Time to register for Farm Camp 2020

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Sage with a good sized Boer kid

Camp dates are all set for this year. As always registration is first-come-first-serve. We will have lambs, goat kids, chicks, turkey poults, piglets and our wonderful rescue donkey, Mabel.  New for 2020 we took in a rescue miniature pony mare that is due to have a foal sometime this spring! I look forward to seeing many returning campers this spring and summer! Learn more and sign up for camp here.

  • Week 1 – February 17-21 / February Vacation Camp
  • Week 2 – April 20-24 / April Vacation Camp
  • Week 3 –  June 27-July 3 / Summer Camp
  • Week 4 – July 6-10 / Summer Camp FULL
  • Week 5 – July 20-24 / Farm and Martial Arts Week

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The new addition to the lambing barn is finally done! It is all bedded and read for sheep. Lambing will start in March. The first calf is due the end of February and the second calf is due the middle of March. The Goats will be kidding in April! We have decided to add some extra camp weeks this year and limit the number of campers each week. New this year will be an April Vacation Camp to run from April 18 – 22. During the summer we are offering 3 weeks. The first is June 27 – July 1. Week 2 is a 4 day week running from July 5 -8. And Week 3 runs from July 18 – 22. Contact us before sending off your registration form as camps are filling up fast.

Another new addition this year is my new border collie puppy Tilly. She comes to me from Barb Leverett in New York and is coming along well in her training. Look for more pictures of her on sheep this spring.

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Enjoy these photographs from week 2 of camp. Lots of smiling faces and happy animals.

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It’s been a busy winter so far. I actually wish it was a bit snowier though, despite all the extra work. The snow really helps to insulate the ground. It also makes it much easier for the horses to walk around. Everyone is tiptoeing carefully over the frozen ruts. Margo and Sherry, my two lowline cows are bred. Sherry is due in March and is enormous and Margo is due in May. We have a new Nigerian dwarf buck, Five Acres Harold and all of the older does are bred. I will be breeding the doelings starting the end of this month to coincide with the 2010 summer Farm Camp. Farm camp dates this year are July 12 – 16, and July 19 – 23. My sister Dana has been helping me to update my website and we should have camp information and registration forms available online by the end of this weekend. All of the ewes are bred and due to start lambing in March. The ewes will be sheared on saturday, February 20th by my good friend and shearer, Andy Rice of Hoggett Hill Farm in Halifax Vermont.

The rest of the fleeces have been sent off to become blankets. I am getting lap blankets this year, along with the queensize blankets I have gotten in the past. Can’t wait to see them! If they come back in time I hope to have them at the Food For Thought winter farmers market being held February 27th at the Turners Falls High School from 9 AM to noon. I will be sharing space at a booth there with Denise Leonard of Tanstaafl Farm, Greenfield. We will have grass fed lamb, sausage,  and kebobs along with recipes, blankets, fleeces, photographs and some hand made crafts available.

Tom and Travis spent a day dropping 8 trees behind the lambing barn to make way for the start of an addition to run the length of the old tobacco barn. This will house the border collies kennel, the lambing/kidding pen, a calving pen and some hay storage. Just never seem to have enough space! The original part of the barn will be finished off as a garage/workshop for Tom and Travis and their toys and projects.

I miss riding my great little cow horse, Rio. Her shoes are pulled and she is on winter break. I really got hooked on versatile working cow horse competitions with her this past year. She is really starting to “get it” with the cows. Just need to keep at it.

I enter 2010 feeling blessed that I am fortunate to spend time daily on a farm working with animals. I also feel blessed to have another job working with children as their school nurse. When I get to combine the two in my summer camp I feel like the luckiest person in the world. So look for more updates soon, stay warm and keep smiling.

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We are home in the US and tomorrow I will make the final drive to my own home. Feels good to be home and to be able to brush my teeth by running the toothbrush under the faucet instead of having to open bottled water. Oh the little things we take for granted. I have been up for 48 hours and can barely keep my eyes open. I was last in a bed saturday night at 10:30 PM EST. This is going to feel sooooooo good!

See you all at NES on Thursday!


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Sunday, 2009-11-05

Interesting, the computer here automatically wrote the date the way they usually write it over here in India. The year is first, then the month, then the day. Hard to believe that it is already November and that our trip is coming to an end. We fly from Udaipur to Delhi this afternoon and then fly out at 1:40 AM from Delhi to Amsterdam, then on to Montreal and drive home from there! We will have been traveling for 30 hours by the time we reach Montreal.

This has truly been a once in a life time trip. My first ever venture into Asia, but possibly not my last. It has been like stepping into the pages of a novel. Everything is so different here from anything I have yet experienced. Different language, different food, different money, different religions and different cultural philosophies shaping their daily lives. There has been so much to learn and absorb! My parents have gone off with our guide this morning for one more temple visit in the mountains, but I felt like I needed to sit and do some writing while it was all still new. I most likely will not have access to a computer again until I reach home.

