A stranger cometh Christmas Eve

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Joseph — Lord of the Land
Rousseau — Faithful Dog, Protector of the Lord’s Land
Cat 1 — Lead Hunter of Small Mammals
Cat 2 — Lead Hunter of Indoor Insects
Cat 3 — Lead Hunter of Elusive Birds viewed through Stalking Window
Husky-Girl — Lost Maiden

As written by Jacqueline, Scribe and Lady of the Land
Scene: Late evening on the longest night of the year, in the foothills far to the east, on a rural farm

Joseph: Lord of the Land

Joseph: Come, faithful dog. It is time to do our rounds in the fields.

Rousseau: I am at your side, my Lord.

(they walk)

Rousseau: The cows are moving in the field. They should be sleeping. Something is afoot. A rustling in the grasses. There! Behind the blessed cows.

Rousseau: Faithful Dog, Protector of the Lord’s Land

Joseph: What is it, Rousseau? Have you found something?

Rousseau: My Lord, do you hear?

Joseph: No, but my ears are not as fine as yours.

Rousseau: And there, on the wind. A strange scent, like no other I have smelled. My Lord, is it in your ken?

Joseph: No, but my nose is also not as fine as yours. What is it you sense?

Rousseau: Stay back, my Lord! Someone runs in the field. Await me here. I shall run and see who hides in the darkness.

Joseph: Be safe, my faithful one!

Rousseau: My Lord! My Lord! I have found a stray dog here. She has the scent of foreign lands. I shall sniff her thoroughly.

Joseph: What is here, dear dog? Are we safe?

Rousseau: I am sniffing her lady parts, my Lord. Such strange and exotic scents. Wait, my Lord. Another minute, perhaps more.

Husky Girl: Lost Maiden

Joseph: Rousseau, you have found a female dog. Perchance, she may be of nobility and her family in woe that she is lost. She is of the Northlands. We must search for her house and inform them she is found.

Rousseau: Is she from the land of the Danes, my Lord?

Joseph: No. She may have travelled through Denmark to get here, but she hails from lands further north.

Rousseau: A Pyrenees from France? Or a Brittany?

Joseph: No, she appears of good breeding, but further distant to our lands. Perhaps across the great ocean.

Rousseau: The noble Newfoundland? Or could she be a Labrador from the icy water-lands?

Joseph: Please ask her, Rousseau. Dear maiden, where come you from?

Husky: (My Saviors, I cannot speak your language. I am lost. I am at your will.)

Rousseau: Alas, the language is foreign to my ears. Though she does appear to be especially energetic and athletic.

Joseph: She must have travelled a longly ways. Come, we will head back to the manor.

Husky: (I am found! I am found!)

Joseph: I believe she most resembles a breed I have heard tales of, but until now have never seen. I believe she is a HUSKY, a lineage from the far northlands of the Americas, Let us bring her to the manor where she can dine and rest while we seek her family.

(Joseph brings her into the garage where he takes a photo to post on Facebook and thus seek her noble house.)

Joseph: Maiden, it is late, nearly midnight. Eat of this food I have prepared for you. And I have made you a bed where you can rest while we seek your family.

Husky: I shall sing the song of my ancestors until they are found.

(Joseph brings Rousseau into the house and they ready for sleep.)

(1 a.m.)

Husky: Ancestors, I call out to my family. Tell them I am safe but not yet found.� Rousseau: Dear maiden, I shall echo your calls until your family hears.

Cat 1: Master, awake! There is a dragon in the land. We must flee!

Cat 2: Lady, awake! Come this way, under the bed!

(2 a.m.)

Husky: Ancestors, awaken and find me. I call and call you.

Rousseau: Arise! Arise! My Lord, she needs more of us to call with her.

(3 a.m.)

Husky: Ancestors, Find me. I do not suffer as I have my keen hunting skills. I have miraculously found a covered metal bin that smells rich in reward. I am doing my best to unlock the canister.

Rousseau: Dear maiden, I wish to be at your side and assist you but I am trapped in the Lord’s house. Nonetheless, I shall call and encourage you to further your efforts.

Car 1: Lead Hunter of Small Mammals

Cat 1: Master, awake! I cannot find our brother. I fear the dragon has done him no well.

Cat 2: Lead Hunter of Indoor Insects

Cat 2: Lady, awake! We have made room for you here in the closet. Come quickly!

(4 a.m.)

Cat 2: Master, awake! We have searched everywhere for our brother. He is lost.

Cat 3: Lady, awake! I am here! I have found a hiding place from the dragon. Follow me into the basement of the manor where it is dark and there are many hiding places.

Cat 1: Master, awake! Indeed it is a good hiding place. And there is plenty of room for pooping, which we all shall now do to show we have claimed this territory, free of dragons, as our own.

Cat 3: Lead Hunter of Elusive Birds Viewed Through Stalking Window

Husky: I have succeeded at last in opening the canister. It is, indeed, filled with many smells. Alas there is little food. These farmers, they are composters and they do not have much surplus. What they have I shall spread throughout this garage so they know I have given my best to this discovery.

(5 a.m.)

Husky: Ancestors, I am here.

Rousseau: I call with you. We shall not sleep until we find your family.

 

(6 a.m.)

Husky: Though the skies are still dark, I shall keep up my song.

Rousseau: Likewise, I shall sing the ancient chorus of all lost dogs with you.

(7 a.m.)

Husky: I am hoarse with barking. As the light comes over the mountains, I shall rest my bones.

Lord Joseph and Faithful Dog Rousseau

Rousseau: While you rest, dear one, I shall keep up the call with sporadic yips and trills asking if you are back awake yet.

Cat 1: I continue to growl through the window to keep the dragon at bay. Sleep, Lord and Lady. You are safe under my watch.

