Life in the Country Blog
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Life in the Country Blog

Life in the Country Blog

Our New Chicken Coop by Julia

by Embrace Country Life on 08/31/13

I wanted a new chicken coop after what happen with the other one.  So we started to build one.  My dad asked a friend named Diaj to help too.   First we locked the chickens in their stall in the barn.  Then, we took the old chicken coop down.  After that we bought wood, screws, and more.  Next, we started to build.  We dug underground and then put the wood in the ground so animals couldn’t get in.  We made the chicken coop wider than the other one so the chickens could roam better.  We put the wood up first and then we started putting the fencing around the wood.  When we put up the fence, we screwed it in so animals couldn’t get in.  We built it two stories high so now I can fit into it!  And we made a door so we can step in instead of crawl in.  This makes it easier to feed them all of our scraps like watermelon and bread.  Finally, the big finale was here!  We let the chickens out in their new coop and they were confused.  I feel like they were thinking,  “This isn’t our regular outside pen.”  And I knew all my hard work really paid off.  I was so happy to see the chickens outside again.                                                                                                                                                             

And now the chickens love going outside especially Grandma, our five year old chicken.  Chickens usually die at 3 or 4 years old.  Grandma has a story to her past. We bought her at Tractor Supply when she was a chick.  Then the next year, we hatched her eggs in an incubator.  We named one of her chicks Bubblegum.  After that, Bubblegum had chicks and ran away with them but Sarah found one in Scooby’s stall.  We named it Sticky Caramel.  Sticky Caramel got eaten by a raccoon but before she did she had two chicks named Melty Creamsicle and a boy named Roasted Marshmallow.  Now Grandma watches over her great grandchildren in her their new chicken coop!  

Sarah and Lizzy at the Broome County Fair by Sarah

by Embrace Country Life on 07/28/13

Elizabeth’s Dream is a 27 year old Arabian/Shetland Pony Cross (Mix). She stands at 13 hands or 52 inches tall and her coat color is Bay.  She is ridden by Sarah of the Showstoppers 4-H Group.  

 Lizzy or Elizabeth’s Dream has been in Sarah’s family for over 15 years.  She was a gift from a neighbor a few miles away from the barn.  Instead of using a trailer, Lizzy was lead and ridden to her forever home.  In the stable, Lizzy loves to escape.  Whenever someone leaves the stall door closed but not locked, she makes sure to use her head to pull it open.  Once she’s outside, it takes at least 10 minutes to get her back in. Lizzy has a lot of friends too! Her best horse friend is a Paint cross, Patches.  Sarah’s family got Patches when he was just a little foal. Sassy, or Sassafras is also Lizzy’s friend.  These two horses ride in trail rides together, and have been in the same pasture for years. Sassafras is being shown with my sister Alicia. 

I love riding Lizzy.  She is a great pony, and friend. 

Alicia and Sassafras...Now appearing at the Broome County Fair by Alicia

by Embrace Country Life on 07/24/13

Sassafras (Sassy) is a bay Morgan Cross mare.  She stands at 15 hands.  We bought her from a rescue horse farm in Afton, New York about four years ago.  

 After riding Sassy and watching her graze in the pasture, we fell in love.  She was severely under-weight and was obviously neglected.  The owners of the rescue horse farm told us that they purchased her from a meat pen.  If they didn’t buy her or notice her, she would have been slaughtered for meat and eaten.  We feel so blessed that we were able to save the life of a beautiful horse.

We soon found out that she was trained in both English and Western.  Sassy was also very good with children and would do almost anything you asked her to do.  When the vet came and confirmed that she was ready for adoption, we brought Sassy home.

Since she was a rescue horse, close to nothing about her past was known. We decided to keep her name as Sassy even though we don’t know her original name.  She is quite sassy sometimes so the name suits her.  We also didn’t know her birthdate or age.  From her teeth, our veterinarian hypothesized that she was about eleven. We decided her birthday would be October 8, the day we took her home with us.  Based on our veterinarian’s hypothesis, she was probably born in 1996.  Therefore, her birthday was formed.

