Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wolf Moon: The First Full Moon of the Year

Last night was the first full moon of the new year, this is also called a wolf moon. Had no idea until yesterday. It was so bright out at night that I captured these shots with the lens open a bit longer, but not as long as one would think. It was that bright! The first photo was taken from inside the barn looking out the back doors. Later that night I saw a fox run through the pasture, again it was that bright. He was not wearing a suit nor was he standing on his hind legs like Fantastic Mr. Fox. I can't imagine that he wasn't cold!
The lack of cloud cover has made for the coldest temps of the year so far-battling freezing water buckets in the barn. Oh, oh yea, by the way Wilco is now in the house! More on that to come...

Traveler Playing in the Snow

This video is from a couple winters ago but I thought you would enjoy it's -7 degrees F outside.  Here's to enjoying the winter as much as Traveler does!  Quality of the video isn't the greatest as I took it on a small hand held camera but it's still a lot of fun!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Our New Dining Room Table (aka "The Big Lebowski")

So here are some photos of our dining room table. It is an ~ 8 ft X 4 ft section of a bowling alley lane that we purchased from Buffalo ReUse (aka the ReSource). This store was recently featured on ABC's Extreme Home Makeover that took place in Buffalo. The store is amazing as they take parts of old houses, etc and re-sell/recycle them so that the don't end up in the landfill and in doing so they are preserving history! We are not talking junk here folks, they have some serious pieces there, and a warehouse full of treasure just waiting to be part of your home. It's true, they don't make things like they used to. Go there, you will find that out first hand.
Anyway, my Dad put a frame underneath it and attached legs that we also bought there. He did a fantastic job! The legs are former pillars from a front porch of a house. The section of lane came from a bowling alley on Seneca St in Buffalo.
The thing, if I wagered a guess, has to weigh at least 400 pounds so we have named it "The Big Lebowski" after one of our favorite movies, the cult classic, of the same title starring Jeff Bridges as "The Dude", Jeff Lebowski. No not that Jeff Lebowski, the other Jeff Lebowski. Side note on Jeff Bridges, he is an amazing photographer and has chronicled most of the films he has worked on and has a vast web-site of many things, including his gorgeous photos. He lives a very full life. Check him out!
Took some photos of the table today set for a dinner party. And a photo of the signed photo of "The Dude" that Todd and Jenna bought for Sarah, along with a matchbook from a bowling alley in California, circa the 50's, on eBay...where else?! We are going with the bowling alley theme for the dining room, a subtle theme, as subtle as a 400 pound bowling alley table can be! Thanks Dad, you did an amazing job and this table will now live on in our family forever!
"The Dude"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Animals Photo Booth Image

The idea that my mom had for this design is to take images that might be kind of silly, not all, but some, as if the animals (from left: Traveler, Morgan, Czar) were in a photo booth.  This appears on the back of one of the t-shirts that she designed for us.  Thanks again for the great designs!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Patch Design for Czar of the Woods Farm

Thanks to my brother Todd for designing this incredibly cool, very "boy-scoutian" patch for the farm!  I like the idea of having multiple looks for the "image" of the farm.  Much like some of my favorite bands have a design concept for each album or concert poster and take great, thoughtful care in each and every element of the design.  While each look is different from the next the common thread is the band, in this case it is the farm.  This would look really nice on a winter hat or flag.  I have often thought about putting a flag pole on the property with the American flag, the main farm logo flag, this as another and the family coat of arms which Todd also designed.  
My mom has also been working on some amazing t-shirts for us too with the main logo on the chest and variations of it on the back.  One of my favorites has images of Traveler, Czar and Morgan in "photo booth" style photos.  It's pretty great.  Will post an image of this once I get the file.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen...WILCO!

So this is our new barn cat, Wilco! He is a complete love! His favorite spot is in his "crow's nest" so he can watch what's going on. What a wonderful addition to the family!

"Roger, Wilco!" "Over and Out!"

Beautiful Saturday at Czar of the Woods Farm!

Traveler and I just got back from a walk around the property to decide and plan where we are going to put the trees that we will be planting in the spring.  We will be ordering them through the Erie County Tree and Shrub Conservation Program, I highly recommend it.  Cheap, and lots to choose from.
Anyway, it's a beautiful, sunny, warm-ish day here.  The horses are out sun bathing, Morgan is probably sleeping but I am going to go wake her up for some exercise.  And, oh yea, we have a barn cat!  His name is Wilco! He is a love!  Orange and solid and full of love!  He came into my work as a stray and he is doing great!  Will post photos of him as soon as I take them.  Wilco is the first fella cat to join the harem, although the girls are indoor only.  We'll probably get him a friend for the barn at some point.

Look you don't miss beautiful scenes like this.  I have always been fascinated by jet streams and planes in general.  There are theories out there that jet streams are the result of material added to a plane's fuel so as to help reflect the sun's rays away from the earth, resulting in less global warming.  Kind of neat.  So far away and I know the people inside are the same size as I am but I can't help but think that they are small.  Always wonder where they are headed as well.  Everyone has a story.
View from the back corner of the property...I have taken this shot in 2 different seasons now, fall and winter.  Can't wait for the others!
Traveler and I just got back from a walk around the property...there he is over my right shoulder.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Morgan Sophia Beasley Home At Last...or Horses DO NOT Like Pigs!

