anyone there?

Yeah, I know – you should’ve seen the cobwebs I had to drag down to get back in here. Wow, that was a lengthy absence. And I do have the feeling that I might be talking to myself in this echo-ey virtual box, but I’m going to give it a try anyway. ;)

First and most important, a big hug and hello to my dear and dearly-missed friends in Holland. Heidi, ever generous and talented to a fault – if such a thing is possible – gifted me with this stunning WIP roll (which I fully intend to display year-round!). I know that Heidi struggles with some serious health issues, yet despite her own discomfort, she is always there for everyone else. She’s a true role model to me and when I find myself feeling snappish, I try to channel the grace and humor that she always embodies. Thank you for a lovely piece of yourself to treasure, Heidi!  And thanks to Rachael, I recently re-established contact with Annemarie and it was lovely to get an email from her. Back when we were all in Europe, we had the opportunity to all get together (with Harmien as well!). Although I haven’t mentioned Conny, I hope she knows how much I miss our cheery afternoons together.

from Heidi with love

from Heidi with love

I’ve made wonderful new friends, here, too. What’s that saying about friends of silver and gold? Recently Dawn was doing a clear-out and gifted me with some lovely stash. I am especially enamored of these wool squares – in my head, I’ve already made them into the most darling penny rug centerpiece. ;) I’ve shown them on top of a pattern I recently purchased – need I say I’ve mentally stitched it up and picked the perfect frame and mat, and have it hung on my sampler wall?

stitchy gifts 002

Sadly, mental stitching is the only kind I’ve engaged in. There has been a great deal of stash-fondling however, as I begin packing for our move late this spring. If you have a horror of messes, turn away because the next photo shows the disaster that is our library and my stitching corner. Gasp!

chaos reigns!

chaos reigns!

When not stitching and making horrifying messes, I’ve been busy on the farm. Our buck bunnies somehow managed to make contact with the ladies despite being separated by cages and we have a dozen unplanned baby bunnies, including four absolute beauties from Mary Margaret and Arthur.

sleeping darlings

sleeping darlings

it's bunny love

it’s bunny love

We had seven baby goats born on the farm this winter – six of them within a 24 hour period! – which kept us busy for a long time. All of the ones intended for sale have now gone to their forever homes, and I’ve met some wonderful new goat people. :) The day the last baby goats left, the chicks began hatching. Fingers and toes crossed for a successful hatching season this year. The first five Icelandic chicks have already been picked up and taken to their new homes. Two of the Muscovy ducklings that Mrs M surprised us with as winter set in also went to their happy new home today.

Muscovy love

Muscovy love

Our barn family now consists of two Silver Fox bucks and two Silver Fox does for outdoor rabbits (plus two lovely foster bunnies we’re taking care of for the rabbit shelter in Lamoine); Muscovy and Pekin ducks (with a couple of ladies who are neither but are part of the family); the Pilgrim geese; about 8 breeds of rare or heritage chickens; 3 buck goats (Nigerian Dwarf, Myotonic, and Spanish/Cashgora) and 8 doe goats (3 Nigerian Dwarf, 3 Myotonic, 1 Nubian, and 1 Nigerian/Spanish-Cashgora). I hope to pick up a couple of lambs and I have bought myself a birthday gift of a mini llama (yes, Niek knows, LOL!). The llama will not join the family until after our move to prevent undue stress (for all of us, not just him!) Here’s a bit of a family portrait, though many are missing from this lineup:

barn family

barn family

Don’t think less of me for mentioning the animals before the human children, okay? ;) The non-feathered/furred kids are doing great and boy are they busy! Some days, I have no idea how we keep up with it. Niek made the joke to a fellow baseball parent that he’d turned into a soccer mom, which I found screamingly funny but the other parent was utterly bewildered. We enjoyed a cold but exciting Easter with plenty of eggs thanks to that aforementioned barn family, and the kids also set up a number of hunts and activities for Niek & I to enjoy. It was a weekend that I wished could go on for much longer – we all lamented the fact that the USA does not have a “tweede paasdag” like Holland does. You’ll notice that Arden is not as eager to pose for pictures – our littlest boy is growing up! He’s as jolly as ever, with an extra does of mischievousness now. LOL.

the most beautiful eggs - and girl - to be found

the most beautiful eggs – and girl – to be found

egg hunt!

egg hunt!

hero of the falls!

hero of the falls!

When there’s no family fun,  mess-making, or animal husbandry going on, there is my new job. Not only am I learning so much that sometimes it seems my head must actually expand to fit it all in, but I also have the dubious pleasure of travelling – two days a week, I rack up over 200 miles each day. On the bright side, I’ve been to some lovely parts of Maine that I’d never before seen. And of course we must always look on the bright side, right? ;)

small island off Fletcher's Landing Twp

small island off Fletcher’s Landing Twp

amazing trees in a pasture

amazing trees in a pasture

harbor at Stonington

harbor at Stonington

To make sure I don’t get bored, I’ll be starting grad school in June. My first set of classes includes statistics, which I always swore I would not take again. On the one hand, I’m terrified but on the other hand, at least it will be behind me after this summer. LOL!

There’s been a little bit of baking and cooking, including some totally new-to-me stuff like this in my free time:

roast lamb shoulder

roast lamb shoulder

And so dear friends, if you’re still out there, we’re still here and we are really & truly living life to the fullest. Wherever you are, I hope the same is true for you. Best wishes, and thank you so much for visiting despite my lengthy absence!

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About Barbara

nestled into my adopted home state of Maine, where I'm a happy homesteader with a big family that I love lots & lots View all posts by Barbara

25 responses to “anyone there?

