Around the Clock

Around the clock I am feeding my new little babies. They are so sweet and each one has it's own personality. They are already getting more active!

The last five days have gone something like this, although the exact times may very:

Five am and I am up to feed the babies. I stumble out of bed and pour the milk in the bottles, warm some water and put the bottles in the water to heat. I start with baby number one and bottle feed and work my way through all seven. Each pup is different and each one nurses differently. Some nurse quickly and I worry that they will suck the milk into their lungs. The little runt doesn't move when I feed him, but knows exactly how to gently extract the milk from the bottle quickly and efficiently. The big one, that I call Bruiser, sucks it all down so quickly that I don't even have time to get comfortable before he is finished. Then there is the pup who will not sit still but has to turn his head and twist his body constantly making it difficult to get the milk into him at all. Some will push the nipple away when they are finished and others will fall asleep with the nipple in their mouth. After each tiny pup is fed, I have to wipe it's bottom. Seriously. Puppies can not go to the bathroom without being stimulated by the momma dog and since I refuse to use my tongue like she would do, I use a soft cotton ball or soft kleenex to get the job done. Then, I tuck them each into their warm bed that has a heating pad and nice soft blankets to sleep on. They snuggle in together, usually without a whimper, unless one of them decides to suck on someone foot, ears or other parts of their anatomy. When that happens, the puppy being violated will squeal in protest and I have to make some new sleeping arrangements. By the time I have them all settled in, about 45 minutes has passed and it's time to go milk the cows.

Around six am I head out to milk the cows. Mike helps me in the mornings. He usually does the actual milking and I feed the animals. I let the Hunter and Oscar out from their room on the sunporch. Sinc Hopie died, I have moved Oscar in with Hunter to be company for him. Hunter and Hope were inseperable. Hunter has been very quiet and loving since Hope's passing. When I am feeding the pups, he lies looking through the door at them, just quietly watching. I wish I knew what he was thinking.

I let the Corgis out of their pen and then feed the goats, chickens, calves and make sure everyone has water. We then take the milk to the house and I have to strain it, pour it into jars, put it in the frig and clean up the milker. By this time, it is usually close to seven-thirty. It's now time to get ready to feed the babies again!

I go through the whole routine of feeding babies every two hours and in between try to get a shower, straighten up the house, mop the dirty floors, do the laundry and keep track of Cookie's new calf whom she is forever losing. Cookie loves her baby dearly but has been a dairy cow for most of her life and obviously has not raised her babies. We do a lot of "losing" and "finding" this little guy. He seems to take it all in stride. In fact, last night when he lost his mom, he found me instead.

Late afternoon I fix supper from Mike and Mikey somewhere between feeding pups. Then around six, it's time for evening milking. I go through the whole morning routine only this time I am doing the actual milking as well as all the other outside chores.

I try to get the humans fed and the dishes cleaned up and it's usually around 8 pm before that happens. Afterwards, I feed the pups again. The next few hours are spent prepping the adult dogs for bed, locking up the chickens for the night and giving all the animals a look over to make sure all is well for the night.

I try to feed the pups again around eleven to midnight, get a shower and get in bed for two hours. Throughout the night I get up every two hours to feed the pups, ending up with the last "nightly" feeding around five am, when it's time to go milk the cows and the whole routine starts all over again!

Mike has been so supportive and loving through it all. He has had to run the produce stand without my help these last few days and in the evenings, he helps me to feed the pups. I could never do this without his love and support.


Our New Belted Bull Calf

This week has been such a shock and I have been so overwhelmed with everything. So much so that I have not posted of the birth of our newest baby. Tuesday morning, Cookie had a bull calf. He was sired by Peanut and looks very much like him in the face and in conformation. However, he is red and has a perfect belt. Cookie is half Dutch Belted, so this little guy is only a quarter Dutch Belted and 3/4 Jersey. We have decided to keep him intact as his Sire is such a handsome bull, his grand-dam is a gorgeous cow with a lovely udder and his dam has an udder that is out of this world and is a huge producer. We feel that he will make a quality bull for someone. He is 1/2 standard and 1/2 miniature but is defnitely on the larger side.