Sassy has definitely come a long way since we got her.  Her weight is now healthy, for starters.  She was very barn sour but now she is fine going on trail rides.  Trailering Sassy was difficult because she most likely hasn’t ever been in a trailer.  Now she is better with trailers.

Sassy does very well walking, trotting, and cantering with me on her back. We are now working on jumping which she seems to be picking up quick.  Sassy is always there for me and I am so happy we were able to give her a great home free of danger.

Sassy now has two best friends who share the same barn and pasture as her.  Lizzy is being shown by my sister, Sarah, and can be found in the stall to the left of Sassy.  Her other friend, Patches, a Paint gelding, isn’t being shown this year.

WKP-TV visits Embrace Country Life

by Embrace Country Life on 06/06/13

It was a bitter cold day when the wonderful production staff at White Knight Productions came to visit our hobby farm in Vestal, NY.

The crew of KiRa, Casey, and Jeff were friendly, patient, professional, efficient, and talented...everything you would want in a production team!!  They wanted to film different aspects of living on a farm and living a healthy lifestyle.  

Somehow, I was elected to be filmed first. I have to admit I was a nervous wreck.  I have many different recipes listed on the website, so I thought it would be fun to show how to make one of them.  I went with the all natural coffee creamer.  Who doesn't like coffee? 

 After several takes, I started to get the hang of it.  You don't realize how much goes into making a successful video.  The production team had to consider the lighting which can be difficult in my kitchen because it is surrounded by windows.  They also had to consider different noises.  I learned you can't talk and clink the measuring spoon in the pan at the same time.  Even with my inexperience as an actress, the webisode turned out great.  Check it out under the video tab on the website.

The next webisode we filmed was my homemade oatmeal.  We were in the kitchen and it seemed like a nice, next step.  After all, we had the coffee, now we needed to see how to make the rest of our breakfast.  The girls and Cliff got to be included in this clip.  Someone had to eat the oatmeal!

After that clip, the girls and Cliff donned their barn clothes and headed outside.  Cliff started off the webisodes explaining why he loves living the country life and the benefits of "barn chores" when raising three daughters.  

The girls seemed so at ease in front of the camera.  They did what the crew asked without hesitation and were so comfortable teaching everyone the importance of the appropriate clothes when working on a farm, how to care for a horse, and how to collect eggs from our chickens.  

We really had a lot of fun with WKP!  It was exciting to learn how production teams work and all the talent it takes to create a webisode.  The team was professional and patient as they coached us through each scene.  I found out that it is a lot of work being in front of the camera and behind the scenes.   It was an incredible learning experience for my entire family.  

We hope the webisodes bring more awareness to This awareness will allow our directory listing to grow until we have every local farm and related business listed.  We would also like the Discount Card to grow in such a way that it supports the farms/related businesses and offers a healthy choice for local fundraising.

White Knight Productions’ WKP-TV initiative aids us in achieving our goal of educating our community on the accessibility of living a healthy lifestyle. Our webisode series on WKP-TV’s  Lifestyle channel features home grown advice on everything from collecting eggs, how to make a healthy coffee creamer and where you can find local ingredients.   WKP-TV is where everyone can come together to seek out educational, entertaining, relevant  information from local sources.

We are proud to live, work and support the Southern Tier and excited to be apart of WKP-TV.  Please check out our webisodes as well as many others on their channel

The Night our Chicks Hatched by Sarah Kasson

by Embrace Country Life on 04/29/13


On April 3, 2013 the first peeps of our new chicks were heard.  We had been incubating our chicks for 21 days, so we knew the chicks were a day early.  On that special day I had my friend Erin over for a sleepover.  We were playing Mario Kart when we heard a faint but noticeable “peep”.  Instantly, we paused the game and ran over to the incubator.  When we looked in we noticed there were 6 eggs with a crack in them.  Erin and I then continued our game pausing when we heard more peeps.  After 11 o’clock we noticed that one egg had a very large crack.  We kept on watching that chick for about 30 minutes.  After about an hour the chick’s wet feathers were visible.  Erin and I stayed up until about 2 in the morning.  When we went to bed three chicks had hatched and more coming.



