Category Archives: random observation

Camping at Mashamoquet Brook State Park

This past weekend Rob and I went camping at Mashamoquet Brook State Park in Pomfret, CT, a whopping 30 minute drive from home. The campground we stayed at is called the Wolf den. We have a big anniversary coming up and with Rob’s surgery next week, we decided we needed a getaway. The farm is pretty much a constant source of projects and work, and we forget to take time to relax if we are at home.

We left home on Friday afternoon after Rob returned from work and Quinn and I came home from our ride at Arcadia. The park is 10 minutes or so off of 395, but tucked back into the woods. There was a total of 6 out of 35 camp sites occupied, mostly with tent campers, but few RVs. It was very quiet. Only one site (ours) has electric and water (which was leaking and had to get turned off). Rob brought his amateur radio equipment, and set up a portable station and I brought books.

The nearby camp nature trail by the brook had beavers and I saw at least 3 turtles laying eggs in the meadow. The wetland brook area also had great blue herons and tons of red winged black birds. The beavers have dammed up the brook, so no fishing is possible, it is more of a wetland.

The weather was gorgeous. No rain at all. Saturday we slept in, went on a few hikes, took a nap (me), read, and Rob played radio. Our main hike was on a nearby blue trail that was fairly technical with rock covered hills, and boasted an indian chair and a table rock rock formation and supposedly the wolf den of the last wolf to be killed in CT.

Saturday night we grilled steaks, baked potatoes, along with sauteed green beans and mushrooms. Yum! We sat by the fire after dinner and just enjoyed the quiet.

Below are a few pictures from the weekend. We will definitely try to do some other local staycations again.

The Spice Girls’ Baby Goats and Phaylene kids

Can I just say crazy couple of baby goat weeks…We had 7 baby goats in mid March. Two from Tulsi, two from Carolina and preemie triplets from Jasmine.

On Monday March 18, Chili was giving me all the indications she was planning to out her babies, but she wasn’t due until Friday, so I left her out with the others. She is a drama queen goat, and doesn’t like to be isolated by herself.

Well, after morning chores I decided to check on her and then go deal with milk dishes. An hour later I came out to check on her and she had two babies on the ground already. An almost 9 pound buckling and a small 5 pound doeling. We named them Kauai and Kipu. Kauai got Chili’s frosted nose and ears, but Kipu certainly got her personality as she is a little diva already. Chili has been great settling into being a milking goat and is super easy to hand milk. She is still opiniated and will let us know if we forget to bring out the alfalfa.

Later that week, on Thursday, Rob and I had been invited to an equine educational evening sponsored by Flemings Feed. It was informational and dinner was great with some awesome desserts. We came home and went to check on Pepper in the barn, who was due Saturday, and low and behold, she had one buck kid on the ground and was pushing out a second! Pepper had eaten dinner on the stand 45 minutes earlier with the kids…

We named Pepper’s boys Principe and Palau. Our naming theme this year is Vacation islands.

Here are some pictures from the foursome being outside last week. The three boys are available as pet wethers, as is Tulsi’s buckling Trinidad, if anyone’s looking. Kipu is staying here.

Last Tuesday April 9 Phaylene, our aged doe, kidded with triplets. We had been watching her all day, but it wasn’t until we left the barn to have dinner that she decided to kid. We sent Amanda out after dinner and she called the house screaming “babies!”. There were two kids out and a third on the way. Two doelings, one buckling, all pretty small at 6.6-6 pounds. Phaylene did great and is already cranking out over a gallon a day.

Phaylene’s triplets

Quinn and Amanda named the kids Minna, Malta, and Mykonos (where Rob and I honey mooned). These may be Phaylene’s last kids depending on how she looks this year, as she is 9 years old, and Quinn wants to retire her. One of Phay’s doelings is likely to be available.

The current baby goat count is 14, with one goat left to kid.

Porsche is our last pregnant doe, due May 10, with kids from Fox’s Pride KS Smooth Swagger. Amanda is really hoping for a doe kid out of this breeding, as she doesn’t have one yet this year from her project does. Porsche is a yearling, and while we don’t usually breed our yearlings, Porsche was on the heavy side and plenty big enough at 110 pounds last fall. Keep your fingers crossed for her!

Hike #1 at Hopeville Pond State Park

One of my goals for this year is to complete 52 hikes for the year. The idea is to go for a hike somewhere new each week. Well, last week on Sunday I was going to go hiking, but then we got 4-5 inches of snow and my knee was hurting, so Rob told me there was no way I was going out. Probably a good choice.

