Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Vlog for a Rainy Day

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An Oldie, But Goodie: Applejack Cake!

I’ve been baking my father’s apple cake recipe and adding my own little experiments with it. I think this one takes the prize, try it this weekend, you won’t regret it.

Jackapple cake

3 large farm eggs
2 ¾ cup flour
3 large apples (go with braeburn or gala, if you get fuji use 4)
No red delicious apples, bake like garbage
¼ cup fresh press cider
2 cups sugar
¼ cup honey, heated
1 stick butter (half melted)
1 ¾ cup vegetable oil
Tablespoon vanilla extract
Tablespoon baking powder

Peel and dice apples and place in a large bowl with 1 ½ cups sugar (set aside other half cup for topping), sprinkle over them a light coating of cinnamon, and mix into a cobbler, then dribble warm honey over and mix that in as well. Set in fridge for 2 hours to let cure. Do not skip this step. When apples are cured, add all wet ingredients (half melted stick off butter, eggs, oil, extract) and mix with large wooden spoon.

Next, add in tablespoon of baking powder. Add flour half a cup at a time and stir batter more than you think you need too. Batter will seem wet and yellow. Good. Pour into greased cake pan. Now melt other half stick of butter, add to it the sugar and some cinnamon and mix them into a wet paste. Use a pastry brush to lather it over the batter, making a sugar crust to bake into the cake. Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes. Check after 27, when knife comes out clean it’s done. Serve warm with stove-top cider. Add bourbon to it if your nasty.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


When people meet Gibson for the first time they often comment on how calm he is, and how they never met a Border Collie so gentle and reserved. Gibson has plenty of rocket power but around people (and when he is with me, in general) he is a mushy, lovable, calm dog. He is the only dog that is allowed to come to our Tae Kwon Do Dojang anytime he wants. Why? Because all he does is sleep in the waiting room and greet the UPS guy. He listens to me like a roommate, keeps me warm at night, hugs, adores, obeys, works his rump off. I couldn't ask for more in a farm dog. To wake up and know that the dog by your side is already watching the flock from the upstairs window, is at your hip as you greet the day, and if a ewe breaks through the electric fence and takes off for the chicken feeder - he is at her like a bolt of lightning. Just this morning Gibson got the new black Romney ewe back with the flock after her rogue antics. Then he came inside, and fell asleep at my feet while I wrote an essay for a magazine. He was silent and calm for hours while I earned some money for a winter issue of an upstate New York quarterly and only when I asked him to look out the window to check on the sheep did he stir. He is canine perfection. He even smells good. And every night he is curled beside me and lets me fall asleep holding him.

Friday, however...

Friday is heading towards six months old and is NOTHING like Gibson. She is faster, more violent, more erractic. She is constant energy. She is the total opposite of Gibson. If he is a rock she is the ocean. In a week she starts learning sheepwork under the mentorship of the wonderful Jim McCrae of Vermont. I am curious to see how she does with some gentle ewes because for all her brazen ways she is a total coward once anything gets slightly uncomfortable. Think of a trash talking softball player who doesn't actually want to fight because she is 5'2" and 90lbs... that is Friday. She's small and feisty but once something gets her nervous the tail goes between the legs. I found this out by doing everyday things like dragging the garbage cans to the road for the waste company. The rattle and fuss made her run to the front door. Same if I use the hand-pulled farm cart to move hay bales or feed sacks... she hightails it away from the noise. Yet if a car pulls into the drive she barks bloody murder...

Dogs, like us, are all different. Right now I have two opposites and I am learning to share my life with them. I share all this just in observation, as I don't want a second Gibson out of Friday. I want her to be her and teach me more about this breed and their crazy dance.

Eggs & Goat Sex

The eggs are back! I am so glad to report that after a few months of very little egg production the girls at this farm are laying like gangbusters! I have a mixture of "homebrewed" chickens from jungle fowl stock based out of Common Sense Farm, as well as some traditional hatchery chicks like Buff Orpingtons, Ameraucanas, Barred Rocks, and Wyandottes. About a half dozen eggs a day have been discovered in a nest behind the hay bales in the barn. There are of course nesting boxes on the walls and a whole chicken coop they are failing to lay eggs in, but this isn't about my druthers, this is about omelets!

