Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bogarting the Kindle

When I bought my new Kindle, I knew there would be all sorts of uses for it that I had no idea of.
But I never ever thought it would be bogarted by Little Bird and Himself!
They sure had a good time with it.
Hmmmmm… what were they up to?
Ahh-ha!  Little Bird got her uncle into a game of ‘Dress the Mermaid’!
Not bad, Little Bird…not bad at all!
(There are quite a few free games like this available on Kindle that both of the kids enjoy.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fruit of the Vine

I love going to ‘pick your own’ gardens.  I’ve picked apples, peaches, berries of all sorts and while in Wisconsin I had the chance to go to a pick your own grape vineyard!  We went to Oakwood Fruit Farm in Richland Center, Wisconsin.
Look at all these Concord grapes!
Just beautiful! 
A perfect illustration of ‘bearing good fruit’.
We didn’t pick a lot since we didn’t have any place to store them.  But the few we did get were delicious. 
I wish I could get such close to home.  I’d love to try making my own grape jelly!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lake Walk

One of the little pleasures of living here at The Sticks are our walks down to the lake.  At the edge of our property is an abandoned railroad line…the rails and ties pulled out a long time ago.  It makes it an easy stroll thru the woods.
All along the way are flowers, interesting plants, and an occasional ‘critter’.
Tiny asters.  I love that shade of purpley blue.
Not sure what this is but aren’t the textures great?
Here’s a mystery plant.  Anyone know what it is?
Love these seeds on this tree. 
A moss covered turtle at the lake.
This water strider spider finally held still long enough for me to get a photo.
The beaver have been busy putting a dam across this little creek. 
Every time we take our walk there is some new we see, even after five years.  Can’t wait until we have the chance to walk down there with Little Bird and Little Hoss!  They’ll love it!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Maremma Guardian Dogs

On our second visit to Littledale B&B we found a pair of new residents… Maremma Sheepdogs.  They are not sheepdogs in the terms that they are herders; they are actually ‘livestock guardian dogs’.  Their job is to hang out with the livestock and protect them from predators. 

Other livestock guardian dogs include the Great Pyrenees and the Anatolian (“Bart” from the movie ‘Kate and Leopold’). 

Maremma come from a marshy region of central Italy where sheep are traditionally wintered.  They are big dogs… around 100 pounds and about 30” at the shoulder.  Their purpose is more to deter predators rather than to attack.  They do this using their size as an intimidation and a lot of barking.

An interesting tid-bit I found out is that in Australia they have been trained to protect a flock of endangered penguin.  It has been working well, allowing all species to co-exist. 

I really like the guardian breeds so I enjoyed being around this new breed.

Meet Benny:

And Pumba:

Benny supervising repairs.

There are two ways to get thru a gate…
…and under!
Maremma’s are one of the more social guardian dogs, so once they got used to me I had all the time I could want with them.
Benny looking for another ear scratch!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Decorative Chests Repurposed to Seasonal Shoe Storage

With my decluttering and organizing projects, I’m on the lookout for ways to store things using what I already have.  When we bought a new bed with a much lower frame I lost my underbed storage for my off season shoes. 

A light bulb in my head went off while I was dusting this little stack of chests in our bedroom.  They were empty… why not put shoes in them?

So I pulled out the boxes I’d stuffed shoes in and laid them out…
Not only did I find my winter shoes, I found a bunch of summer shoes I’d been looking for!  I also used the opportunity to purge a few pair that just didn’t suit me or were a bit too worn.
Now everything is neatly stored until it’s time to change over the season…which here in TN is after Thanksgiving.

Using the chests has freed up a lot of floor space in the guest room closet. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Returning to Littledale B&B

We’re just back from our annual fall “Pilgrimage” to visit family and friends in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  We started the trip with a stop in Missouri to see my family, and then got in the road to the North Lands.
Our first stop was a return to a Wisconsin B&B we’d stayed in four years ago ( ).  We had so enjoyed our overnight visit we always wanted to come back and spend more time.
Littledale isn’t your regular B&B.  It’s a working sheep farm owned by English couple Graham and Margaret Phillips. 
Even with the autumn slipping into winter, we completely enjoyed our longer stay of 3 nights.  The front garden was still lovely.
Breakfast was fun with the British touches Margaret adds, like this darling Scottish Blackface tea cozy. 
It kept the tea for my morning cuppa steaming hot to the end.  Himself opted for coffee.
Breakfast consisted of a bowl of fresh fruit, some banana bread, cereal was available, toast and homemade strawberry jam, with eggs provided by their hens plus sausage and bacon.
Littledale is out in the country and you are allowed to roam around the property.
The yard is lovely.  I absolutely love the gate (and its colors) that goes into the barnyard.
This old wagon wheel has been sitting here for a long time…
…a very long time.
Some of the barn cats on the crisp morning.
Racing about the yard were their Chinese Runner ducks.  They would run around the corner away from me… then back to see if I was still there… and back around the corner away – over and over again.
I think they should be called ‘Penguin Ducks’!
Frozen water barrel early in the morning.
If you wanted to range out a little farther there was no problem with it.  Just remember to shut the gates behind you.
There were all sorts of lovely things to see out in the pastures and woods,…
… like these birds on the fence.  I think they are gold finch in their winter feathers.
Round straw bales made a nice backdrop for these foxtails.
Wouldn’t a picnic under this tree be perfect?
I love birch mixed in with other trees.
Lots of rose brambles along the way.  I bet it is beautiful in the summer.
The sheep dotted various pastures along the walk.
And eventually you make it to the pens of the big boys.
They are pretty relaxed… just like we were during our stay at Littledale.
Littledale B&B, Richland Center, Wisconsin