Monday, December 31, 2007


The deer have been eaten and the last eagle posed this morning for one last portrait before disappearing for good.
Our magnificent visitors and the past year 2007 shared some similarities : there was surprise, delight, awe, joy, some elements of horror ( two deer carcasses being slowly picked clean, revealing their interiors bit by gruesome bit ), excitement, content and each morning, curiosity as to what the new day would bring.
As we count down the hours until the new year starts, I look back with gratitude at all the new experiences 2007 brought, the love with which our family surrounded us and the good health with which we enjoyed every day. How fortunate we are !
As we think back to all the highlights of the past year and look forward to the next, I wish you the best for 2008 - may all your hopes and plans find some measure of fulfillment and when life's inevitable difficulties and setbacks occur, may you be equal to the task set for you and may you grow stronger as you work through them.
Happy New Year to you all !!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


If you look very carefully, you can see five white-headed birds sitting in the trees right in the center of the picture.
Our neighbor has dragged two deer carcasses into the field next door and they have attracted five bald eagles from the nearby Susquehanna river. There are 4 mature birds and a juvenile, which doesn't have the brilliant white head - he/she ? is brown with blond highlights all over. The mature birds not only have startlingly white heads, but also white wings which show up when they fly.

Here is the juvenile, feeding on the carcass in the field. When the birds are disturbed, they fly up a short distance into the trees, not losing sight of their meal. They will sit all afternoon, waiting ,until they think it's safe to resume their feast.
My neighbor told me he had participated in the Annual Audubon on-the-water birdcount yesterday and they saw 55 different species, however, most of the winter birds haven't shown up yet - it's been too mild. He told me he had seen beaver , sitting on the bank of the local marina, watching the boats go by.
" Hurry, Ethel, you're going to miss them ! They're coming by right now !! Get the binoculars !!! Look how they swim, aren't they weird ? "
This is what we do for fun in the country....

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas !

Santa has come ! R told me that Santa brought " the blue stroller with a tray , which I had ordered. And a lot of other presents I didn't want, but I really love them." What a reminder to us grown-ups, that one wished-for present is all a child really looks for.
We hope that all of you, both near and far, had a perfectly wonderful Christmas and got all you "ordered " and even a little extra you didn't expect, but which you really love.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

At the Malian Gingerbread House Party

We were invited to a gingerbread house party yesterday at our friends Kate and Bassyou's house. They met while Kate was in the Peace Corps in Mali and fell in love, got married and came back to the States to live. Bassyou was a resident in the village where Kate did agriculture work and has adapted amazingly to living here in the states. They are expecting their first baby in February! Before this happens I am determined to invite myself over to learn how to cook Malian food ... they seem to have connections to people who can really cook.

Leave it to a Peace Corps volunteer to have the ingenuity to use graham crackers for the walls and roof (I stupidly stayed up until 2 AM making mine - see earlier entry)! As a result, we ended up making Baltimore city row houses - a very cute twist on the traditional chalet style. At the party Rhys became engrossed with building her row house and spent the entire time with a cottonless q-tip and icing, painstakingly gluing each tiny M-and-M to the structure. I think she may have spent two hours gluing and decorating. She is truly the most patient human being I have ever met.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cute, no?

Just a little cuteness for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Waiting for Santa

Now that we have returned from the big city, we're getting ready for Christmas, here at the farm. Looks like this hawk was watching every possible angle to see if he could be the first to catch a glimpse of Santa.

RFD goes to NYC

Gosh, how time flies. Last weekend we went to NYC, to see the city in its Christmas finery and to experience some urban Christmas spirit.

We saw the sights during the day

and at night.

We took arty photographs

visited a few museums, ate amazing food, especially the dim sum ! and were oh , so cosmopolitan,

just like Mr. and Mrs. NYC.

But how will we explain THIS to the mother of our teenage house guest ?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gingerbread House Party!

Lest you think I have been a lazy bum this weekend, watching movies and noshing on bon bons, think again! I stayed up until TWO AM this morning making gingerbread houses for my sweet little ones and their friends, so we could have our first annual Gingerbread House Party! After realizing that I should a) Follow directions EXACTLY and b) Not leave it to the last minute (sound familiar, Mom?) I pulled it together and created four little masterpieces secured with fishing line so as not to succumb to gravity. (See inspiration above).

Amazingly they all made it through the night and R was so excited she came downstairs at 1:30 AM because she had "fallen out of bed" and was thrilled to find me in the kitchen, baking away. The next morning the intrepid decorators braved the icy rain and showed up to realize their visions. A fun time was had by all and, miraculously, we made it through the day without one single sugar related meltdown. The house smelled so Christmasy and the carols were playing and it really got me in the Christmas spirit! We capped off the day by taking a long blustery hike in the country with the dogs and came home feeling really fantastic.

What a great weekend!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Better late than never

Here we are at Thanksgiving...but wait, where are all the people ?

They're all outside , posing for the first family photo ever.