In other news, this farm needs a buck. For years I have either borrowed a buck from Common Sense Farm (where my goats hail from) or brought my girls to their gents when breeding season came around. But that farm sold all their stock because they are getting into Nubians instead of Alpines and so far have no goats besides one very little buckling. So I am on the hunt to buy, borrow, rent, or adopt a buck that can do the job of kids and milk pails for next summer. If anyone in the Veryork area has a buck for hire (Alpines are my preference) please let me know? I could keep milking the girls through the winter but both they and I prefer to go a few months without. Plus, there is nothing cuter than goat kids!

The Washington County Fiber Festival is going on now and I wish I could attend but it's just too much temptation. That much yarn for sale on a chilly morning means total lack of self control. I will buy yarn. I will knit by the woodstove. Two things I love to do but when you got article, logo, and writing deadlines a woman has to draw some lines in the sand. I wish all the local producers well and hope sales are huge! And speaking of sheep, I want to congratulate Patty and Mark Wesner who just had six lambs butchered at their place and have six gorgeous fleeces drying in their barn to be tanned! This is her second year raising sheep over the summer (feeder lambs) and they have doubled their production from year one! She sells the lamb and the fleeces, and friends and locals will be feasting on some very special meals this year from Livingston Brook Farm.

Right now my sheep are starting to breed, or rather, Monday is starting to try. Merlin tolerates all this going on around him with style. (At least a lot more style than I would if you dropped me in the middle of a field during an orgy.) But I have been riding him more than I had in August and every time I sit in that saddle it is impossible to worry about mortgages or bills. Something about horses takes all that away for me. I am grateful for it.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Upcoming Events at Cold Antler Farm!

Here is a list of workshops planned for the weeks and months ahead. Workshops are a fun, comfortable, and beginner-friendly environment to learn new skills, meet like-minded people, and support my work here as a writer/blogger/small farmer. You can pay per event or if you live relatively close you can buy a season pass, which costs the price of two and a half workshops paid up front for a whole year! Email me at to sign up for a season pass or any workshop at all!

Most workshops cost $100. Special events like weekend-long camps or other events with instruments or gear cost more ($350). They are nonrefundable, however you can always use a missed workshop credit towards any other farm event, forever.

Indie Days!
These are personal workshops, private and full of one-on-one skill teaching time in everything from setting up a sheep fence to learning the fiddle. They are twice the price of a normal workshop but ten times the focus and attention.

Columbus Day Weekend 
Friday Night, Saturday, and Sunday!

This is the biggest event of the year! A small two-day homesteading festival with speakers, authors, demonstrations, workshops, talks and events such as beginner's archery and soap making as well as traditional woodsman skills and primitive crafts. In the past trees have been felled, draft horses had moved logs, axes thrown at targets, herbalism tinctured, sourdough bred started, bees and beer and more discussed! It's a great way to meet people and learn a lot!

All Hallow's Eve Farm Writers Workshop
October 31st 2015
10AM - 4PM

Come to Cold Antler Farm on Halloween for a very special workshop dedicated to talking about writing. Have you toyed with the idea of writing as a profession? Do you want to learn more about getting your work in print or how I went about publishing my own books? (I have gone through traditional publishers and am currently writing a book to be self-published.) Do you have writing you want to share with others, dreams of working from home on your own farm and making an income from writing at home? This is a workshop that will cover the freelance life as a small farmer. It will cover my personal experiences, successes, break downs, low points, high points, books, and what goes into a life this feral on a mountainside.

Meat Rabbit 101
Nov. 14th 2015
10AM - 4PM

Taught here at Cold Antler as well as the lovely Livingston Brook Farm. This is a beginner's guide to what goes into raising safe and happy meat right at home in the form of meat rabbits! It's a whole day to learn all there is to know about raising, breeding, housing and butchering (and cooking) rabbit from your own backyard. Price is $100, or use your season pass! Season passes are still on sale, by the way and include big events like Antlerstock 2015! Consider one!