      In the morning about 7 chicks hatched and they were peeping like crazy.  Erin named 3 chicks and we waited for our sisters to wake up to name the others. During the night both Erin and I posted picture of the chicks and posted them on Instagram.  This was a sleepover both Erin and I will never forget!

The Dangers of Soda

by Embrace Country Life on 11/07/12

I can't tell you how many articles I have now read on the dangers of soda (especially diet).  There are many articles posted under the "Healthy Living Links" of the website.  Every time I read an article I want to shout from the roof tops for everyone I know to STOP drinking it!

Here are some of the dangers of diet drinks as found in an article by Joshua Corn who is a writer for

  • Some studies show that diet drinks can actually make you 70% fatter.
  • The artificial coloring used in diet drinks is a carcinogenic.
  • Aspartame and Neotame (Equal and NutraSweet) are also known carcinogens, even in low levels.
  • Sucralose (Splenda), alters the microflora in the intestine and “exerts numerous adverse effects, according to a Duke University study.
  • Diet sodas in general are linked to a 61% increase in strokes and heart attacks.

I can't even watch someone drink diet soda anymore without saying something.  When I hear that soda drop out of the machine in the faculty room, I cringe.  The teacher buying the can knows that I will be making some comment like, "Drinking poison with lunch today?"  I can't help myself anymore.  It takes all my will power to not stand up and smack it out of their hands like it is a live hand grenade!  

I am starting to equate my hate for soda to my hate for cigarettes.  My dad smoked when I was growing up.  Every time he lit up, my anxiety rose.  I just couldn't understand why he wouldn't stop.  Everything you read or heard said cigarettes caused cancer!  Now the studies are showing the same for diet soda but people are still drinking it.

So yes, I am sure people think I am crazy when I look at them funny as they pop the tab on their soda cans.  I will continue to preach to them if they choose to drink it in front of me.  I've already been successful convincing one colleague to stop drinking soda.  I have many more left...time will tell..

Welcome to Our Newest Advertiser

by Embrace Country Life on 10/20/12

We are happy to announce our latest advertiser at! Southern State Books is a bookstore on Although they are not local, we do share something in common...healthy living and hope. Lisa Pukish Ringenberg started this store so she would be able to stay home with her daughter Madison Faith. Madison was born with DiGeorge syndrome. DiGeorge is caused by a deletion of a small segment of the long arm of chromosome 22. It is one of the most common genetic disorders in humans. For more information about DiGeorge and how it affects Madison, please visit her website,

Although Madison has many medical symptoms from her DiGeorge's, Lisa does everything possible to heal with food, not medicine. She believes that the food you eat can be either the best medicine or the most toxic poison. Lisa supports local farms and health food stores.

During the month of November, $5 of every $10 Embrace Country Life card purchased through the site will go to Madison's family to help with Madison's medical costs. By purchasing a card, you win by getting great discounts, our local farmers win by your patronage, and Madison Faith's family wins by alleviating some of the financial burdens associated with her illness.

Another way to help Madison and her family is to visit Southern State Books on They have a wide variety at excellent prices. If you “like” them on Facebook, you will receive updates and special notifications of promotions. Check them out at:

The Vet Comes to Mountain Breeze Acres

by Embrace Country Life on 09/02/12

By, Alicia

Last week, our horse, Lizzy, was having difficulty walking down to the barn to get grain.  She could not put any weight on her left, rear hoof.  My first instinct was to lift the hoof and check to see if there were any stones in it that could be causing pain.  I found a quarter-sized rock lodged between her hoof wall and frog.  We thought this was causing her to limp but little did we know there were other complications.

After a day went by she was still having trouble putting weight on it so we called our farrier.  We knew to call the farrier because when we checked for heat in the leg, there wasn't any so that meant the source of pain was her hoof.

The farrier came out at 7:00 am and found an abscess at the tip of her hoof.  He dug into the hoof so the build up of pressure could be released.  We cleaned it and put ichthammol in the abscess hole and then wrapped it with vet wrap and duct tape to secure it.  She seemed to be getting better.

