Elderberry Tree

Elderberry BushWith the help of my dad, I also discovered that our front yard has a cluster of mature and young Elderberry (black berry) Trees. Some are being choked out by some other bushes and trees but I will be sure to open these right up again.

Elderberry have a very long history and value to our current and past customs. St Germain liquor is made from the flowers (my favorite), berries can be cooked and eaten or made in to jams, the wood is used to make hard wood tools, pipes and flutes.
The tree is claimed to be to spirit of the Elder Mother witch:

“The Elder Mother is thought to be the guardian of the elder trees, and it was said, until recent times in various parts of England and Scandinavia that to take wood from the elder tree one would have to ask the Elder Mother first, or else ill luck would befall the woodsman. The woodsman would have to ask the Elder Mother like so:

“Old girl, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree.”

Forestry and Logging · Uncategorized

A letter to our Forester and Loggers

Dear Robert,

Both Jared and I want to let you know that we are extremely happy with the work done at our property. It seems that the crew is wrapping up this morning. A sad day knowing that their trucks pulling in will no longer serve as my alarm clock, the whirling sound of the wood chipper will be gone and the progress of “money” trees have all been spent and hauled away. We had a chance to drive down through the property on our ATV yesterday using the very established and well groomed roads. Despite how thin the forest looks compared to where it was when we started, it is still quite beautiful and full of life. We stirred up a few deer and watched a few hawks exploring the exposed grounds. The views of the surrounding hills and valleys are picturesque. We had no idea that the property had so many unique points, rock faces and views.

Most importantly, everything that we agreed to do was done just as described. The hemlocks seem quite stately and established on the lower half of the property, the boundary hardwoods remain intact and the diameter cut left us with large pockets of hardwood trees and pine. We are anxious to see what our first spring and summer will look like out there and hope you will continue to be involved in the future of this new forest. We welcome you any time to explore the grounds.
Im sure I’ve said many previous times but the clearing done around the house is still mind blowing for us. To look out of our front porch and see out as far as we can and have full access to the property is something we did not envision when we purchased the property. Fencing will go up soon and the grazing flock will become a dream much sooner thanks to all that hard work.

Let us know what we can expect from here on.

Please let us know how we can share our appreciation to the logging crew and for your business. I will gladly share any referrals or testimonials as a testament to the professionalism and honesty from the entire crew. Jeremy and his staff were always courteous, professional and respectful to us and our property.

Now the real hard work will begin for us with the renovations to the barn, planting our Christmas and fruit trees, installing fencing and introducing our livestock, something we have been anxious to get back into. We value any insight, ideas, suggestions, anything in regards to your personal and professional experience. For starters: what do you know about commercial wood chippers? (seriously though, Jared found an older used one that we might be interested in buying)

Thanks  again and see you soon.


Clearing the land for agricultural use

We teamed up with a Forester to consider the best way to reclaim up to 20 acres of land for agricultural use (we have 100 acres total.) Unlike most people who want to sell their most valuable hardwood trees and cash them in for money, we wanted to do the opposite but at no cost to us. We had the land inspected by both the forester and logger and entered into an agreement to have all of the pine, hemlock, ect cut and leave the large stately hardwood trees.

Our property consist of Maple, Poplar, Birch, Beech, Pine, Hemlock, Cedar and Oak among others. We have some very prominent areas of mostly hardwood vs softwood.

Once the area we designated was cleared it opened up a large view of the surround town hill-scape. The clearing also opened up due east exposure so this hill will do best for our early season crops and warming up the various huts for our livestock. Plus it provides a gorgeous view.


Livestock Guardian Dog · Uncategorized

Wayah, The Livestock Guardian Dog

Introducing our first and most important livestock investment: A 24 hour Livestock Guardian Dog security system. No batteries required.

We have named her Wayah “way-yah” Cherokee for Wolf. To further explain the unique name, she simply looks like a Wolf and is bred to “keep the wolves away.” If she is a Wolf then she is certainly hiding in sheeps clothing or lambs clothing at that. She currently has a very dense soft wool like fur. At 10 weeks old she stands taller than our smallest dog and is catching up quickly with our German Wirehair Pointer, Hex, who stands at 50 lbs and almost 36″.

Wayah was born 9/26/2015 in a shelter in Georgia. From what I have been told her breeder mother and father were dropped off at a high kill shelter. After being dropped off they discovered that the mother was pregnant. These, unfortunately, are some of the first animals to be destroyed since they lack the funds and space to raise their puppies. The kind folks at the Great Pyrenees Rescue of New England pulled the mother out of the shelter and put them into their rescue. They were transported from Georgia to New Hampshire, just two towns from our house.

From the American Kennel Club description:

General Appearance

The Great Pyrenees dog conveys the distinct impression of elegance and unsurpassed beauty combined with great overall size and majesty. He has a white or principally white coat that may contain markings of badger, gray, or varying shades of tan. He possesses a keen intelligence and a kindly, while regal, expression. Exhibiting a unique elegance of bearing and movement, his soundness and coordination show unmistakably the purpose for which he has been bred, the strenuous work of guarding the flocks in all kinds of weather on the steep mountain slopes of the Pyrenees.