Winter Finding Wool Day
Dec 5th 2015
10AM - 4PM

This is a workshop dedicated to the basics of working wool. The class starts with a sheep in the field, learning the basics of wool breeds vs meat sheep (both are here on the farm) and what goes into raising a homestead flock for wool. We will sheer a little wool off a sheep bring it inside to process and talk all things fiber! Learn how to wash and prepare wool for spinning by hand using traditional tools like carders and a drop spindle. Try a spinning wheel out and see how it feels to move the roving through your hands and turn it into the beginnings of a hat or sweater. There will also be knitting lessons if you have never learned, and everyone who attends gets a set of needles as a thank you to take home with some hand spun CAF wool from a sheep you just pat on the head hours before!

NOTICE: Workshops are non-refundable for any reason. However, if weather or illness prevents you from attending, your credit is good as long as I am hosting workshops here so no money goes to waste!

Friday, September 25, 2015

New Vlog: I Got a Pig Drunk.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Roasts & Wool Hats!

Wanted to share some photos from today at the farm. It's early fall and the trees are starting to change and the light is growing tired. The garden has sent forth quite the nice butternut harvest and the pigs are out in the woods enjoying new "pasture" in the woodlot and snooting through the dirt. The two ewes are new additions to the farm! They are here to be bred for the spring, and have some lovely romney/merino cross wool to hopefully be turned into yarn. It's encouraging to see this little piece of land hosting these future roasted squashes, pork feasts, and wool hats while they are on the vine and hoof. To some people, this looks like a lot of work. To me it looks like a lot of safe.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lantern Morning

It's been cool enough at night to not need the fan in my bedroom window, and that fact only matters because this morning there was nothing to drone out the sound of a chicken in distress. Myself and the two border collies all shot up in bed at the screech of a bird being hassled (Annie the husky could care less, and kept sleeping) and within moments Gibson and I were outside with a lantern. We got to the chicken tractors in time and saw them all fussed and huddled but saw no signs of injury and counted no losses. Looks like the raccoons are back...

Good morning! It's 5:30 and I've been up for about an hour. Coffee is on and I am waiting for daylight before taking on the morning chores. The sun is just coming over the mountain, just slightly, and if I time things right I will be able to watch that gorgeous scene with a mug of hot mud and my heroes by my side, the farm dogs of Cold Antler Farm. I'll raise the mug to them. (And make a mental note to set the trap with some wet cat food for Rocket).

A few nights ago I was up at Midnight, and had stayed up on purpose in case the Northern Lights touched down. I have never seen them and a friend who is a little more up and up on celestial goings on explained to me that that night around midnight, there was a chance of seeing them in New York. I stood out there under the stars, searching up for a long while, but they never arrived. I headed back inside to my warm bed and house and felt lucky anyway. I didn't see the Big Show but I did just spend the evening with two close friends at the new straw bale home she had just finished building, a house whose beams I helped raise myself. We had a feast of bacon-coated meat loaf, veggies, and local beer and talked for hours. Then we sat in her wood-fired hot tub and watched falling stars. That is one hell of a night for me and the fact it didn't end with a light show did not diminish it.

In a few moments another light show is about to start, the sunrise. And not only will I have hot coffee I have the satisfaction of a flock of birds safe and whole, a day of good work ahead, and a horse who I think I'll tack up and take for a ride before heading off farm to help some friends out for a few hours with their project. There's a lot of good here, and a lot to look forward to with Antlerstock just around the corner! I can't believe it is Almost October...

The important part isn't to see the Northern Lights. That's just icing on the cake. The important part is keep looking up.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

When Sheep Escape!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lost Souls and Reverie

Friday, September 18, 2015

Early to Rise (Usually!)

My regular wake up time is around 5:45 AM. That gives me enough time right now before daylight (the start of morning chores with the animals) to let out the dogs, feed the cats, stretch, make coffee, and sit down to emails, writing and graphic design work for an hour or so before full light and the animals are ready for their breakfasts (usually around 7AM). This morning I did just that, like usual, and have had a pretty productive morning. I'm working on a logo for a fiber farm, send a food truck final design files, and sent updates to two other clients as well as the delightful balance that is moving chicken tractors to fresh grass, having Gibson move the sheep from the horse paddock to their own pen, and the usual pig sloppin' and water haulin' that is my morning workout. Here I am with coffee at 7:30 and the farm is quiet. It's that special quiet that people who raise livestock come to savor like a sip of good brandy. Right now, all is well.

And then there are mornings like yesterday...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Vlog: What Should I Do?