Since I just had a total hip replacement, I can’t go that far yet, or hike major hills, so I decided our local State Park was a good choice for this afternoon’s hike. Hopeville Pond State Park is located 2.5 miles from our house at 929 Hopeville Road in Griswold(map here). There are wooded trails and flat asphalt roads, so a good choice for a gimpy middle aged woman. It is a very popular spot for dog walking, and to let little kids ride their bikes and roller skate etc. There is an 80 site campground (no hook ups), and two beaches to swim at during the summer. I decided not to swim. I drove to the parking lot at the entrance (gates are closed to traffic Dec-Mar) and walked down to the boat ramp in the campground, and then cut across on some trails back up to the main road. I was aiming for about a mile, turned out to be more like 1.3 miles, the longest I’ve walked since my hip replacement.

Planning to go on another short hike on Sunday, and maybe work with my horse (on ground work). Tomorrow we are getting more rain, so not a good day for outside activities.

It felt so good to get outside and move, now to decide where to go for my next hike. Maybe I’ll drive over to Arcadia Management Area in RI and walk around Breakheart Pond, or Green Falls, which is part of Pachaug State Forest…I feel like Green Falls may require walking poles, as it is a more technical trail with boulders, so that one may have to wait. Onwards and upwards.

No More Hooves

For 10 years, I have operated a part-time farrier business on nights and weekends. I started out just doing trims, but eventually moved into limited shoeing as well. This month marked the end of that business. While I have always loved working with clients (who mostly became friends), the wear and tear on your body takes a toll. I decided it was time to stop before I was so worn down that I couldn’t enjoy life.

This weekend was spent running with friends, doing some work around the farm, taking an easy ride on the horses, and just enjoying life. We ended today with the family around a campfire, eating bowls of chili with smores for dessert. We used apps on our phone to map the stars and planets before everyone went back inside. Life is good.

A visit to Roseland Cottage


Roseland Cottage is a step into the Victorian era of Connecticut. Saturday September 24th was National Smithsonian Day and several museums around the area were offering free admission. The kids and I took advantage of the opportunity to go see this museum I’ve been thinking about for a while and went to visit Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, CT.  Alexis came with us as well.  Situated not quite 45 minutes from our house, this house is on the National Historic Register and proved very interesting , even to the kids. I believe Alex could count this day as a school day field trip!



We showed up a few minutes late for the one o’clock tour, so we had some time to kill before our two o’clock tour.  Turns out the old horse stalls of the barn and carriage building have partially been turned into rest rooms, which the kids got a kick out of.

The kids enjoyed playing some Victorian games while we were waiting, such as the game of graces or french hoops, trundle hoops, ball in cone, spinning tops, and croquet.

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There was a civil war reenactment camp going on with a collection of dressed up soldiers, muskets, and a cannon. To Alex’s dismay, the cannon was not usable, but he got a lesson in how they loaded it.

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They had a kids activity set up to learn how to build a bridge for the soldiers and their wagons to cross rivers and the kids worked on this project for a while.

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At two, we started our tour. The gardens have the original boxwood gardens with 600 feet of hedge in a parterre style.


We had to put on booties to enter the house, except Amanda who went barefoot, since the booties were so big they were a trip hazard.  Roseland Cottage was built in 1846 as a summer house for Henry and Lucy Bowen. They entertained important guests, including three presidents at this house. It is built in a gothic revival style, but later redecorated in a more Victorian style, including massive stained glass windows, fancy wall coverings and dark elaborate carpets. The house had 5 bedrooms, and we also saw the dining room, conservatory and sitting room.


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After the house we got to see the indoor bowling alley. Roseland Cottage has one of the oldest bowling alleys in the US. It is not part of the house itself, but rather a section of the barn and carriage house. Tucked into the bowling alley was an old carriage, which drew more attention from the girls than the bowling alley itself.


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After the house tour the kids returned to the now finished bridge project and got to walk over the finished bridge.

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We finished off our visit by talking to one of the soldiers and he showed Alex how the muskets worked and Alex and I were surprised to find that they were so slow to reload.

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We had a great visit, and I would definitely recommend this field trip to others, although young kids may not enjoy the house tour. Amanda was getting pretty restless at the one hour mark, but perked up when we went to the bowling alley and loved playing all the Victorian games.

If you are interested in more information about Roseland Cottage, here is a web site to get you started:


How to use a travel trailer in the winter

1. Store Christmas presents from Amazon in travel trailer and lock doors.
2. Sneak presents from shopping trips into travel trailer and re-lock doors.
3. Move wrapping supplies into trailer.
4. Turn on heat the afternoon before wrapping.
5. Let the kids watch a new movie on tv.
6. Mom and Dad wrap presents in with soothing Christmas music and no interruptions.
7.  Store presents in trailer until ready to put under the tree.
8. Merry Christmas!