Where there is life, there is Hope.

I admit I am having a most difficult time adjusting to the idea that Hope is gone. I am hurting so badly over the loss of my dear little friend and "why" keeps running through my head.

I had not wanted her to get bred this time around, as I wanted her to have a break. I was going to breed her one last time, but had hoped to do that at a later date. Someone accidentally did not get the door fastened on the very last day that Hope was in heat, and she became pregnant from that one encounter. Today I struggled witht he whys of that as well. If she had not gotten pregnant would she have had the strength to fight the pancreatitis? I believe she gave every last ounce of life to her precious puppies and died knowing that they all lived. She was such a good mother, that would have been just like her to be determined to hang on just long enough to see that the pups were born. I torture myself with all of it. I had checked religiously the whole time she was in heat to make sure that doors were shut and locked. I got lax one time and she got pregnant. I could easily blame myself for her death, even though we don't know if the pancreatitis had anything to do with her pregnancy. But then today, I had a thought. Perhaps, God knowing all things, decided since He was taking Hope away from this world that he would leave me with the gift of life. Seven little lives are left in my care. I am feeding them by hand every two hours and they seem to be thriving. I am praying for them to survive. Perhaps, Hope gave them life, so that their lives could give me and others hope. For, where there is life, there is Hope.


My Hope

My beautiful, precious Hope left this world Monday evening after a valiant fight but not before making sure that she gave life to the seven pups that she carried in her womb. She became lethargic on Saturday but it was extremely hot and she was very pregnant and when I called the emergency clinic, they suggested it was probably just the heat. Sunday she seemed a bit better but by Monday, her life was in danger. I grabber her up Monday morning and rushed her to the emergency clinic because the clinic I use didn't open until eight and all their emergencies are
referred to the valley's emergency clinic. Both the emergency clinic and my vet concluded that she had an acute and rapid onset of pacreatitis. I have since done some research on it and have found that it is more prevalent in miniature dogs and specifically in Dachshunds and a few other breeds. (http://www.2ndchance.info/pancreatitis.htm) I spent the day by Hope's side and the techs were surprised at how she responded to my being there. She actually seemed to improve at times and we became hopeful that she would pull through. She would lick my face, wag her tail and try to crawl into my lap.

However, I was told it was only with a blood transfusion as the first choice of treatment that she stood the best chance of survival. The second choice of treatment was Oxyglobin which was just as expensive as the transfusion. Since we did not have a donor in time, we opted for the Oxyglobin but first we had to remove the pups either naturally or by c-section. The vet felt that naturally would be less risk to Hope because putting her under was risky. Hope valiantly fought for the life of her pups for several hours and had five of them naturally. Three of those were born breech. In the end, the last two pups were to far in the birth canal and too much time had passed and they had to be taken by c-section.

All seemed well when the tech brought me the last two pups (for a total of seven) but fifteen minutes later I was sobbing loudly and holding my head in my hands as the reality hit me of the words "I'm sorry. We lost her. She didn't make it."

How could this be? My sweet little momma who was so healthy and full of life just a few short days before? I am so devestated by my loss and grieve deeply for this little friend who has brought me so much comfort and joy over the last three years.

The last four days have been a fog. I feed the pups by hand every two hours around the clock. I hold them in my hands and pray that they will find the strength to live. I grieve for the loss of my sweet momma dog. I think I see her sitting at the kitchen door looking in at me like she always does, but it's my mind playing tricks on me. I miss her tail wagging and the way she looked at me with those gentle eyes. I miss the way she would sneak into the milking shed and climb into my lap while I milk the cows. I always scolded her for this, because I never allow dogs in the milking shed as it is too distracting. Hopie always knew she could get by with more than the other dogs and in my lap she would stay. I miss the way I held her long Dachshund body in my arms like a baby and put my face close to hers so she could give me kisses.