So we picked up Morgan Sophia Beasley at the SPCA today.  It was quite the event!  We tried to entice MSB into the crate with treats but she would have none of that.  Unfortunately it came down to cornering her and pushing her.  She would have none of that either as it was like trying to push a parked car or concrete wall!  Eventually we got her in and she was vocal on the ride home, not stressed but talkative-alternating between her cute duck-like squeaks, some grunting and snorting.  
After carrying the VERY HEAVY crate to the barn we were greeted by Czar and Midnight who were not thrilled about the squealing box that was being carried past them.  Their nostrils flared and they too snorted as they were freaked out!  Morgan now did not want to come out of her carrier as she was in head first so she had to be pulled out.  More squealing ensued and the horses were really amped up now.  Within 5 minutes she was eating her dinner and exploring.  The horses needed some serious calming down.  We eventually brought her out into the aisle so that they could see what, for all they knew, was going to kill them.  It wasn't a cougar or a Wookalar after all and they eventually calmed down.
Morgan ate some treats, explored, rooted around in her straw bed, tested out her new pink fleece baby blanket (covered in puppies) and fell asleep as though nothing had happened.  
Thanks to the Erie County SPCA for taking care of her for the past year and a half and to Patti for processing the adoption and to both her and Reanna (SP?) for seeing her off to her new forever home!

Crate awaiting Morgan's exit into her new home...
The signs that I designed for Morgan's stall and all the other animal's stalls as well:
Morgan exploring for the first time...

Million Dollar smile!

A pig after her new dad's heart...eating dinner...within 5 minutes of arrival!

in bed...

 Sarah watching Morgan give her new blanket a test ride

Fast asleep in her pile of straw covered in a blanket.  We may join her!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Introducing the Newest Member of the Family at Czar of the Woods Farm

With a face that only a mother could love, and us of course, we are happy to introduce to you Morgan Sophia Beasley! Morgan is an 8 year old Vietnamese Miniature Pot Bellied Pig that we adopted from the SPCA. While there were several to choose from we chose her because of her sweet disposition and because she has been at the SPCA for a year and a half and she too deserves a chance at finding a forever home! She will be joining Czar and Midnight aka "the boys" in the barn. Surprisingly they (pot bellied pigs) do pretty well in the winter, although she too is looking foward to summer I'm sure. We are looking forward to her joining the crew on Thursday once we have her space all set up and cozy. Welcome home MSB!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Animal Report from the guest writer Clementine

Hi everyone!
Just wanted to tell you some things about the new house.  We love it!  Mom and Dad kept us in the bedroom for 1 week and while it was cozy we started to think boy this is a little too "cozy" if you know what I mean.  On the day after Christmas they opened the doors and we never looked back.  I didn't anyway!  Neither did Boysenberry.  She found the same spot on the same couch that she loved at the old house.  Kate explored and found the couch next to Dad.  Elephant came out to explore more quickly than i expected.  Ruby was in and out of the bedroom.  Luna took her time. Little by little Mom and Dad would find Luna in the family room exploring with the look of getting caught on her face!
Today I am happy to report that we are all acclimating so very well and love the new place.  It's so cozy.  Love the fireplace!  We are all finding are favorite spots and are back into our routines (and making new ones).  At night we typically come back to the bedroom so we can all "sleep in a pile."  
Today we watched Dad knock BIG icicles off the house!  Mom slept a lot because she isn't feeling well today.  We're okay with sleeping.
I am also very happy to report that Traveler is 100% back to health after recovering from what was confirmed today as leptospirosis.  I heard that Dad said at work when he found out: "that was one expensive bastard of a bacteria!"  We're all happy that our big brother is feeling better!

I dreamt of horses...

I wrote this in 2001...they do come true.

#76 horses

i dream of horses,

of waking up early, for them.

the smell of their heat

as only the morning would allow.

Czar loving a good roll in the snow!
Midnight on the left and Czar on the right checking me out.  

Model for Winter

window to the barn...
yours truly...
and a cool shot of the barn light during the snow...

I have to say that I haven't been enjoying winter all that much for the past few years.  Apparently winter isn't as much fun when adulthood sets in.  While as a kid snow used to mean forts, street hockey, snow days, etc; snow now means snowblowing, driving to work when others have snow days and more snowblowing...and yes getting stuck here and there occasionally.  No one prepares you for this that's for sure.  
I wasn't sure what to expect out of winter at the new house.  Sure it's only 6 minutes from our old house but it is decidedly more country for sure.  Throw in learning how to take care of 2 horses in sub-freezing temps and I thought it would be a nightmare.  Well, no one prepared me for this either.  I am loving winter out here!  It is incredibly cozy with the snow falling so quietly and all the animals content and cozy.  
Not sure if it is this storm either but there has been no wind.  At the Girard house the wind would blow you down like a freight train.  An hour after snowblowing the drive the wind would blow drifts over the drive and it looked like planet Hoth in no time.  It was scary.  Here, so far, there is no wind.  Perhaps it is the woods surrounding the house and the manner in which the property is laid out.  Either way it's great.  
We love it here!
Let it snow!

I wrote this in is quite appropriate for the snow that has quietly been falling for the past week with temps hanging out in the single digits.

#88 model for winter

this storm has no memory,

it goes on without purpose,

as though it forgot why it started in the first place.

it is total.

“it was evening all afternoon,”

for a whole week straight.

this is the second half of another poem that i wrote a long time ago, also very appropriate:  it's named quiet enough to hear.

...the snow, again fell so effortlessly.

at that moment everything was paused, frozen in more ways than one, yes, paused.

snowfall brings with it silence, a silence like no other.

nothing moves at times like this.

summer nights have a rhythm to them,

winter nights are a deep breath in no hurry to exhale.

the jets overhead arc out of earshot and silence returns.

quietly the world sleeps as nature wills itself on,

all the while i stand quietly so as not to disturb.

i remember winter nights like this when i was a kid,

outside building snow forts with dad and todd, mom inside with warmth, waiting.

the ubiquity and beauty of snow is as always,

quiet enough to hear.

  for the listener, who listens in the snow,

and, nothing himself, beholds

nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

-an excerpt from the snowman by wallace stevens