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I haven’t been keeping up with this site much lately as my Dad has been pretty sick all winter, advancing from one problem to another.  We have all been pretty stressed, but praise the Lord, he is doing better and able to be up and about more than he has in months.  We are so thankful.  As the spring comes on we are glad to be drawing a deep breath and getting ready to tackle some outdoor jobs in the warm sunshine.

First, to play catch-up a bit, here are some shots of Penny all bundled up out in the barn helping to do chores this winter.  I didn’t realize that my camera battery was weak, so I apologize that the focus is a little fuzzy as the camera is dying.  But Penny sure did enjoy herself, and the animals were all pretty pleased to see her.  They do love attention!

 

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Here is the milking cow, drinking out of her water cup, all snug in the warm hay.  She provides us with all the rich milk we can drink, as well as the butter and cheese Mom makes.  Dad calls her Matilda.

Penny is checking the connections to be sure the water runs freely into the drinking cup when Matilda pushes the lever.  Yep, all is well here.

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“Weren’t you going to milk the cow?”  asks a thirsty kitten who is always on hand for milking.

 

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The young cow nearby says, “Don’t you have a pat for me?”

 

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After a petting, he gives Penny a big slobbery kiss, “Thank you my friend!”

 

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Down at the other end of the barn the two affectionate donkeys, Claryce and Dinklepuss, await their turn to be scratched and petted.

 

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“Hello? hello!” says little Goatly, “don’t forget about me!  Were you handing out treats, by any chance?”  Her favorite treat is a soft apple from our basement apple bin.

 

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No treats for you this morning, but here is grain for the alpacas.

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Fritz likes a soft bed in the hay and sunshine.  Penny rests with him a moment.

 

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“What a big, wet nose you have, little calf!!  Be careful, I’m not wearing a raincoat!!”

 

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Little wet kisses.

 

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A furry soft Silkie hen sits comfortably on her perch.

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Here’s a little snack for the others.

 

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A beautiful sunset picture over the farm. So peaceful.

Thank you, Lord, for critters, we sure do enjoy their personalities and friendliness.

I love life in the country!

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Wishing a Blessed Thanksgiving to everyone, I’d like to take you around the farm to view some very autumn pictures.  This is such a beautiful time of year and pretty shots are everywhere, especially on this frosty morning.

 

This old cultivator is a pretty work of art this morning, also a pretty chilly place to sit!

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Find Penny in the firewood pile.  All sorts of crevices to explore.

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A close up of the delicate details.

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An icy edged puddle.

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Oh look!  Deer tracks!!  Can you tell if this one had a big rack?

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Pretty autumn rose hips.

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And gorgeous pumpkins too!

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These thoughts are from the book “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, from the entries for Nov. 24, and 25.

“Thankfulness opens your heart to My Presence and your mind to My thoughts…  This Light of My Presence removes the sting from adversity…  There is an element of mystery in this transaction:  You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances)…  Those who obey Me in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain.”

Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
– Ephesians 5:20

“Thank Me in every situation…  When your mind is occupied with thanking Me, you have no time for worrying or complaining.  If you practice thankfulness consistently, negative thought patterns will gradually grow weaker and weaker.  Draw near to Me with a thankful heart, and My Presence will fill you with Joy and Peace.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   – Romans 15:13

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I like this tree branch that has so much character, and the color of the leaves behind it.  A pleasant place to sit, swing your feet and sing a thankful little song.

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Up in the barn is such a cozy place, full of hay and rustic old beams.

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The sun sets behind the hedgerow, silhouetting this trio of trees.

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Time to spend the evenings sitting by the woodstove knitting a warm afghan.

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Our friend Kitty hand-stitched this cozy comfy new bed for Penny to relax on.

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Penny enjoys an evening cuddled up under her new afghan with a good book.  Nice and snoozy….

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Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;  his love endures forever.  – Psalm 118:1

 


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Anybody want a little slice of pie?

Penny was thinking of pie when she saw all these berries growing ripe.

 

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Juicy black caps!! Yummy!!

 

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Such a beautiful summer afternoon.  Can you hear the birds and insects singing?

 

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Taking a break sitting on the fence, admiring the flowers.

 

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Becky keeps on working…

 

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 Glorious rays of sunshine.

 

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Fritz delights in mud, see that grin?

 

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 We found yet another patch.

 

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Wow, Penny, your bucket is full already?

You beat me!

 

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Letting the chicken enjoy a sample.  See her drippy beak?

 

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And now to work in the kitchen at making the pie crust…

In the background are shining jars of cherry pie filling that Abby canned.

 

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Lets make three pies so there will be some to share.

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We added sugar and cornstarch to the berries, and Penny carefully spooned it into the pie shells.

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When the pies were baked, it was time to invite some friends and have a picnic!

 

 

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So glad you all could come.

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Big smile after licking her lips.

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There is plenty more, have another slice?

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Oh, so yummy!

“Hand me a fork!”

 

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We had such a treat recently when Mom found this beautiful cecropia moth on one of our apple trees.  They are familiar to us because Abby has a hobby of collecting moth cocoons and hatching them in her window.