Great Pyrenees

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Other names:
Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Montañés del Pirineo
Gos de muntanya dels Pirineus
Chien des Pyrénées
Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées

Country of origin
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog, known as the Great Pyrenees in North America, is a large breed of dog used as a livestock guardian dog. It should not be confused with the Pyrenean Mastiff.

The Great Pyrenees is a very old breed that has been used for hundreds of years by shepherds, including those of the Basque people, who inhabit parts of the region in and around the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France and northern Spain.[2] One of the first descriptions of the breed dates from 1407, and from 1675 the breed was a favorite of The Grand Dauphin and other members of the French aristocracy.[3] By the early nineteenth century there was a thriving market for the dogs in mountain towns, from which they would be taken to other parts of France. The dog was developed to be agile in order to guard sheep on steep, mountainous slopes.[4]

As late as 1874 the breed was not completely standardized in appearance, with two major sub-types recorded, the Western and the Eastern.[5] They are related to several other large white European livestock guardian dogs (LGD), including the Italian Maremma Sheepdog, Kuvasz (Hungary), Akbash Dog (Turkey) and Polish Tatra or Polski Owczarek Podhalański, and somewhat less closely to the Newfoundland and St. Bernard. According to the Great Pyrenees Club of America, the Great Pyrenees is naturally nocturnal and aggressive with any predators that may harm its flock. However, the breed can typically be trusted with small, young, and helpless animals of any kind due to its natural guardian instinct.[6]

The Great Pyrenees breed has experienced a dramatic fall off in the number of U.S. AKC breed registrations from 2000 to 2010.[7] The breed was ranked at #45 in 2000 and by 2010 Great Pyrenees had dropped to #71. In 2013 the breed was ranked #69. Other large breeds in the same working group classification, Newfoundland and St. Bernard, have fared far better in maintaining their breed rankings. In 2010 Newfoundland and St. Bernard were ranked #44 and #45 respectively.


A Great Pyrenees guarding sheep
Males grow to 110–120 pounds (50–54 kg) and 27–32 inches (69–81 cm), while females reach 85–100 pounds (39–45 kg) and 25–29 inches (64–74 cm).[6] On average, their lifespan is 10 to 11 years.[8]

The weather resistant double coat consists of a long, flat, thick, outer coat of coarse hair, straight or slightly undulating, and lying over a dense, fine, woolly undercoat. The coat is more profuse about the neck and shoulders where it forms a ruff or mane, which is more pronounced in males so that it may fend off wolf attacks. The longer hair on the tail forms a plume. There is also feathering along the back of the front legs and along the back of the thighs, giving a “pantaloon” effect. The hair on the face and ears is both shorter and of finer texture.

The main coat color is white and can have varying shades of gray, red (rust), or tan around the face (including a full face mask), ears and sometimes on the body and tail. As Great Pyrenees mature, their coats grow thicker and the longer colored hair of the coat often fades. Sometimes a little light tan or lemon will appear later in life around the ears and face. Being a double-coated breed, the undercoat can also have color and the skin as well. The color of the nose and on the eye rims should be jet black.[9] Grey or tan markings that remain lend the French name, “blaireau”, (badger) which is a similar grizzled mixture color seen in the European badger. More recently, any color is correctly termed “Badger” or “Blaireau”.[10]

One singular characteristic of the Great Pyrenees is the unique double dew claws on each hind leg.[4]


In nature, the Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle (especially with children), and affectionate. While territorial and protective of its flock or family when necessary, its general demeanor is of composure and patience and loyalty. It is a strong willed, independent and reserved breed. It is also attentive, quite fearless and loyal to its duties. The Great Pyrenees’ size makes it an imposing guardian. A dog of this breed will patrol its perimeter and may wander away if left off its leash in an unenclosed space. The Great Pyrenees protects its flock by barking, and being nocturnal, tends to bark at night unless trained against such behavior.[4]

The Great Pyrenees can be slow to learn new commands, slow to obey, and somewhat stubborn to train. For this reason the breed is ranked #64 (out of 79 ranks covering 131 breeds) in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs. Despite this relative stubbornness, it is quite unusual for the Great Pyrenees to become aggressive or turn on its master. It is wary of strangers if the person is not allowed in the house, but will settle down if the owner of the dog seems comfortable with the stranger. This dog was originally bred to be a livestock guard dog, and can still be found doing that job on farms and ranches.


When kept as a house pet, the Great Pyrenees’ coat needs brushing once or twice a month. The breed needs moderate exercise but tends to be somewhat lazy, especially in warm weather. They particularly enjoy cold weather and snow. Like similar breeds, some Great Pyrenees tend to drool, especially with exercise.[4]

Livestock Guardian Dog · Uncategorized

Livestock Guarding Dog Fact Sheet

Prepared by Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service U.S. Department of Agriculture


Livestock guarding breeds originated in Europe and Asia, where they have been used for centuries to protect sheep from wolves and bears Americans have used guarding dogs since the mid-1970’s. They are large animals (80-120 pounds) and are usually all white or fawn colored with dark muzzles. Some of the more common breeds are Great Pyrenees (France), Komondor (Hungary), Akbash dog and Anatolian Shepherd (Turkey), and Maremma (Italy). Pyrenees and Akbash dogs are among the more successful breeds.

