LAZY DAY ON THE FARM – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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Garry doesn’t merely take pictures of animals. He chats them up. Amazingly, they chat back.

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Maybe it’s all those years as a reporter and they all want their 15 minutes — more like 30 seconds — of fame, but animals like Garry. Always have. From our afternoon on the farm, Garry’s portraits of deeply contented cows.

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For those of you wondering what those big yellow ear tags are: They are from the Department of Agriculture. They certify these cows are free of tuberculosis and other diseases so the farmer can sell unpasteurized milk. And indeed, the milk from this farm does not taste at all like grocery store milk. It tastes much better, even after most of the cream is gone.

You can see the Blackstone River in the background. The pasture lies along the banks of the river and there’s always a cooling breeze, even on the hottest afternoon.

WEEK 25 – ODDBALL PHOTOS ARE BACK!

CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE WEEK 25

This was a good week for oddball photographs. Lots of pictures that have no reason to exist except I just saw something and tried to capture it.

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Successful pound cake with copper kettle

My pound cakes came out well. Baking them was something of an accomplishment since I can’t remember the last time I made one. But Garry wanted pound cake. He said he would just go buy one. I said if he’d never had homemade pound cake, he’d never had pound cake at all. Now, I think he would agree.

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Collecting ingredients for the pound cakes triggered a trip to the farm around the corner to get fresh eggs. You need nine eggs for this recipe (some call for as many as a dozen) and I thought I’d like to use the best possible ingredients.

Eggs fresh from the hen

Eggs fresh from the hen

And while we were there, I bought some milk. Their milk is nothing like grocery store milk. It’s as thick with cream as half and half and you have to shake it to keep from skimming it.

Cows chatting in the pasture

Cows chatting in the pasture

Maybe it’s so good because these have to be the happiest cows in the world. They ooze contentment.

VISITING THE FARM

Garry wanted pound cake for which I needed eggs. Our half and half was going “off.” With pound cake, we obviously will want coffee, hence we need fresh half and half. I wanted new pictures; Garry needed a photo airing too.

We accomplished it in one fell swoop (click here for a history of fell swoop), merely by driving around the block.

fresh eggs at the farm

It’s a dairy farm. Milk, eggs. Sometimes local honey. Today they had homemade jams and organic lip balm. The eggs come from the chickens wandering around the yards and are often fertilized. The milk is from the happiest bunch of cows I’ve ever seen. They loll around the green pasture which lies along the Blackstone River.

farm an windmill

There are several pastures. The pasture further down the road has a small creek running through it. They take the cows there in very hot weather so they can wade in the cool stream and graze on the wildflowers and weeds along the banks. It’s shady there. The calves have a pasture of their own and graze together along a hillside on the other side of the barn.

The milk isn’t homogenized or pasteurized, which means it’s very close to half and half, but you have to shake it before using because the cream rises to the top.

cows in pasture on the farm

I splurged on a jar of homemade elderberry jam. They had fresh corn, but I don’t need corn today. Maybe I’ll go back Monday, get some corn then. We don’t eat a lot, so I try not to over-buy things that will spoil and end up getting thrown out.

elderberry jamAnd we got pictures. I haven’t downloaded most of them yet. These are the first batch.

Here’s my recipe for pound cake. I’ll be baking as soon as the butter softens.

  • 1 pound (3-1/3 cups) flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 sticks softened sweet butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the real thing)
  • 9 large eggs, lightly beaten.

It makes two cakes in standard loaf pans. I’ll freeze one. We will happily devour the other. I can feel my hips expanding as I write.

The elderberry jam is delicious. And 2 pound-cakes are baking in the oven. The smell is … wow.

BONNIE’S BEST BUD

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Bonnie, the totally scruffy Scottish Terrier got groomed today. She came home looking like a proper Scottie, wearing a very feminine floral scarf which though technically appropriate, is about as un-Bonnie as anything could be.

Bonnie, for a girl dog, is really a guy. She always was.

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There’s nothing girly about her. She’s tough and scrappy. A digger, a lover of dirt. She’ll take on anybody … well mostly … at least in play. She’s a very tough growly Scottie when she plays.

Here is our newly renovated girl, fresh from the groomer. Bonnie and her best bud Garry, on the deck.

GEESE ON THE RIVER BY Garry Armstrong

Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

These geese were not afraid of us, but they weren’t tame either. Nor were they “office park” geese who will boldly go where no goose has gone before. These were wild geese, willing to let us share space as long as we didn’t get too close.

We did our best to be stealthy. No door slamming, driving into the parking lot slowly, quietly. No talking. Getting the cameras out in the car, then walking softly, getting as close as we could without making the birds nervous. And having very long zoom lenses on our cameras!

THE GEESE WERE WAITING

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We got to the little park along the river at around three. A whole flock of Canada geese were waiting for us in the parking lot.

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Just gaggling around, being goosy. Garry spotted them and we went into stealth mode.

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Driving very slowly into the far end of the lot and not even closing the doors to the car. Shh!

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Tiptoeing around, we tried to convince the geese to hang around. They did for a while. Then, they conferred.  Discussed the matter between themselves.

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And off they went, down the river. But not before we got a few pictures. These are a few of mine.