She continued to improve so we figured we could let her out with the other horses in the pasture since she had been locked in her stall to prevent any more damage to her hoof for several days.  She was fine the first night but when Julia went to bring her to the barn to brush her, she wouldn't come in.  So, Sarah went and got her and she was walking fine.  After Julia was done grooming her, we let her back out into the pasture and went back to the spot where Sarah found her.  That night, Lizzy refused to come down to the barn again and Patches was chasing her.  We tried to get her down but couldn't so we let her stay out. 

The next morning we woke to find her lying on the ground.  "Emergency alarms" went off in my head because I knew if horses lie on the ground too long, they could hurt their internal organs.  My dad, my mom, and I raced outside to see if she was ok.  We got her halter and lead rope and marched up to the pasture.  We put it on and rocked her gently to get her to stand up.  We knew she didn't have colic because she started eating grass and passing gas!!!  That meant her digestive system was working properly!  We noticed that she was limping on her left, rear leg again.  We knew there must be more to the story but when we tried to lead her to the barn, she didn't move.  We locked the other horses in the barn so they couldn't pester her and figured she would come down to the barn if she wanted shade or water later.  She eventually did. 

My dad the farrier again and my mom called the vet.  The farrier came up again and worked on her hooves a little more.  He suggested we have the vet take a look to see what was wrong. 

The vet who came later that day was Dr. Amy from the Northeastern PA Equine Clinic.  She went down to the barn with all her equipment and examined Lizzy's hooves.  She agreed with the farrier that both hind legs probably had laminitis because they were both very sore.  She suggested that we took a radiograph of both hind, hooves to see if there was anything else going on.  After the radiograph, she gave Lizzy a shot of painkiller to help the pain go away so she wasn't so stressed out.  Then, she cleaned and wrapped both hind hooves.  She used baby diapers that Julia had for her dolls for extra padding on her hooves.  She gave us one tube of bute that we could administer 1 gram twice a day to help with her pain.  I have been giving it her since the vet left.  She takes it pretty well considering it is not apple flavored.  She also gave us cotton so we could rewrap the hooves.  We already had the vet wrap, salve, diaper, and duct tape.

She told us to buy epsom salts to soak Lizzy's hooves in to soothe them.  Dr. Amy taught us a lot including how to check to see if a horse's hoof is hurting by checking her pulse.  If the pulse was higher than normal then the hoof was hurting.  She also taught us how to make duct tape squares to keep the bandages on the hoof from falling off. 

We helped Dr. Amy carry her supplies down in the mule because it was a very hot day and a far walk to carry everything.  She advised us to keep Lizzy away from the other horses until there was significant improvement.  Before she left, we gave her a dozen farm fresh eggs which she kept in her cooler with her medicines.

Early this morning, we noticed Lizzy walking a lot better after we gave her bute and soaked her hooves.  We also received an email from Dr. Amy who confirmed that Lizzy has lamititis.  She said that it could be cured but there is always a chance it will come back.  She also suggested to tell the farrier to trim the toes so she is leaning more on her heels.  She also sent us a link to a website that sells horse orthodics.  Dr. Amy said to keep Lizzy locked in her stall so the other horses don't pester her but we can let her out on the lawn for short periods of time. 

The farrier comes back on Tuesday but time will tell.  We will continue to take care of her with all of Dr. Amy's instructions.  So far, Lizzie is looking good.



A Weekend on the Lake by Julia

by Embrace Country Life on 08/20/12

On Friday, me and my whole family went to my grandma and grandpa's house.  They live on a lake.  My mom made coffee cake!  Yummy!

When we got there, we saw a pickle ball court that wasn't there last year.  So we got out of the car and started playing.