It’s not as bad as you think

Sometimes, it takes a glimpse into what someone else is dealing with in their life, to make you understand, it’s not as bad as you think in your own life.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful for what we have.  The family is healthy, we have a place to live, and a stable income.  But some things, like finding out you will never get another promotion, can be distracting and upsetting.  But that’s not really all bad.  Especially compared to others we know.

Like my cousin Cliff Powell and his wife Tamika.  Less than 3 weeks ago, they were blindsided with the news that Tamika has a serious tumor in her chest.  They have 4 kids, the oldest of which is only 14.  Tamika started Chemo today.

Our a client/friend that I just found out had a brain tumor removed earlier this month.

Or a long time family friend combating stage 4 cancer.

Or a family watching a loved one slip away through Alzheimer’s.

The trials we face in life a hard within our own world.  But others are dealing with so much more, that sometimes it requires a reality check.  Whatever it is, it’s not as bad as you think.  This too, shall pass.

Right before making this post, I saw someone had posted this song on FB.  Check it out.

Broken Together by Casting Crowns’

I’m scared. Are you?

I have to say, over the past few days, I have been reading like mad.  Everywhere I turn, there are huge warning signs about major problems and potential society breakdowns.  As I look at the politics in DC, I honestly wonder if a lot of this is trying to cause the financial reset that experts widely agree will occur in the near future (days, months, years? – I don’t know).

What if our elected leaders really do understand how bad things are financially and are using this shutdown/debt ceiling to stage the reset and try to pass off blame on the others?  The estimations on how bad things would get, range from no real impact to mass rioting and complete society breakdown.   What worries me more is, maybe the elected leaders don’t understand the gravity of our national financial situation.

Yesterday, I listened to the Presidential non-press conference.  He consistently made comparisons to the federal government and average American households and how the current situation in DC doesn’t make sense.  But then he argued we needed to just raise the debt ceiling and move on.  Except, can you envision a person calling the bank and saying “Hello Banker.  I would like another $80k in credit please.  No, I haven’t paid for my last $120k in debt.  No, I don’t have anymore income.  I just want to keep overspending.  Don’t worry, this will get me until at least next fall.”

Have you noticed if you do online searches, you get almost all results from within the US.  What are other countries saying about this?  It is hard to know.  All I know is the uncertainty in the country is disturbing.

I’m not proposing anything radical, but I am honestly scared about the future of our country for the next 1-2 years.

Mondays are for recovery

Mondays need to be a day off to recover from the weekend.  Especially when Friday is a day off.

I had planned for Friday off work because who wants to work on Friday?  Friday morning, I worked with a new client and her horse.  The short version of the story is the horse has navicular, had a neurectomy 2.5 months ago, and continues to get worse.  It is a very complicated case, but hopefully we can get him back to soundness.  Then home to cut the grass and Alex’s birthday party began at 3.  6 – 10 year old boys.  We took them to Hopeville Pond for swimming, they had water gun and balloon fights for a couple of hours, pizza and a movie, and then camping in the tent.   At midnight when I went to sleep, they were still awake.  At 5:30 they came inside asking to watch tv and play xbox.  Alex was a wreck on Saturday, but had a good time.

Saturday included trimming horses in the morning, Anna wrapping up the birthday party, Vicki going to a party, picking up 250 bales of hay off the field, loading into the trailer (2 trips), and loading into the loft.  It was hot Saturday.

Sunday we got to work on fencing around the farm.  We pulled a section of board fence and reset the posts in a slightly different spot to change the flow of the paddocks and make the arena area smaller.  Now the grass arena is only about 140′ long by 90′ wide.  We also worked on putting in replacement fence posts in the front pasture and getting the electric fence up all the way around.  Starting today, the horses will be grazing in the front pasture.  The grass is over 3′ feet tall so we might occasionally lose sight of Huey.

We had an early dinner (5:45) and then headed out to the barn to saddle up.  The whole family left on a 50 minute trail ride starting at 7:15.  When we got back, Calli and I headed into the arena to work on some transitions and backing.

By the time the kids went to bed around 10, we were exhausted.  I guess it would help if we were not staying up until midnight every night. Too bad we can’t take a nap today.

The kids really enjoyed the trail ride and Vicki in particular is talking about her plan to ride the ponies every day.