We buried my girl under the weeping Cherry tree that was given to me when Joshua passed away in September. I don't know if dogs go to heaven, but I would like to think of my Hope sitting in Josh's lap and licking his face right now.

Sweet Hope, you will never be forgotten and you will always hold a special place in my heart.


Beautiful Day!

It's a beautiful day. Josh's friend, Sam, is coming in from Colorado to spend the night. I can't wait to meet him. I can't wait to hug him! This day was divinely orchestrated and is a part of the journey. Will I cry? Will I laugh? Maybe I will do both when I meet him. Whatever emotions come are exactly as the should be. I will release a part of the pain and allow my heart to heal just a little bit more.

Thank you Corinne for raising such a wonderful young man and thank you for sharing him with me on this beautiful day!





The sun is shining today and I have a lot to do! I have already milked and fed by myself this morning and will soon be on my way to the farm to gather and sell produce. I spent the day at home yesterday catching up on housework, freezing veggies and distributing milk to my cow share members. I am trying to get on a Tuesday/Thursday schedule for the shares, since we are open at the produce stand the other days. Mike is working off the farm today and his sister, Cathy, is going to help me at the produce stand.

It looks like we are going to have some hot days this week with temps in the upper 90's but they are still calling for a good chance of rain. Mike looked at the extended forecast and thinks he might get a window of opportunity to get some hay cut and baled next week. That would be good. The last hay they cut at his dad's other farm got rained on repeatedly and won't be good for anything but compost.


It had to rain.............

It had to rain today. I knew it would. I knew that by some crazy twist of fate that when this date came that it would rain.

It was one year ago this month that Josh and Alissa left with high hopes and dreams. Two young people in love with life and ready for the adventure that it would bring. As a mother, I knew I had to let them go. When I kissed and hugged Alissa and told her goodbye, my heart ached. When I kissed and hugged Josh, I clung to him and I cried. Was there something subconscious telling me not to let him go? I had no choice. He went.

Nine months ago today Josh left this world. I never got to see him again. I never got to hold him in my arms and kiss and hug him again.

Josh loves the rain. I knew it would rain today.

I love you, Josh!



Shortly after six and I am awake. I never set an alarm. I wake up with the sun. As much as I have tried to ease into this time of year..........produce season......it hits full force, and there is no turning back until the last potato is finally picked up in the fall.

I get out of bed slowly......my bones ache in the mornings. Once out of bed, I move faster. I have a lot to do this morning. After slipping into some barn clothes, I head for the kitchen and put the milker together, unload the dishwasher, and head down to let the Dachshunds out. Once the dogs are out, I fill their bowls with kibbles and water, and throw of load of clothes in the dryer. The Dachshunds return wagging their tails and dive into their kibbles.

I head out the door with milker in tow, stopping by the pen where Sadie and Spencer are jumping up and down in anticipation of the morning routine. I let them out and and they run barking to the wood pile to try and intimidate the cat who stares down at them with a general lack of disinterest. Since the Corgis can't rouse the cat, they head toward the barn to see what they can find to herd there.

Mike takes over the milking this morning, and I take care of feeding. I let the chickens out to free range, making sure they have plenty of water and clabbered milk for the day. I throw them a handful of corn to scratch and put a little in the feeder inside the house for the juvenile birds. I check on the bantams in another building and give the food and water as well. I water and feed the calves. Then, I go down and feed the goats.

Sadie and Spencer keeping trying to round up the chickens and I keep yelling at them "LEAVE IT!" to let them know that it's ok that the chickens are roaming and they don't need to be herded back to their pen. Mike finishes milking about the time I finish feeding and he carrys the milk to the kitchen for me and then heads down to the other farm.

I strain the milk and put it in the refrigerator, clean and sterilize the milker and then head for the shower. After a a quick shower, I send off a couple of emails, and change the message on the answering machine. I also set the time and date on the machine knowing that I will be away a lot and need to know what time the messages are being recorded.