I'm coming out of my cage

Yesterday I was out on a seven-mile run. That's the farthest I have ran this summer, and have never felt the need to run farther. Honestly, I just don't have the time. I run slow and steady and to handle the twists, turns, hills and heat it takes me nearly an hour and 45 minutes to run that much. It's still a hell of an accomplishment for me. Back in June I remember thinking three miles was a long run. Three miles today doesn't even break a sweat.

I play this game with the falling leaves when I am out there pumping away. The leaves are just starting to fall here and everyone that does is a reminder to get myself and the farm safe going into winter. When one falls I try to race it. If I can run past it before it hits the ground I consider it a little prayer and luck earned. Praying for what, exactly? Well, for luck in making sales, for securing firewood, for catching up on the mortgage so that creepy red SUV from the bank stops driving by to take pictures...

So far I have secured hay in several locations and have two cords of firewood on order for delivery by October 1. I got the plumbing fixed here and made a mortgage payment last week. I hope to make another one by Friday. In a perfect world I'd have a big book deal and go into fall with everything settled by now, and maybe I will score one. My agent is on it!

So I was out on my run, racing leaves, and planning to head home. I hit the 3.5 mile mark and was going to turn back when the opening guitar riff to Mr. Brightside came on the ol' ipod nano. I defy you to not keep running to a song like that. So I kept going and it wasn't long before I arrived at the Shushan Bridge. It's one of those old bridges that is all metal with big grates and you can see directly under you, 50+ feet below, to a now very shallow Battenkill river. I'm terrified of heights (well,  not really, but I do dread falling to my death) and so I was thinking of turning back and not running into the heart of town where the traintracks would make it a solid 4 mile outrun. I stood before the big open grates and realized I couldn't run because I might get my foot stuck in them. It amazes me how many excuses I make up to not do something scary. But the chorus was coming on so I sacked up and went for it. If you were in Shushan yesterday you would have seen a chubby gal with hands out like she was on a tightrope singing at the top of her lungs:

Jealousy, turning saints into the sea! 
Swimming through sick lullabies! 
Choking on your alibis! 
But it's just the price I pay....!

I got across that bridge thanks to a kickass bridge and felt a couple inches taller on the other side. Do something every day that scares you, right? And so I ended up breaking a new distance record. Considering when I first ran up my mountain I threw up, that's pretty awesome.

So that's what this post is about: keeping on. Keeping up the running and the diet. Keep getting healthier. Keep the farm in my name. Keep pushing. Keep singing. Keep being scared. I'm spending today working on logos and editing/rewriting the ending of Birchthorn and hopefully the gang at Common Sense will deliver hay so I have a small stash started.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tell me

What do you want to know about me?

Friday, September 11, 2015

New Vlog! 5 Products I Depend On!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Best Way to Roast Pork!

Too many of us think of bacon, ham, boneless chops, or sausage when we think of eating pigs. I love all those cuts and smokings but my FAVORITE way to eat pork is so simple and so delicious its ridiculous food this good can literally take 5 minutes to prepare in advance. So here is my recipe for the perfect BQ Boston Butt and all you need are the following:

2-3lb Boston Butt Roast
(It will taste better if pastured/local pork)

1/2 cup of honey

1 bottle of hard cider

1 bottle of any BBQ sauce

3-4 apples

All you need to do is defrost the roast in the sink or fridge, and when the meat is thawed just set it in any crock pot or baking dish. Pour a standard 12oz bottle of hard cider over the meat. Then drizzle honey over it. Last, glob on half a bottle of bbq sauce. That's it. You can either set the crock pot on low heat all day while you go to work or you can set it in the oven at 275 for a long, slow, low cook.

I let my 2.5 lb roast sit there from 1pm until 6pm. Every once in a while I would flip it so the fats would cook and drip over the meat evenly but this isn't a concern in a standard 4-to-6-quart slow cooker. An hour before I want to serve it I pull it out of the oven and repeat the cider/honey/sauce treatment at about half the amount of the first dose. Then I cut up the apples into chunks and cover the meat and side juices with the slices and set it in the over to bake at the slightly higher 325. This turns those apples into such a soft sauce that perfectly melds with the pork and honey and goo.