(8 a.m.)

Phone rings. The husky’s family has heard of the miraculous saving of their lost daughter and they hurry here to accept her back into their care. Joy! Joy!

Rousseau: Be well, fair one. I am grateful the song we sung through the night roused your family and you have been rejoined. Joy and happiness, I shall sing long this day.

— Jacqueline Freeman, Friendly Haven Rise Farm

Golden Pollen

I’ve spent hours with my bees these past weeks, watching them build comb, bring in pollen and nectar. I sit right at their front doors as they zoom in and out. They’re completely calm when I’m around. About a half hour ago while I was standing off to the side watching, one little bee lifted up from the entrance, landed on my bandaged hand an inch and a half below where the stitches are and calmly stung me. Earlier this morning I told the bees if I needed a sting to help my hand heal better, that was okay with me. Seems it was. I left the stinger in the full 30 seconds so all the venom gets in and stimulates my immune system. Love these little girls.

goldenpollen

Radish in bloom

As a bee gardener, I let all my vegetables go to flower. If more people knew how beautiful vegetables are as flowers, they wouldn’t pull them out so soon. This white bush is ONE radish plant that’s become a 4′ x 4′ bush covered with white flowers. Lettuce gets 6′ tall with gorgeous blue flowers. My winter kales just finished blooming last week, most of them 5′ tall with bright yellow flowers the bees find irresistible.

radishbloom

Baby Calf Hooves

Yet another reason I love our farm: Newborn calf hooves. The calf is only 30 minutes old. His hooves feel like warm candle wax, not hard yet and very pliable. They firm up pretty quickly once they’re in the air but these were still soft. I always like to touch them once the calf is on the ground.

calfhooves

Our cow weaves a garland

3 cows side field

I led Miss Amelia outside the pasture to the five foot tall compost pile that is overgrown with climbing cleavers on six foot tall radishes and mustard. She buried her head in it and made herself a garland to wear on her horns. It takes so little effort to bring joy to a cow. Click the link below to see her highness in cow happiness.

Cow Garland, such joy

Winter Bee Flight

It’s January 1st and we had a hard frost last night. The tree branches are all bare and it’s cold, barely 40 degrees if that. Yet it’s sunny out and the bees who live in the north wall of our house are busy flying in and out. 

Our other bees that live in hives up in the field are quiet, conserving food and energy through the winter. 
Normally in winter on a sunny warmish day the bees will make a “poop run” every few weeks. They make a quick short flight outside to defecate and then hurry right back inside. But these bees are out most every day. The heat from our wood-fired stove keeps the hive warm enough which allows them the energy to have a look around outside whenever the sun’s out.
Winter is when the bees will look for and bring home sap from trees which they use to make propolis which is used as “bee glue” to seal up cracks in the hive and to keep it sanitary and healthy inside. 

This entry was posted on January 4, 2011, in Bees.

Chickens take a dirt bath

I planted spring bulbs at the end of our walkway. I imagined how beautiful they will look in springtime, joyous irises in multi-colored bloom, the fragrant waft of scent carrying to the front door.


Surprise! Surprise! The next day I find these hens and a rooster smack dab in the middle of the new bed with different plans. My little landscapers decided to turn the rich soil into a dirt bath. 

Dust baths are how chickens keep crawly things off their skin. They poof up their feathers all fluffy and then powder puff billows of dirt all over themselves. This is the chicken version of spa day.

I can’t get upset about it. It’s marvelously entertaining. Look at their little chicken faces. They love it so much they get all dreamy-faced while they’re bathing. I guess I can plant my bulbs elsewhere.

This entry was posted on December 1, 2010, in Farm Animals.

For Breakfast: A pan full of Luck

Joseph came in from the hen house with breakfast fixin’s. He was so confident about what was in this egg that he cut TWO holes in the “Eggs in a Frame” he had in the pan (we’ve also heard this called “Toad in a Hole.”)

We get these doubles fairly often, which I take to be a good sign. Either our hens are extra healthy and prolific egg layers, or we’re just plain lucky. I’ll go with all of the above.

This entry was posted on December 1, 2010, in Farm Life.

Is your car unlocked?

Is your car unlocked? When you get home you’ll discover you have four squash, each as big as your head, under a towel on the back seat. I’m sorry. I had to hide them there. It was the only way for me to insist you take more than I already pressed on you when you arrived.

This is the GIGUNDO squash plant that volunteered in our compost pile two months ago.
And this is the 5-8 lb Italian heirloom squash we’re getting about 8-10 a day of. I carry them back to the house in a wheelbarrow.
Now I want you to know, I’m not complaining. They are the sweetest, tenderest squash we’ve ever grown. We saute them with butter, eat them raw in salad, and Patti suggested we puree them and freeze them to use as a soup base all winter. All good ideas. I will probably come up with more because I think right now we’ve got about 150 more in some stage of development and more beautiful golden blossoms coming out all the time.
Why so many? Here are the culprits.
Easy to see the first bee on the bottom covered in pollen. Then there’s the next bee deeper in, pollinating away. And way down under both of them, there’s a third bee. Each of them wearing enough pollen to decorate six more squash blossoms with. Yes, they are doing their job, and lined up to do it with every squash blossom that opens its petals. And that’s why we will probably harvest close to a half ton of squash this fall from ONE PLANT.
So come on over. Bring an appetite. I’ve got squash fritters frying up right now and I’m working on squash cookies. Or maybe a nice little squash gelato. 
What? You can’t find your car keys? I can’t imagine where they might have gone. You search the kitchen while I dash out to the driveway to see if you dropped them there. Don’t come out unless I yell that I found them, okay?
warmly, Jacqueline
This entry was posted on September 21, 2010, in Farm Life.