After drying my hair but giving up on actually styling it, I pull it back, put on a little makeup and head for the car. I was driving Josh's truck but Alissa's car blew up last week and I signed Josh's truck over to her. It's just a few minutes after eight. I grab a few dozen eggs just in case we are running low at the other farm.

I arrive at the farm and Mike is washing the produce he has been picking. He has mud past his ankles due to al the rain we have been having. I am greeted by JJ, the big farm Collie but J is not as rowdy as usually this morning. He seems to be limping. I carry the eggs inside and put them in the frig and then carry out a stack of cartons that folks have left for me to recycle. There are also a half dozen gallon jars there that Mike has not brought home from the milk that I send down for my in-laws to drink.

I tidy things up a bit at the stand and admire Mike's handiwork. He has made some bins for us this year to display the veggies in. That's about as high-tech as we are going to get. We do everything simply. We figure the cost of the veggies either in or head or on a pad of paper. We recycle the bags that folks bring in to us. We don't hire any farm help and we do all the work ourselves. It's simple although hard work, but we prefer it that way.

Mike comes to the house.........a big white farm house that started out as a log house back in the 1700's and a place where he frequented as a child helping his dad and grandad on the farm. We take off our shoes and head inside and up the back stairs to the kitchen where Mike's mom has fixed breakfast. A farm breakfast is really more than a breakfast. In fact, we rarely have breakfast food. We actually eat a dinner meal. In the past when three generations of men in the family were running the dairy, they would set down to eat breakfast mid-morning after milking. Now we eat earlier so that we can open the produce stand by nine.

Treva, Mike's mom, has fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, creamed peas and new potatoes, and cabbage with pound cake and strawberries for dessert. Over the winter I have been out of the habit of eating early, choosing rather to sip a quart jar of Kefir instead. We bow our head for grace and then eat the meal that has been lovingly prepared. We have tried to get Treva to stop cooking for us, but she insists on doing it. She loves preparing food for her family and we certainly enjoy eating the bounty!

We finish the meal and I gather the dishes and Treva and I exchange laughter and conversation while I was and she dries. I then make a phone call to do some price comparisons before setting prices on our vegetables. When folks come to our produce stand, they rarely pay more than grocery store prices for good, homegrown, vegetables that come right off our farm. The produce man at the grocery store where Josh use to work knows me well and is always willing to give me prices on the produce they have in stock. I couldn't get anyone to answer the phones at the local store and had to talk to a man in Staunton. He was nice, but not as helpful. However, I did get the information I needed.

By the time I got outside, it was nine and folks were rolling in. I looked around for Mike but didn't see him, so started waiting on the customers. They were some of our faithful customers who come back year after year. They waited patiently while I tried to wrap my mind around things. I was starting to panic. Something that I have done since Josh's death. I felt like I couldn't get my act together. Mike came around the corner and I let him help me. We worked through the first set of customers together and then he went out in the garden to pick more peas. The few customers that we had already almost wiped us out of peas.

The next couple that came in were also regulars but brought with them some new folks. The new couple moved here from Italy recently and the husband did not speak any English. The wife did a wonderful job of translating. The man was soaking in the country air and loved looking at the garden. As his wife interpreted he asked me about the antique garden tools that my father-in-law had hanging for decoration. He wanted to know where he could buy some because that was what they used in Italy. He also wanted to know why we didn't sell our Zucchini blossoms and wanted to know if he could bring his old shoes and come back and harvest them later. He insists you can harvest the blossoms and still have the Zucchini. I am uncertain and will have to check into that.

Someone mentions some things I had for sale a yard sale last fall right before Josh died. They were some of Josh's things. I stumble across my words and tell them I am not sure where those items are now. I tell them I lost Josh in September. Sympathies are given and then "what happened?" I can't talk about it so I give them a brief explanation. More sympathies and they leave. I head inside the house and hold back the tears for a while but then they start trickling out. It's going to be a long summer. I am going to face so many people that don't know or have not had the chance to express their sympathies. I start to panic again. I breath deeply, say a prayer and head back outside.