When we finished our game of pickle ball, we went on the jet skis.  I went with my dad.  We went REALLY fast.  When we got back, it was my sister's turn to go with my dad.  After we watched the jet ski go out on the lake until we couldn't see it anymore, my sister and I went to the pickle ball court again and played another game.  When we finished our game, they were still not back.  My sister, Alicia got angry and here is the story why they weren't back:

They were driving and they saw a house that was for sale so they were looking at it.  Then they saw something silver in the lake so they went to it and it was a dead fish!  My dad stopped the jet ski to look at the dead fish.  When they said, "Let's go back now," they got caught by tons of seaweed and they couldn't move at all.  My dad was still on the jet ski and pulled the seaweed out.  Then he tried it but it still didn't work so they started to wait for someone to come rescue them.  I kept telling Alicia to go see where they are and she said, "no, no, not without dad."  So, back to the story...Daddy got impatient of waiting so he got in the water and saw a big, big seaweed and pulled it out.  Then, he got the jet ski working so they rushed back to grandma and grandpa's house.  When me and my sister saw them, we ran down to the dock and I told my dad that Sarah got a longer time on the jet ski then I did!  Sarah said, "I got stuck." Then Alicia took a jet ski out by herself because she has her license and Sarah and I went with Dad.  When we headed back home, Alicia said, "Let's do a race."  So, Daddy went REALLY fast to win but Alicia went faster because we were on the older jet ski.  Then, it was time for dinner so we put the jet skis away.

Before we started dinner, Grandpa said a little prayer.  After dinner we went to bed.  We slept in a room with four bunkbeds.  I slept on the top of the third bunk bed.

When we woke up we ate breakfast then we played pickle ball.  Then, we went on the jet skis again. When we got back, our grandma said that we were going on the new boat.  So, we all got on and when we were far out on the lake, Taylor went wake boarding.  He was doing jumps and flips in the air.  Next, it was Megan's turn.  She jumped over the wake and onto the other one.  After Megan's turn, we started going back for dinner.  When we got back, I went in the hot tub.  This night, grandma said a prayer and we ate dinner.  After dinner, grandpa made a fire and we roasted marshmallows.  Then we went to bed.

The next day we went wake surfing.  When it was my turn, I couldn't surf with the surf board so Mr. Mansfield brought out a wake board.  He tied my feet so I couldn't move.  One time I fell and I couldn't move my legs the right way to turn around so he picked me up and put me back in the water the right way.  Then, I tried again and stayed up for a little while but then I fell.  It was still fun!  Everyone but grandpa got a turn.  Grandma even went!  She tried to get up a couple of times and when she got up she held on for dear life!  When we got back, grandma ordered pizzas and we ate the pizza.  Then we went back home.

I love going to the lake because my grandparents are nice and we have fun in the lake!

Training Sassy by Sarah

by Embrace Country Life on 08/14/12

Everyday since July 26, 2012 I have been training my horse Sassy.  You are probably wondering why would you start training your horse on the 26th?  Well, the 26th was when the horse shows started at the Broome County Fair.  I saw all of the other horses in the shows and I could imagine Sassy in that arena winning all of the blue ribbons.  But I realized that Sassy was not the best horse, and I would have to train her A LOT!  But I was up for it!  So when I got home I said to myself "Everyday I will ride Sassy until winter, and then after winter I will ride her everyday until the Broome County Fair."  So everyday I ride her in both Western and English since I plan on doing both riding styles in the fair.  I don't just train her with what I know, whenever I go to my riding lessons up in Dryden I always ask Jean what I should do when Sassy does this and that.  So everyday If you look outside Mountain Breeze Acres you will see me riding Sassy in the arena, pasture, or around the house.  Or you can find me in the barn sitting on Sassy's back, bareback, reading.  I love Sassy and I can't wait to see her in the 2013 Broome County Fair! 

Blueberry Picking at Our Green Acres by Alicia

by Embrace Country Life on 07/12/12

Have you ever gone to a U-Pick farm and picked fresh blueberries?  Well today, my family along with the Stockwin Family, Emily S. and Molly P. decided that we should go blueberry picking.  We determined to go to Our Green Acres because we have never been there before and we could use our ECL discount card to get 10% off our purchase.  We drove to Owego and arrived at the farm stand.  We experienced a lot of fresh produce for sale and pumpkins growing in the field adjacent to the farm stand.  We got our buckets weighed by a kind, older gentleman and then he directed us to the fields where the blueberry bushes are located. 