Once apples are soft all you need to do is cut and serve. The apples should be a gooey sauce and the meat falling off the bone and dyed a slight red from the BBQ sauce. Eat each bite of meat with the cooked apple and enjoy each bite! This is how pork was meant to be served in the fall!

Come Learn the Fiddle Saturday!

GUYS! there is an open spot for Saturday's Fiddle Day Camp. If you want to take it there is a spare fiddle here waiting for you. That means you show up here knowing nothing, at all, about violins or reading music and you will leave knowing your first tune and how to teach yourself. It's an amazing camp and the fiddle needs a home. Message me and please share!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Shower During Thunderstorms

Yesterday was a shit day, and I'm not talking figuratively. But I started this morning singing Chance the Rapper songs to Anna Kendrick and enjoying the anticipation of a rainstorm. I didn't want to start the morning on Facebook or email, just wanted to start some coffee and my ol'friend I saw there was rain on the way. The first real rain in nearly a month. Things here are so dry the ground is cracking in places. But rain was coming and for a homesteader a good storm is like getting ready for a rock concert. More on that later.

First thing I did this morning was head outside to the mews to see how the new girl was doing. Anna is calm, eager, and clever. I topped off her water and saw she was fed before anything else on the farm. I couldn't help but sing a hook or two while she ate off the glove and showed me the back of her head - a big step in her manning. When a bird of prey lowers their vulnerable neck like that to an animal 50 times her size... that is trust. I sang and she ate and I chose to have a better day. When things get rough you need to physically choose that. No one is ever going to do that for you. I could either stay in that same state of mind I was in on my hands and knees scrubbing sewage or I could make the decision to sing to a hawk. So I sang.

Chores were done and the animals were all hail and hearty. It was a hot one, around 90 degrees, and I was dedicated to solving some problems. I called the local sewage folks to confirm our appointment for Thursday morning. I worked on email, ad sales, got notes from my agent on some proposals, sold some season passes and got emails about interest in Antlerstock. I don't know if singing to hawks is a bit of magic or not, but the results are hard to argue with. I gathered enough clamshells to mail a mortgage payment and danced in the kitchen with Annie and Gibson. Well, I danced with Gibson. Annie just watched with crossed paws and judged us. Huskies.

In the evening I headed out for a five mile run. I don't mind the heat or the miles anymore. My body just does the work. The sky was blue when I left the house but by the time I was two miles away the sky had turned dark and the temperature dropped ten degrees, or at least it felt like it. Instead of going the extra mile I turned home, running back into the storm clouds and towards home.

It started to really rain a half mile from home. Cars drove by me, neighbors waved. They knew better than to offer me a ride, being so close to home. Anyway, I was already on a ride. That half mile in the wind, pushing my newly red hair back behind me, my legs burning, my body wet long before the rain came. I was on the rollercoaster. There was nothing to experience but laughter and joy, feeling that rush of thunder and gust and know even if the sky opened up I was so close to my roof, my dogs, my comfots. I have come to love running. I am now 22 pounds thinner. It feels good.

The plan was to take an outdoor solar shower or jump in the river after that run, but the rain was too much for that to make sense. Instead I just went outside naked with a bottle of Dr. Bonners mint soap in the blue bottle. Right by the mews I enjoyed the shower that was the storm. Now, I do not recommend my readers run around outside in storms naked and you should follow your own health care tree - but that's what I did. And I'm glad I did because it felt amazing. I was chilled by the wind, the mint, the cold rain, the rush of petrichor all around me, and the fact I mailed a payment. I wasn't out of the woods but I can distracted the wolves at the door and felt mighty. I felt my bare feet on the ground the bank technically owns and reached up my hands to the sky like some preacher on the 700 Club. I felt rain on my face and the sweat all rush down my legs with mint and panic swirling together. Tonight I was okay. Today was better. I have plans for good meals and am surrounded by good friends. Tomorrow experts will remove a lot of crap from my life, again, not figuratively.

I'm still here. Tonight that is enough. Tomorrow I will teach you all the best way to make a Boston Butt Roast of pork.

Here we go.

P.S. "Shower during thunderstorms, makes you feel rich" is a quote by Paul Tanner who I have never met and might not even exist but I read that quote ten years ago and I still love it. Now I live it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Septic Woes

You want to know what the funnest part of cleaning out a shower filled with septic tank back up is? Here's the answer: none of it. Absolutely none of it was fun. I spent over an hour scooping, trashing, mopping, scrubbing, bleaching and trying to clean out the only bathroom shower this place has and I did it fighting back tears. This was the last thing I needed.