While waiting for more customers, I go to the garden and help Mike pick peas. When we have about half a bushel, I head back to the carport and start shelling. The collie lays at my feet and snores and I just keep shelling. Customers come and go and between customers, I keep shelling.

A customer comes about the same time that Alissa drops by. I introduce them. I hear the lady talking to Treva about almost losing her husband. She says he died twice on the table but the doctors revived him. I am happy for her. What a joy to be able to continue their married life together.

I plan to leave the produce stand an go home and check on the animals, freeze peas and get supper started but Treva insists I have a snack first. At the farm, we may or may not have a snack in the middle of the day. It's never called "lunch" because being a true southern family, the mid-day meal is called "dinner" and the evening meal is called "supper". Since we had "dinner" food for breakfast, what we have in the middle of the day (when we are not too busy to have it) is called a snack. We have sliced cheese, crackers, strawberries, pound cake, and chicken salad and bread. I am not hungry and eat just a little cheese to be polite and drink my sweet tea. The cheese is good but it's not homemade and I have become spoiled. It just didn't taste "real" to me.

After eating a snack, Alissa, Cousin Angela, Mike and I head for the barn to find the little kittens. I snap some pictures of the cows along the way and then a few of Alissa with the kitten they she is going to adopt. Someone dropped them at the barn.........a mother cat with babies. Alissa wants the little Calico girl to raise along with her grey striped cat that she adopted last year when it was dropped at the farm.

I head home and let the dogs out while I unload the care of the egg cartons, milk jars, peas I have shelled and other produce I brought home for our own personal use. I check the farm animals out to make sure nothing needs my immediate attention and head for the kitchen.

I blanch the peas and vacuum seal them while starting preparations for supper. I can't wait to cook supper when I get back in from milking or we would not eat until ten or eleven at night. Instead I prepare it in the afternoon before milking at six. I make cream peas and potatoes. I figured Mike was tired of them, as that was what his mom had fixed but he actually requested them. I had put out a call to the satellite internet service as we had been having a lot of trouble. The tech came out and worked on that and came in about the time I was making the cream sauce for the peas and potatoes. He asked me to check my internet service but I asked him if he could do it for me since I didn't want lumps in my sauce! He left but not before expressing his condolences over the loss of Josh. He said he had been to the house right after Josh died. I don't remember that. I guess there's a lot I don't remember.

I finish the preps for supper and it's almost time to head out to the barn again. Before I go, I send off a few emails and check a couple of forums that I frequent. I call my baby sister for a minute and we have a nice little chat. I then put the milker together and head outside for evening chores.

The baby goats need hay and I stop to scratch S'Mores. She loves attention. I try to touch Moonbeam but she runs from me. She is still afraid and I don't think she will ever be comfortable being touched. I gather the eggs and give the hens more clabber and water. I check on the bantams but they don't need anything tonight. I feed the calves a little grain and then milk the "girls". I am working on drying ButterCupp off and I am not milking her every time. So, tonight I only have three to milk. The milking goes smoothly and I finish about the time Mike gets home. I am dumping the milk tonight to make clabber for the chickens. Mike comes down and fixes the gate that needs repair. We take a look at the two cows that are due this month and head for the house.

Mike brought home another bushel of peas. He will work on shelling those while I do other things this evening. He takes a shower while I warm up supper and clean up the milking equipment. After eating, Mike's son, Mikey helps me clear off the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher. I sweep and mop the floor and by this time it is after eight. I head outside to feed the Corgis and lock up the free range hens for the night. I let the Dachshunds out to walk with us. The dogs smell a wild animal and all five of them start barking and running and trying to flush out something. I think about going to get the gun, but decide that whatever it was had already left the area. I checked on the two pregnant cows again, the calves and the goats and locked up the Corgis in their pen for the night. The Dachshunds returned to their room inside the house and I switched out some laundry from the washer to the dryer and started another load. I washed the eggs I had gathered earlier and then went upstairs to unload the dishwasher.