The field had a large selection of blueberry bushes and a plentiful amount of blueberries.  After picking (and eating) many plump and delicious blueberries, filling our buckets to the top, and having tons of fun, we went back to the farm stand and paid for them and used our discount cards to get 10% off.  Everyone had a blast picking blueberries, talking, and having a tiny blueberry fight with the green blueberries in Addie's bucket. 

Just before we left, my mom purchased farm fresh honey.  She says that if we have a teaspoon of honey a day it will help our seasonal allergies to go away.  I plan on having some on top of my vanilla ice cream with some rainbow sprinkles and blueberries on top.  Yum!  My mom is making blueberry buckle with the blueberries we picked today.  She is freezing the rest so we can eat farm fresh blueberries on our oatmeal on cold, winter mornings when we have NYS tests to help with our memory.

I love blueberries and had so much fun picking (and eating) them.  I can't wait to go back to Our Green Acres to pick some other fruits and veggies!

My favorite TV show is starting soon so I have to go and dish out my ice cream.  :)
I bet it will taste great!

Farmers Markets and this month's fundraiser choice!

by Embrace Country Life on 07/01/12

We have had a great week checking out the local farmers' markets.  We went up to Highland Park on Tuesday night and purchased some cauliflower, snap peas, and yellow squash.  The girls had eaten all the peas in the car before we even got home.  Such a great snack!

Cliff and I woke up bright and early yesterday to head over to Otsiningo Park's Farmers Market. It was great! We bought English muffin bread from Full Quiver Farm and snap peas, yellow squash and cauliflower from Gorman's farm. Both farms were on our discount card. There were several other farmers on the card set up at Otsiningo as well. Go to the website and get your card!  You won't be disappointed!

Last month 50% of our proceeds from selling the cards went to the girls' Relay for Life team for the American Cancer Society.  This month we will be donating $5 of every $10 for each card sold to Clarabug's Quest for a Cure. 

Clara was the daughter of Bruce and Kristin Condie of Apalachin. Clara was born in July of 2001. She was a happy, healthy child for two years. But on September 2, 2003, Clara was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. She spent 3-1/2 weeks fighting that awful disease at University Hospital in Syracuse. Unfortunately the disease won. Clara’s beautiful life came to a tragic end on September 25th. Clara's parents' hearts were broken that day and they made it their goal to help prevent this from happening in the future. Clarabug's Quest for a Cure has helped support the organizations that helped them during our most difficult life trials: Ronald McDonald House, Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Now, they are raising funds to have a room dedicated in Clara's memory at the Central New York Children’s Hospital in Syracuse, NY.
Clara's sister is a member of Girl Scout Troop #106. Her troop would like to help her raise money to reach Clarabug's Quest for a Cure's goal.  This month, Girl Scout Troop #106 will be selling Embrace Country Life discount cards.  If you know a girl scout in the troop, you can order the cards through them or directly through our website.  We are hoping to make a big donation for such a worthwhile cause.  Thanks for your help!




Fresh Chicken!

by Embrace Country Life on 06/09/12

I have to admit when the discount cards arrived last week, our whole family was excited!  We have several different groups selling them for fundraisers.  We have also been selling them from the website and the people buying them are excited as well!  If you haven't checked them out, please do!  They cost $10 with $5 going to charity.  This month's charity on the website is the American Cancer Society.  You will easily recover your $10 using the card a few times.  Many places like the two, big health stores in the area and The Whole in the Wall restaurant let you use the card for 10% off every time you visit!

This summer, the girls and I plan to visit as many farms and farm-related businesses.  We have several families who want to join us on our "Embrace Country Life" tour.  I know the kids will have a ball and I plan to learn a lot about eating healthier.

The highlight of our week was when Joe Wickman from Hill Haven Farm visited us.  He came with a fresh chicken, processed hours earlier, ready for the oven!  Joe and his wife, Kelcy just started raising chickens at their farm.  The chicken that was delivered to us was from their first flock.  It was so nice of them to deliver one to us!

We had so many different activities this week:  Julia's recorder concert, Sarah's chorus concert, Alicia's soccer game, and a literacy night at one of my schools~we couldn't eat the chicken until last night.  FRESH chicken, mashed potatoes, and fresh carrots.  It was a delicious dinner!!