Septic tanks are part of living in the country. They need care and upkeep just like any other working part of a farm. Mine was overdue for a checkup and this was my big fat reminder. I called the guys who pump out tanks and it looks like three hundred bucks till its all said and done. As far as home improvement bills it could be much worse, and that is the positive spin I hope to take on this lump of bad luck.

I don't think I'll ever shower without flip flops again.

I'm not going to lie, things are tough here. But I see no reason to write about that at all besides that poop rant. Let me tell you what is good instead, because that is what I need to focus on. If I sit down and write about all the hurdles I need to jump over before Mabon I'll be useless to myself and this farm. If I write about the good stuff I'll have the energy to edit another chapter, work another few hours on graphic design, pitch more workshops and classes, muck out the goat pen, or just sit back and realize some important stuff. Important stuff like I am wasting my time on this farm worrying about keeping it and rarely breathing deep and loving the time I still have here.

SO here is some good news. If you helped out last month by being part of the Kiva Loan for the "new" truck then you should have seen your first repayment made today. Thank you. Thank you so much for making that truck possible and for being the reason I can drive around the county. Every month you'll see the money repaid and emails sent to announce it (from Kiva, not me). Know that Big Red is running well, was inspected and is road safe and legal in NY, and I adore her. She's what we trapped Anna Kendrick in, where Friday takes her naps on my thigh as we drive home from the hay banks, where Gibson hangs his head out the window at dusk, where I listen to your cassette tapes (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire right now, thanks Lane R!), and what gets me to book signings, speaking events and general shenanigans. I am so thankful for the truck and so proud to make that payment.

Other good news: my agent has two possible book proposals he is pitching and a book deal before winter would be a godsend. I haven't had an substantial income since the Birchthorn Kickstarter a year ago and another book deal would be a morale booster, for sure. Speaking of Birchthorn, the novel has a professional editor I hired who will be combing through it for polish and presentation (as well as story notes) and then the digital version will be in all of the backers hands as soon as possible after that. Once every backer has their copy I will offer it for sale online for a few dollars if anyone is interested in buying it. Finishing that project will be another point of pride for this farm. I can't wait to hold the hardcover in my hands!

As for the farm in general - things are good here for all the animals. The sheep are fat and no longer escaping, thanks to better fencing and apples as far as the eye can see. (It was a great year for apples!). I have two new ewes coming to the farm in a few weeks, wool ewes from Patty's farm, and I am glad to have some breeding animals under 5 years old in the flock! Sal and Joseph are doing well, and Monday and his gals are too.

The pigs are outside in the woods behind the barn. (I have a great story about one of them getting drunk, but I'll share that later.) All of the pigs are enjoying their newly-improved outdoor shelter and time in the forest. I just got a new piglet delivered this weekend and he is the barn waiting a roommate. He's a red wattle mix and sweet as a lamb.

Merlin is bonnie, rides like the wind, and looks dashing with his salt and pepper beard and mane. He's getting older but handsome as Clooney in a kilt with a wind machine blowing through his hair. Swoon.

Anna Kendrick is eating off my glove, used to me and the farm, and is going to be a great hunting partner! Can't wait to see her fly to the glove and she will get there soon.

The kailyard is being planted with winter greens and getting ready for season extension with hoops and cloth and plastic coverings. I'll give it a go. This farm loves kale!

The poultry CSA went smashingly this year! Still another 40+ birds out there in tractors but they are doing well and growing fat and this farm should have a nice stash of chickens even after all the shares are out. I delivered birds to four families so far (one trip by horse cart to a neighbor!) and people are enjoying the homegrown meat and I am proud of that too.

Firewood (a month's worth) is already stacked and dry and I contacted a friend from the Draft Horse Club who has another 2 cords to sell me for $400 - a good price for 2-year old dry hardwood custom cut to fit my bunbaker's 14' firebox. I have not bought the wood yet but it is easier to find $400 than it is to find dry wood at that price!