Yesterday I spent the day with a man I had found through a friend of a friend prior to leaving the USA. His name is Ganesh Sharma and he is a very generous and interesting man. His father was a Hindu priest and he himself ran away from school when he was younger (his words) because he wanted to become a monk. He studied for 8 years with 3 different Yogi’s (Holy men). After 8 years his Yogi told him it was time for him to resume his other life. He told me it took him 2 years to settle back into a “normal” life. He continues to meditate daily and he is very spiritual. He is possibly the most peaceful person I have ever met. There is such a quality of contentment and calm around him. He took me to visit a family in their home. The woman had given birth to her first boy 13 days earlier. In India, it is tradition for the daughter to return home to her mothers house for the birth of their first “issue” child. This couple now live in Malaysia where the husband is a successful software engineer. They returned to her parents house in Udaipur in time for the birth. I was treated to a visit by a woman considered a “traditional nurse”. She is a lay person that helps with deliveries, like a lay midwife might do in the USA. She also visits for a few weeks after the birth to give both the infant and his mother massages. The massages for the baby are quite stimulating! This mother delivered her child in a hospital. The government of India is trying to encourage families to deliver in hospitals or clinics to decrease the incidence of both infection and tetanus. They pay the new family Rs. 1500 for each hospital delivery. Very different than in our country! This mother spoke excellent English and asked me many questions about feeding the baby, the fontanels, and normal development. It was nice to be able to provide some teaching. No matter what country you live in, having a baby is having a baby and the basic care of both mother and child are similar. At one point the baby was make some burbling sounds and I told her he was speaking the universal language of all infants!

After the visit to this family, which was quite well off financially, we visited a rural clinic. The doctor had gone home for the day, but it was staffed 24 hours a day with a head nurse, that was a man at this clinic, and several nursing students. There were two patients in the woman’s section. The room had 8 rough beds in a fairly open ward. One patient was in there because she had been having fevers, and the other had delivered a child at 11 AM, just 4 hours before we arrived. She and her child were healthy and resting together on the small cot. They were from a very rural tribe and had travelled to the clinic for the delivery. Here mother was there with her as well. Because she had delivered in the clinic she would receive the money for her child. I was able to give both woman some small items for themselves and the baby along with a small donation. With the translation from our guide, the grandmother told us that she would not have accepted the money for themselves, but that she would accept it for the child and that she felt her grandson would be lucky because he was born on the day that I came to the clinic. Almost made me cry!

No one in India is turned away for medical services. Some people have insurance, much like we do, some pay for services and those living in poverty are given a card that gives them access to health services. If you don’t have a card, as the delivering woman did not, they will arrange to get you one and you are never turned away.

The nurses in India do not have as much autonomy as the nurses in the USA. On the other hand, due to shortages of help and staff in the more rural areas, I suspect their practice actually has a much greater scope than most of the nurses in the USA experience.

After the rural clinic, we visited a private clinic with a pharmacy at the front of it. It was run by a couple. The wife was the pharmacist, after having completed 3 years of our equivalent of college and the husband was a male nurse and worked with a doctor. I spoke for quite awhile with the pharmacist. She told me she had recently also taken more school to become a midwife and that she and her husband wanted to travel to the US to work. She was very curious about what other schooling she would need to be able to practice in the US. I left her my email address and the promise to connect her with the appropriate registration boards so that she could pursue this goal. I also finally was able to buy some more antacid, as my stomach was starting to rebel against all the spicy food!

We had originally planned to visit a school after this, but since Ganesh refused to take any money for his time, I had asked if I could make a donation to a charity of his choice. He told me of an orphanage that was near where he lived that was run almost entirely on donations that could desperately use the money. This was a small private home owned by a man that was himself a Yogi, or Holy man. He employed a few woman and took in infants and small children and placed them for adoption. He did not get help, or very, very little, from the government. He also screened potential adoptive parents and followed up to see that they were providing both physically and emotionally for the children, all on his own. They have a small wooden cradle up at about shoulder height outside, with a roof over it. If any woman has a child that she cannot keep or care for, for any reason, they may leave it in the cradle and close the top and it will be taken care of by the orphanage. They also take in children through other avenues as well. When we visited they had 10 children from the age of 6 months to 3 years. The youngest had been born quite prematurely, and been left on the steps of a temple. It was very sick and weak when found and spent over a month in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) in the hospital. It was then placed with this orphanage for care and looked quite strong and healthy at our visit! Needless to say I emptied my wallet for them. What warm and generous people they were!

What a special way to end my trip here in India. I wish I could have done more of this sort of visit and a few less temples and palaces. But we take what we can get! I feel very fortunate to not only have had the experience of a lifetime, but to have been able to share it with my parents.

This trip has reminded me to keep my mind and my heart always open to the points of view and philosophies of others, and makes me appreciate what I have and where I live more than ever!


Time to register for Farm Camp 2020

Sign up for Little Brook Farm Camp now – there are five weeks to choose from and as usual, it’s first-come-first-serve!

Easter Bunny sightings

There have been multiple Easter Bunny sightings here on the farm in the past few days. I have some seriously tolerant animals. Love the expressions on some of their faces!

Farm-raised turkeys

Order a home-grown, free-range bird, from 15 to 30 pounds, available in September-October.