Sunscreen vs. No Sunscreen

by Embrace Country Life on 05/29/12

Dr. Joseph Mercola  says...

DID YOU KNOW…that sun exposure and ultraviolet rays are not the cause of melanoma? Instead, ample sun exposure helps your body produce vitamin D3, which may reduce your risk of skin cancer, as well as 16 different types of cancer.

What do you all think of this?  I am freaking out.  For 14 years I have been lathering my kids in sunscreen so thick they look like clowns...I thought I was doing the right thing.  Every where you turn, they were saying the sun is BAD!  But I know the sun is important for Vitamin D and now they are linking many autoimmune diseases to lack of Vitamin D...Which is better...a burn, possible melanoma or autoimmune disease????

I think this summer I am taking the middle of the road.  I have posted a link on our Healthy Living Links page for a sunscreen recipe.  At least I will know what I am rubbing on my kids.  Have you ever read the back of the sunscreen bottle?  Scary to say the least.

I also think I will wait a little longer to put it on than I usually do...I'll let them get some of that super powerful vitamin D.

I would love to hear what you all think of this debate.  Please add comments below.  If you have issues with the security image, please let me know.  I know it has prevented some of you from responding in the past but hopefully it is now rectified.  

Summer is in the air!

by Embrace Country Life on 05/25/12

I know the summer is getting close by the amount of time it takes my family to do barn chores.  In the winter, the girls seem to spend more time getting dressed and undressed for barn chores than they actually spend outside in the barn!

But now that summer is approaching I don't see them for hours when it's time for chores!  Just about every night in the summer, they take each horse for a walk.  Then they tie them up and proceed to brush and bathe them.  The horses actually like the cool water rubbed all over them.  The goat, on the other hand, did not seem very happy with the bath idea tonight!  

I get exhausted just watching the girls.  After brushing and bathing all the horses and the unwilling goat, they proceed to take care of our farm dog, Scooby.  Next, it is the chickens but Cliff ends up doing the chores in that stall.  The chickens are a little intimidating to say the least...they really have no fear...and the girls do!  

There is so much for them to do outside when chores are finished.  Tonight, they were on the swings, played a round of kickball, did a few laps on their bikes around the garage and even helped to clean out the van!  See what I mean about feeling exhausted watching them???

The moon is just coming up right now.  When I was growing up in Mahwah, NJ, my mother told my siblings and I we had to be home when the streets lights came on.  In the country, there are no street lights so the girls don't come in until I go and find them!  When they do finally come in, they will be filthy and exhausted...but very content.  I love that they will always have these memories of our summer nights! 

The babies have arrived!

by Embrace Country Life on 05/15/12

On Monday, the three eggs in the nest at TJW Elementary School hatched!  The students and staff are so excited!  The mother robin who was named RozElla by the students is taking wonderful care of her babies. 

During the last two days it has been pouring in the Southern Tier.  I found myself walking into the school this morning getting very excited for RozElla.  Why?  There were worms all over the sidewalk.  I was thinking it might be an easy morning for Rozella.  No digging necessary...all she has to do is take a quick flight over the sidewalk and she would have enough worms to feed those hungry babies for a few hours!

Many students and I have had the opportunity to watch RozElla feed her young.  The babies have their mouths wide open just waiting for their mom to come back and drop a juicy, worm in.  RozElla drops the end of the worm in one mouth and the other end in another's mouth.  At one point there were two babies sharing the worm like a spaghetti noodle!

The walls in the hallway are filling up with poems, fun facts, and pictures of robins.  This is a learning experience the students at TJW will never forget!!!

Red-Tailed Hawk at Cornell~Live Stream

by Embrace Country Life on 05/11/12

Julia and I have been watching the Mama robin at my school...unfortunately, since the eggs haven't hatched yet...there isn't a lot of action. A colleague told me about a red-tailed hawk and her young that are living at Cornell University. Below is the link to the livestream. I will give a little warning that the mother hawk brings its prey (squirrels, mice, etc.) to the nest to feed her young. It is fascinating to watch!