Hay is waiting for me in barns, set aside and that is a blessing. Patty's farm, Common Sense Farm, and Greene Farm all have plenty and my animals will be set. Big Red is 4 Wheel Drive and can get us there and carry so much more than the broken down Dodge ever could. I'm grateful for that!

Okay, just writing all this has me feeling better. I'll figure it out and keep you all posted. If you want to help just read the post below this one for some ideas. If you want to sit back and just watch the chaos - well, I appreciate that as well! Some people like watching my story to cheer me on and others like watching it to hope I cave in and quit. Either way, that's some fine entertainment free of charge and I'm glad you're reading.

Time to milk the goats. Be good.

Firewood, Hay, and Home

I wanted to share some of the updates and things offered by this little business, for anyone inclined to support the farm going into Autumn. There is no crisis or emergency here on the farm but there is the very real coming of winter and as of today there is only one and a half cords of firewood and more needs to be bought in for winter heat. So does winter hay, which I have already set up a few hay accounts going into winter but need to pay the farmer who is providing the actual bales for the farm.

I have no interest in starting another kickstarter or Kiva Loan to achieve these winter income goals. I want the work of design, workshops, farming, writing this blog and events to get me to my goal and keep this place solvent. I can't kickstart a novel every September nor can I be certain book deals will come through. I am certain I will find a way to keep the foreclosure warnings just that, warnings and keep this place in my name and keep living the life I love. So I encourage you to come out for a day and learn to play the fiddle, shoot a bow, buy a logo, order come bacon seeds, learn about chickens and gardens or simply choose to start subscribing to it for a small amount monthly through Paypal.

For Sale:

WORKSHOPS! You can click this link to see all the events posted, and more are being added all the time. Every season at CAF hosts events where readers can come see the place they follow, meet the animals and the author, and just become a part of the story. There are several workshops posted and two more being added today. The dates for Spring Fiddle Day Camp is May 7th. April 2nd will be a beginner's Homesteading Day - dedicated to raised bed gardens, chickens, and rabbits mostly. Email me to sign up!

SEASON PASSES - If you live close enough to Cold Antler to take advantage of a season pass they are still on sale for $250 a person and covers every single event hosted here for a year from date of purchase. It is a heck of a deal, make a great gift to locals with a love of farm folk and fellowship, and new events are always been added along with long time favorites like Goats and Soap, Fiddle Camps, Archery and Chicken events! Email me to sign up!

LOGOS & GRAPHIC DESIGN WORK: You all know that I sell custom logos, and the regular price goes from $300-$500 a design. Right now logos are on sale for $250 and that includes the entire process, which is not billed hourly. You get a professional logo created by a BFA degreed graphic designer who has worked for corporations such as HGTV, Coldwater Creek and Orvis and that price also includes my purchasing of any font or image rights I may need. Logo designs take 2-4 weeks to complete (sometimes longer, depending on complication of design or if you simply need more versions to get to where you want the design to be) but most logos are started with comps and completed within 2 weeks of first designs. Email me to sign up! Your logo is literally a half month of heat or feed at this farm!

Co-own a Pig - Shares on Sale: I have 2 more piglets coming to the farm in the next few weeks and they will be raised over winter here at the farm for spring pork. Co owning an animal for freezer meat is a great way to support this farm! Quarter and half shares available on one pig, other pig is already sold! Email me to sign up!

Buy an Ad! Do you have a blog, small business or website you want to promote? Readers and larger companies alike can take out ads on this blog which are located along the right side of this webpage. Reader blogs are a reduced rate and bring more eyes to your work while supporting this small farm along the way.

Blog Subscriptions: Cold Antler Farm will always be free to read and follow along with both here in words as well as with the vlog series on Youtube. But if you want to make a small contribution every month as a way to voluntarily compensate me for the work of words and videos it is appreciated and encouraging. Five to Twenty-Five dollar a month subscription plans are set up through paypal and you can click on the link right there in the top right corner of this blog to do so. And if you don't want to commit to a monthly subscription you can make a one-time annual subscription of your choice by using the donate button below the Barnheart graphic here on the blog.