Unlike herding dogs, guarding dogs do not usually herd sheep. Acting independently of humans, guarding dogs stay with or near sheep most of the time and aggressively repel predators. Genetics and proper rearing both contribute to the makeup of a successful guarding dog.

Some guarding dogs do not adequately carry out their protective role. Failures can generally be attributed to improper rearing or acquiring the dog after it is too old for training. However, some dogs don’t work well despite having been reared properly. Research and surveys indicate that about three- fourths of trained dogs become good guardians. Knowing what a good guarding dog is and how to raise one correctly can help producers be sure they get the best possible service from their dogs

Key Points in Successfully Rearing a Guarding Dog

  • Select a suitable breed and reputable breeder. Rear pups singly from 8 weeks of age with sheep, minimizing human contact (probably the most critical ingredient for success ).
  • Monitor the dog and correct undesirable behaviors.
  • Encourage the dog to remain with or near the livestock.
  • Ensure the dog’s health and safety.
  • Manage the livestock in accordance with the dog’s age and experience (e.g., use smaller pastures while the dog is young and inexperienced).
  • Be patient and allow plenty of time to train your dog. Remember that a guarding dog may take 2 years or more to mature.

Potential Benefits and ProblemsWith Using Dogs

An Oregon sheep producer nearly eliminated coyote predation in her pasture flock of 50 ewes by adding a single guarding dog. In 6 years of using the dog, she lost only one lamb to coyotes. In contrast, coyotes and bobcats killed several sheep on her neighbors’ farms each year

Effective guarding dogs help livestock owners by:

  • Reducing predation on sheep,
  • Reducing labor (lessening the need for night corralling),
  • Alerting the owners to disturbances in the flock,
  • Protecting the family and ranch property, and
  • Allowing for more efficient use of pastures and potential expansion of the flock.

However, guarding dogs require an investment with no guarantee of a positive result. The dogs can become ill, be injured, or die prematurely. Some dogs roam away from the flock.

Guarding dogs are potentially aggressive; some dogs injure the stock or other animals, including pets, or confront unfamiliar people (e.g., hikers) who approach the sheep. Producers who use dogs should post signs to alert passers-by and escort visitors when near sheep

Guarding Dogs and Other Control Tools

The use of a guarding dog does not prevent the use of other predation-control methods. However, the other techniques must be compatible. The use of toxicants is not recommended where guarding dogs are working. Traps and snares can kill dogs if they are caught and not released in a reasonable period of time. As a precaution, dogs should be restrained, confined, or closely monitored if these methods are being used in close proximity

An Idaho sheep producer reduced coyote predation in his pas-ture flock of 200 ewes by adding a guarding dog to his operation. Prior to obtaining the dog, the producer lost an average of 12 lambs per year to coyotes. The use of the guarding dog, combined with other predation control methods, has resulted in a loss of only four lambs in the past 5 years.

Guarding dogs can also be helpful in range sheep operations However, many factors influence dog effectiveness. A Wyoming sheep rancher noted a significant reduction in coyote predation in his range flocks for the first 3 years he used guarding dogs. During that time, the coyote population continued to increase. In the fourth year, the producer began to see a decrease in his dogs effectiveness. Coyotes had become so numerous they were simply overwhelming the dogs. By the fifth year, his predation losses had returned to previous levels.

Recommendations for Producers

Guarding dogs will not solve all of a producer’s predation problems, but in many situations they are a useful tool. They can aid in reducing occasional predation and have worked well in both fenced pasture and herded range operations Their effectiveness can be enhanced by good livestock management and by eliminating persistent predators

Guarding dogs may not be suitable in very large pastures (several sections or larger) where sheep are widely scattered. At least two dogs are recommended for range operations or in large areas with more than several hundred sheep.

Kitchen Renovations

End of Labor Holiday Weekend Renovations

We got quite a bit of things done around the house this weekend.

We painted the ceiling, trim and walls in the kitchen, installed the new kitchen light, we had the kitchen floor installed, we added another coat of paint to the kitchen cabinets, installed the kitchen cabinets, moved the appliances into place, installed ceiling fan and two new light fixtures in the hallway, painted the trim on the 1st floor and painted the bathroom cabinet. The kitchen counter top has been cut and installed and is now waiting for the stain and finish.

Kitchen Renovations

The Kitchen that is starting to look like a kitchen

Kitchen Renovations

Renovation weekend!


We are finally getting the kitchen project off to a great start! The flooring installers just came and went and left us with a beautiful vintage inspired sheet vinyl. See link to floor and manufacturer: http://www.ivcfloors.com/Flexitec-Product-Page.aspx?p=67&o=Muse

I chose this floor so it wouldnt look like your standard faux tile, stone, brick or wood. I wanted a “tweed” textured floor with the colors that would match my cabinets and walls.

IVC Floors.

Next we are applying the final coats of paint to the kitchen cabinets and OFF we go to the hardware store to get our counter top material, stain and finish.