  • Pat Wood

    Oh wow! I’ll never think I’m busy anymore. I loved your pictures and a peek into your ‘controlled chaos.’ I bet you can honestly say, you’re never bored. Please keep sending updates, I read them and feel like I’m right there watching.

  • anneke

    I”m in awe for all you’re showing us and all you’re managing! Too bad you can’t find the time to make some relax-stitches. But understandable. Good luck with everything!!

  • Cathy b

    It just amazes me at how many things you are juggling. You are my hero! Glad to hear everyone is well including the fur babies. Eventually you will find time again for stitching, until then, enjoy everything else!

  • Judy L Hattey McClure

    I don’t know Barbara. Every time that I read one of your blog posts I always feel like I need to lay down afterwords. Totally exhausting. I would imagine that you’re all excited about your move but the work involved. Just moving a family consisting of kids, indoor pets and house contents is tiring enough without adding in the barn folk as well. I do so love that library of yours and hope you’ll have something similar in your new home. Meanwhile, love that stunning WIP role that Heidi made for you. All those beautiful squares of fabric stitched together would look perfect in my living room. Just saying. How you must miss all those wonderful ladies from Europe who can no long casually pop in for tea and stitching. Sometimes this world seems so small and yet at other times it’s so frustratingly huge! Those bunnies are so adorable, the roast lamb shoulder looks mouth wateringly delicious, the children so grown up (!!),
    the scenery of Maine spectacular and …..

    A Llama?? Really???

    Hugs!!!

  • Jennifer

    I’m still out there ( here?) and I often wonder if my own blog is written in some sort of cycer-vaccuum. Seems like Facebook has taken over everything. I vow to get back to blogging and stitching soon, but in the meantime I have exhausted myself just reading about all the stuff you do. We have been “friended” (please excuse the Facebook reference) by two new chickens. Both are a honey gold color. They just appeared out of nowhere and have settled in with the visitor Maran chickens. No more eggs yet, but I am hoping for some regifting of all the cat food and bird seed they are eating.

  • Terri

    My goodness, Barbara! You have A ton of stuff going on? I don’t know how you function. I’d be exhausted! Fun animal and human pics!

  • riona

    A llama? A lamb? I suppose now you are going to add carding and spinning and knitting to your long list of accomplishments. In any case, it is nice to get an update.

  • Margaret

    Oh my goodness! You are always so busy! And you’re moving?? Wow! I assume the animal menagerie is being moved too. What a job. Glad you are enjoying your job too. The kids are getting so big!! How did that happen?

  • Marsha

    I’ve missed you, but gorl you are BUSY! Love the animals.

  • Jennifer

    Lovely to see you back, but after reading your update, I need a nap. I am EXHAUSTED just thinking about it. (I must say though, Miss Rowen is going to be Trouble with a capital T – she’s quite a beauty!)

  • Dianne

    Great post! And a move thrown in to the mix! Wow! Yes, sounds like you need to stitch once in a while on the run to one of those sporting events. Good luck with everything!!!

  • Melissa

    It’s lovely to see you, Barbara, and your brood…literally! My goodness there must be constant activity at your place! However, everyone looks healthy and happy which is the most important thing.

    You’re moving? I must’ve missed some news along the way! Take care.

  • Ruth

    Wow, so much going on, makes me tired, just reading about it. :)

  • Ranae

    I’m here
    Fantastic post with kids and animals
    You are super lady
    Happy Spring!!!

  • Janine

    WOW Barbara you are one busy lady. So I have to ask? Where are you going?

  • Heidi

    So glad you liked your WIP roll and I am certain there will be many stitching projects waiting to be rolled up in it.

    Love how you can juggle all you do. I think you have my energy and yours which is why I am so tired all the time and not from being ill…lol. Best of luck with your move!

    Hugs ~
    Heidi

  • Grandpa Jim

    So wonderful to read your blog. After looking at the photo of your library, I’m beginning to figure out where you get the extra time to do the countless things you do. Loved seeing photos of the Grand Ones. See you soon. Much Love

    • barbara

      Hardee-har-har! Niek is still laughing at your comment. I need to point out that the library looks like that because I’m in the process of packing it up. ;)

  • Valerie

    Barbara, I have no idea how you do it! Between the animals and kids and the job and school and keeping up after the house and moving et al. You’re amazing! Great update. Good luck with the move. So glad that you are enjoying your new job!

  • Carol

    Wish your crazy/busy life I’m amazed that you ever have time to post, Barbara!! Loved seeing all the animals and the latest photos of the kids–they’re sure growing up. Too funny that those bunnies found a way to mate even though in separate cages :)

    And now you’ll be adding in grad school–wow!! Best of luck to you, Barbara–I’m sure you’ll do great (even in the dreaded statistics course!!)…

    Happy Spring to you all :)

  • Catherine

    Beautiful gift from Heidi! She is amazing, isn’t she!?! You certainly are a busy one ~ I don’t know how you keep up with it all!

  • Sharon Green Long

    Hi Barbara, it is always a pleasure to read your blog. I am not so great at commenting these days-but I feel like I don’t miss you too much as I get to see you on facebook. Love your roll from Heidi, it’s lovely. I am so glad things are going so well. You still put me to shame, because i think I would seriously fail if did all the things you do with such grace. Best wishes on your move and grad school . I would love to hear more about your new home!

  • Joanne Wright

    Best of luck with the move. Good luck with your studies. I did statistics last year, research methods in psychology, and I just passed.

  • Karoline

    Lovely to hear from you and that everyone is doing well

  • Brigitte

    Such wonderful pictures of the surroundings. Right now you might be inmidst your moving house so that the time for taking pictures might be a bit rare. I hope your move is going smoothly.

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