Free ways to Support CAF! Don't have the ability to buy a logo and not close enough to attend an event? No problem. Just reading this blog is a huge way to support it and there are ways to show your support without spending a dime. You can send emails to the non-changing sponsors here seen in the ads. Tell them you appreciate their support of CAF and opt to support them when you need supplies or gear.  Subscribe to the Youtube Channel (it's free) by doing this you show the folks at Ad Sense that my vlog is worth paying attention to, as clicking on ads there and here on the blog from Google do kick back a little income to the farm. And of course, sharing the blog with friends and like minded folks and generally getting the word out about my books and blog is a huge help. A simple Facebook sharing of a post you like can reach hundreds of new readers. Tweeting a link to a logo sale or event could reach a new customer.

Okay guys, there is my Dog Days of Summer pitch. I hope it rallies what this farm needs to sail into Autumn with a smile. Between this good work, getting Birchthorn ready for publishing and mailing, and a little luck all will be well and the firewood will stack high and the barn will bulge with hay, hope, and winter comfort literally in the bank.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Antlerstock is Coming Soon!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Anna Kendrick is Here

I spent the whole of the day yesterday with Anna Kendrick. She isn’t a farm girl but is taking Cold Antler in stride. She’s only been here a short while, but seems to appreciate the food and doesn’t mind staying in the guest house. I’m not used to having gals around here like her. Especially ones so small, feisty, and loud – but we’re growing on each other. Well... she’s growing on me and I’m being tolerated by her. I remain optimistic though. I’m hoping this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship and she sticks around to teach me some stuff about performance, grace, and kicking ass. I also hope she likes killing rabbits because the last guy who stayed in her room was so much more into field mice…

Anna Kendrick is what I named the new hawk. Another falconry season begins now!

If you follow me on Facebook, that moniker shouldn’t surprise you in the slightest. It made sense to me. The new hawk is small female, brunette, sharp, and has one hell of a loud voice when she shows it off. Fits perfectly. But it does mean sentences like “I’ll be over after I feed Anna Kendrick some defrosted mice” and “Anna Kendrick got me with her talons” will be said for the first time, probably.

I won’t be writing about Anna much here. Falconry is something I am still new at and there are plenty of places online for folks to learn about it from far more experienced people. But I did want to share that a new bird is here and I’ll be training, hunting, and living alongside another wild bird of prey as I grow in my studies as an apprentice in this ancient art.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Trapping Season

When I start getting concerned emails from readers about my whereabouts, I know I had better start catching up around here. All is well. I have just been taking every spare second I have outside of the farm to start another chapter in this story. September 1st marked the beginning of trapping season for red-tailed hawks and kestrels in New York so all of us Falconers around here have been hitting the road, driving in pairs and looking for our new hunting partners. Since Italics was released back in April I've been without a raptor for a few months. I hoping for a female this year, which are larger than the males and a new challenge for me as an apprentice in this ancient and amazing sport.

My whole schedule is out of whack. Since all this time is spent on the backroads and fields of the county with a pair of binoculars, trolling for 'tails, I have totally lost my sense of real time. There is daylight and morning and then chores and then dark. I was shocked at 4Pm today it wasn't 2PM on Thursday. Yup. I'm running on coffee and a crush on a hawk I don't even know.

Besides having birds on the brain I have been getting plans for Antlerstock together. I heard from Brett he’ll be here Saturday to teach about traditional logging and to share a reading and Q&A about his new book, the Woodland Homestead. For years he’s been felling trees, talking about traditional tools like cross cut saws and axes, and teaching people at this event. It’s an honor to have him back!

I also heard from Kathy and Mary of WindWomen Farm, who will be talking about farming after retirement. A topic not really covered at Antlerstock before. Kathy (who is an accomplished Archer) will also be with me up in the archery field for beginner archery that weekend. Meg Paska (Beekeeping Author) might be here for a day and I am waiting to hear from others as well - from blacksmiths to neighbors to friends. Friday has confirmed she will be covering a lecture on how to wag your tail with your entire body and get away with pooling in any room in your house your roommates can’t see you in. Unrelated note: Does anyone out there have tips for removing the smell of dog pee from linoleum floors? Asking for a friend.

This weekend, a campout here at the farm with good friends. We're seeing off a friend moving off to New Orleans and starting his own new chapters. I'm still not any farther with my winter prepping goals but I will find a way. I'll design, teach, sell another book....It'll happen because it has to. By Antlerstock I hope to have three cords stocked and ready in the woodshed and to catch up enough on the mortgage enough to exhale.