Mama Bird - Livestream

by Embrace Country Life on 05/11/12

Thanks to our U-E computer services department, you can now watch our mama bird via this livestream:

It will be up and running 24/7.  As of today, she is still sitting on 4 eggs!  The excitement is building at TJW in anticipation of her eggs hatching!  Check it out!

The Search for the Perfect Teacher Appreciation Gift

by Embrace Country Life on 05/09/12

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  It is the one week out of the year that we take the time to thank those responsible for educating our children.  Our children are with their teachers for seven hours a day.  Teachers in 2012 are responsible for teaching the core curriculum but that is just the tip of the iceberg.  It is what is NOT on the state's evaluations that make a great teacher.  S/he listens, understands, encourages, and cares. We can all remember our favorite teacher! 

After school, we went to Lone Maple Farm in Binghamton, NY.  We were greeted by the owners, Mike and Evelyn.  Mike and Cliff went to SV High School together.  Lone Maple Farm has been in Mike's family for generations.  I told Mike I was interested in buying something for my children's teachers.  Since two of our girls are in middle school I needed a total of 25 gifts.  There were jams, baked goods, honey, and so much more from which to choose!  After much deliberation, Mike took us out to his greenhouse.  He had a wide assortment of annuals, hanging baskets, and vegetables.  They were beautiful!  We decided on several different kinds of potted annuals. 

Tonight, the girls are decorating little, flower shape cards to stick in the pots with the flowers.  They are writing simple thank you notes such as "Thank you for making my brain grow" (Language Arts Teacher) and "Thank you for helping my body grow stronger" (PE teacher).  I am watching them take the time to make each note special...their heart-felt thoughts on each card is the real gift.

Lone Maple Farm is another example of a local business with so much to offer their customers.  They grow their own produce, bake their own baked goods, and make their own jams.  For the last several years, they have made their own wine as well.  This Mother's Day you can head to Lone Maple Farm for a day of wine tasting.  They are also giving out a free dessert to all moms.  Sounds like a great day to me! 

"Embrace the Country" during Teacher Appreciation Week and this Mother's Day!!!

Teachable Moments

by Embrace Country Life on 05/03/12

My job as a literacy coordinator affords me the opportunity to work with wonderful teachers and students on a daily basis.  One of my roles as an LC is to provide professional development for the teachers.  This year our focus has been on non-fiction writing.  We studied the book, A Place For Wonder by Georgia Heard.  It is a wonderful book to introduce children to writing about things they wonder about.  Unfortunately, in this day and age of fast video games, texting, TV, etc., children do not take the time to wonder...especially about nature.  The teachers I work with embraced this notion of wonderment and provided wonder boxes filled with articles from nature such as shells, rocks, pinecones, etc.  Some purchased ant farms, squirrel feeders, and goldfish.  The students observed and took notes, wrote stories, and poems.  They were like sponges trying to soak up everything they could!

So, how does my job fit into my blog?  Last week, my worlds collided when I noticed a robin building a nest in the courtyard of one of the schools I work at...and today, she was sitting on her nest.  It has created such an excitement throughout the building.  One teacher even climbed on a ladder to take a photo of the inside of the nest and discovered three,beautiful, turquoise eggs!  My own children have seen birds' nests and have hatched eggs in incubators but for some of the children we teach, this is their first experience with a bird hatching eggs.  It is such a display of unconditional love.  Even with all the eyes staring at her all day, she remains dedicated to her nest.  I have never seen students walk in the hallways so quietly so as not to scare the mom away!  We are all lured to the window as we walk by hoping to catch a glimpse of those eggs.  I believe we all have the "wonderment" of nature.  Unfortunately, not all of us have the opportunity to embrace it like those of us in the country.

I am so excited for the students in our school who will be able to observe the miracle of those hatching eggs.  We are hoping to set up a livestream, so everyone will be able to watch them when they can.  The miracle of nature is all around...even where we least expect it...lucky us!

​Sarah and Julia with "LIzzy" at our hobby farm, Mountain Breeze Acres.
​Cliff and Julia building the new chicken coop!
The girls took first place in the Costume Class at the Broome County Fair!
Sarah jumping Flash on a cool Winter day.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our farm to you!
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Feeding the birds on a cold winter day.
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