2013 Family Photo

2013 Family Photo
by Michele deCamp; edited by Mark Butto

Friday, July 18, 2014

Welcome Back Old Friends

    Good Evening,
    Summer is in full bloom.  Endless hours of sunshine and balmy temperatures provide the perfect antidote for winter woes.  My animals and I are fully connected again; basking in our mutual affection and respect for each other.    Circadian rhythm during the summer lifts the mood and intensifies gratitude for all that I have.  Life....is good.
    Summer also welcomes the return of several special residents at Moose River Farm.  Over the winter months I have thought of them often.  Reuniting with them in late spring soothes my soul and elevates my respect for their ability to endure the harshness of our environment.  All too soon some of my friends will disappear into the earth when shorter days and cooling temperatures send them scurrying back into hibernation.  Others will migrate to lands far away.  Until then I take great pleasure in our time together.

This water bug spends the winter submerged under pond ice, unaffected by the cold.
George, the garter snake has made an appearance every summer for three years.  This year he is residing near the garden.

A handsome toad named Fatty and his buddy Fatty Too, have preyed on moths at the front of the barn for at least 5 years.  During the winter I miss them and wonder how close by they are 'sleeping'.  
The Green Dragon is a relative of the Jack in the Pulpit.  I successfully transplanted it from my grandmother's garden many years ago.  Annually and dutifully it returns to prompt happy memories from my past.

Several snowshoe hares reside at MRF.  They wear winter white during the other half of the year and leave compelling evidence as to the size of their large hind feet in the snow.

Hummingbird drama begins in early June once they've returned from the south.  Vibrating stares through the kitchen window plead with us to assemble and fill their feeders.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Mixing Business with Pleasure...2014

 Good Evening,
Hard to believe that another school year has come and gone.  My fifth grade students have worked hard these last ten months.  In mid-June we celebrated the end of a successful year with a day at Moose River Farm.  Once again, I shared the animals with 11-12 year olds who have listened to the antics and escapades of the critters who share my life.  The students have heard about the night that searching for Bing and Frankie in the dark brought an end to my donkeys' freedom.  Although this was a sad moment for the donks, it has led them to a purpose far more important than living a carefree existence unrestrained by fences.  
    My students know about the night that Rosemary, the iguana, nearly froze to death. After the long cruel winter of ‘14 appeared to be over in April, she exited through the dog door and remained outside for hours in a snowstorm. These adventures will find their way into my next book.
The students have also listened intently as I read excerpts from my first book, Finding My Way to Moose River Farm, at various occasions throughout the year.  
    Of course nothing brings the animals to life more effectively than getting to know them personally.  Having a head and shoulder massage from Easau’s muscular upper lip creates a special bond between horse and child.  So too, does climbing up on Ben, Spirit, Joshua and Tango, the four majestic mounts who provided pony rides that day.  
    A hike with 5 dogs, Fiona the pig and Rosemary, the iguana provided the students with a special mix of species with whom to enjoy the beauty of this glorious region in which we live.  Sunshine warmed our path along the open field and around the run-off pond at the bottom of the sandpit hill.  My long-haired dachshund, Hayden and a visiting collie, Tondi waded up to their bellies.  Three boys succeeded in capturing slippery frogs without the aid of a net. Thankfully, Hayden was not aware of this.  He is an avid frog hunter.  
   In preparation for the trip, my class and I spent lots of conversations discussing how to remain safe around large and unfamiliar animals.  Throughout the day at the farm the students made exceptional efforts to monitor their noise and energy levels.  As a result the animals remained calm; engaging with their guests the whole day.  This is proof to me that expectations can be achieved when taught.
    One young lady remarked, “Mrs. Phinney, it is so quiet here.”
    “Yes, Haili, I agree.”

Photos by Michele deCamp

Our Principal, Mr. Swick rode Ben at MRF.  photo by Megan Ulrich

"My favorite part of the day was riding Spirit without anybody helping me."  Brooke

"My favorite part was....well, all of it; all the animals show such feeling and cuteness!"  Haili
"My favorite part was catching frogs with the dogs and my friends and of course, Fiona."  Ethan
"I liked catching frogs at Moose River Farm."  Jonathan
"The best part of my day was when we caught frogs in the pond."  Porter
"This is Tango in the stable."  Alana
"My favorite part was being in the saddle on Josh."  Maddie
"My favorite part was walking through the field with Huxley the dachshund."  Dawson
"My favorite part of the fieldtrip was when we played kickball with the dog, Tondi.  It was funny watching her try to get the ball in her mouth."  Reagan
"My favorite part was riding the horses."  Stefanie
"My favorite part was petting and riding the horses."  Alison
"My favorite part of the day at MRF was when we walked with the dogs."  Annaliese
"My favorite part of the trip was the hike with the dogs and Fiona."  Jens
"My favorite part of the trip was spending time with Sandi and the donkeys."  Lexi
"My favorite part was seeing Spirit, (Supreme's Golden Spirit)."  Renee
"My favorite thing at Mrs. Phinney's farm was all the animals."  Anthony
"My favorite thing was riding Spirit."  Laura
"My favorite time was when we played kickball and Tondi tried to get the ball from us."  Tyler
"My favorite part was riding Ben in the yard."  Brady
"Bing and Frankie taking the lead for Sandi was my favorite thing."  Jennifer
"My favorite part of the trip was when we went and saw Sandi the blind horse."  Cameron