This is the Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) and is North America’s largest native moth and can have a wingspan of six inches or more.  I didn’t think to measure this one, too bad.

She had just emerged from her cocoon, a tough fibery home where she spent the winter.  June is the month of moths, and time for her to emerge.  An apple tree was a good choice to winter near, because when her offspring are born they will feed here on leaves they like.  I looked around but was unable to find her cocoon as it was well camouflaged. 

When these moths emerge from their cocoons in the morning, the wings are small and wet and hard to distinguish.  When she finds a good resting place, she will begin to work her wings around to stretch them and enable the blood to pump into them.  As she does this, the wings will gradually spread to their full size and dry out.  She will rest a bit, then work her wings around some more til they are in full display – so beautiful!

 

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Yes, this moth is bigger than Penny!  Look at the amazing design of those wings!!

“This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Here is a close up of the body and red furry legs.   Notice the fern-like antennae.

 

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These scales on the wings are like fuzzy hairs.

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Here’s looking at you!

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Those eyes are compound eyes, made up of many hexagon lenses, that all collect light for seeing.

The antennae are the radars that detect scents and gather information about her world.  They also are used for balance and for orienting her when she flies.

Can you see her mouth?  Butterflies have a tube that curls out to drink nectar like a straw.  But these moths have no mouthparts and do not feed, as she will only live about two weeks, long enough to mate and lay eggs.

 

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Penny is enjoying her perch so near the moth and seeing her spread, then fold her wings.  It was windy that day too, so the wings were fluttering in the wind at times.

 

 

The next day I checked and there she was yet, now with a mate!

After the female is out of her cocoon and her wings are dry and full, she will produce a scent called pheromone.  A male moth can detect that scent from miles away.  Amazing.  You will notice that his antennae are much larger and finely “feathered”.

 

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The female cecropia will lay more than one hundred eggs.   She will lay them in small groups on the underside of leaves that will be food for the little ones when they emerge.  She will fly a short distance to lay others so they will not all be too near.  The caterpillars will hatch in one to two weeks, they will be black and tiny as a mosquito.  There are so many because they will not all live to grow up.  As they grow the caterpillars change from black to yellow to green, and when they are five inches long, fully grown, it will be time for them to spin their cocoon and continue the life cycle of the adult moth next spring.

 

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And they sing, saying,   
Great and marvellous are thy works,
Lord God Almighty;
just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 
Who shall not fear thee,  O Lord, and glorify thy name?
for thou only art holy: 
for all nations shall come and worship before thee;
for thy judgments are made manifest.” 
Revelation 15:3,4
 
 
 
 

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 This is Snufflesworth, my white alpaca. 

Below are his buddies…

 

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 Zorro is the black, shy little fellow;  Norman is the pretty brown alpaca who thinks he is boss.

Little Goatly is really in charge.  She is a full grown Nigerian Dwarf / Pygmy cross.

 Here she is checking Penny out.

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 Zorro has a full coat of very fine alpaca hair.  He once won ribbons in show.

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 Here, Norman’s teeth are sticking out of his cute teddy bear face.   When alpaca’s chew, their lower jaw rotates in a figure 8, the upper lip is divided in the center, and the left or right lip can move separately.   We found them quite hilarious to watch when we first got these unusual creatures.

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 Their coats are full and soft, after a full year’s growth.  Now its May and that means shearing time!!

 

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 Here Penny is feeding comfery herb to them,  Little Goatly must get her share first.

 

Norman loves his bathtub.  Here is a series of pictures showing how he first splashes in the water, then sits in it, then squeezes his whole body into the tub, till the water nearly overflows!  Such a funny sight!  Kind of like a big soft teddy bear squeezed into a tea cup.

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 There is a shearing crew that travels about to the alpaca farms for the big event of Shearing Day.  Since we only have 3 alpacas, we load them into a trailer and haul them to a nearby farm to wait their turn to get sheared.  This style of shearing uses a mat and bungy cords to hold out the animal’s legs so they can be easily rolled over in a smooth and comfortable way.  These young men really know what they are doing and are very quick about their job!DSCN2675

 

 After our alpacas were loaded up from our farm and headed away down the driveway, poor Little Goatly wandered all around the farm bleating, looking for her missing companions.  Here she is in the driveway, on the saddest day of her life.  So forlorn.

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Notice in this video as they shear, that the hair is separated into bags, 1st is the best hair, called the blanket fleece.  In the bag labeled #2 is seconds, from the neck and legs.  Thirds are the scraps of odd leftover hair.

 

 

 

 And here is the result —

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 That’s Amadu, our friend, holding a scrawny, shrunken alpaca!!

 

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 Home again, safe in their favorite pasture! 

The goat eagerly sniffs them over to see if she can figure out what happened to her fuzzy friends!

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 You just gotta laugh when you see them after such an immense transformation!

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Once at home in their pasture, the alpacas like to roll in the grass,  giving themselves a rubdown that feels delightful.  Then they stretch out in the sun and soak up some warmth!  And so the hair will grow til next year when shearing time rolls around again.  Now is time for me to wash, card and spin the fleece into yarn!

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