Mike watched tv and shelled peas and I went to take a shower and made it to the couch about nine, which is still quite early for us on a typical summer schedule. I tried to work online for a bit but got too sleepy. Mike had finished the peas and after mentioning how good a piece of blueberry pie would taste (hinting to me to make one!) promptly fell asleep in the chair. I shut down the computer and went upstairs to read a few minutes before I turned the light out around ten-thirty.


Dave is home!

Dave wasn't too keen on getting his picture taken and kept moving around. I told him he might as well get use to it because this momma takes a lot of pictures!


Cauliflower with sauce

Wrap Cauliflower head in plastic wrap and microwave for nine minutes or until tender.

Mix 1/2 cup mayo, 1 tsp minced onions, 1 tsp perpared mustard, 1/4 tsp salt and pour over top of cauliflower. Grade about 1/2 cup of cheese and put on top. Put in microwave long enough to melt the cheese.

Easy and delicious!

Home Again

We made it home with Dave, the miniature Jersey bull calf! He is such a cutie!

On the trip home we stopped by a berry farm and picked up two flats of blueberries and one flat of strawberries. While we were there, the employees took turns coming out to the truck to look at Dave. He
was quite popular every where we went. In fact, folks driving down the highway were pointing at him and talking about him! When we stopped to eat, the waitress told us that all the employees in the back were talking about Dave.

The animals were well taken care of while we were gone, but I can't say the same for the condition of the house! What a mess! It will take me a while to get things cleaned up and back in order.

We had a wonderful "Mini" vacation!


Carolina Beach

Eating Out

When you travel you get to eat at places that are new a different.

Friday night we ate Italian at Carrabas. I had Manicotti and it was delicious! For dessert, I had tiermasu.


Saturday for lunch we ate at a restaurant in downtown Charleston called Tbonz. I had a cobb salad.


Saturday evening we ate supper outside on the dock at The Crab Shack. Mike and I shared a seafood platter with two different types of shrimp, flounder and deviled crab! Delicious!



Charleston Tea Plantation

The only tea grown in the United States is grown on an Island just outside of Charleston, SC.

Spanish Moss

The Legend of Spanish Moss

A villain there was named Gorez Goz
Who journeyed here from Spain.
The natives feared him much because
His heart was set on a gain.
Gorez espied an Indian maid
Who filled his fondest hope.
He bought her for a yard of braid
And a little bar of soap.
The Indian maid was sore afraid
And fled this bearded brute.
She sped o'er hill and field and glade
With Gorez in pursuit.
At last the maiden climbed a tree;
The Spaniard did the same.
The lass was bent on being free;
Gorez desired his claim!
She balanced on a slender limb
Then dove into the brook.
She much preferred a morning swim
To this bearded Spanish crook.
The troubles of Gorez begin,
His naughty plans are queered.
He snags the whiskers of his chin
The branches hold his beard.
The Indian maiden thus is free,
Gorez's life is a loss,
But his beard lives on for you to see
As dangling Spanish Moss!

Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is an air-feeding plant or epiphyte found mainly upon cypress, gum trees, oaks, elms, and pecan trees in South Louisiana and Florida. It is not a parasite and does not live off the trees upon which it grows, nor is it harmful to the trees. It has been noticed, however, that its presence on pecan trees tends to reduce the yield, owing, no doubt, to the fact that to some extent it shadows the buds of the fruit.

When the French first came to Louisiana they asked the Indians what this hair-like plant was and were told that it was "tree hair," or 'Itla-okla," as they called it. The French thought it reminded them of the long black beards of the Spanish explorers who had come before them, and advised the Indians that a better name was "Spanish Beard, " or "Barbe Espagnol. " The Spaniards, consider- ing this a term of ridicule, asserted that a more appropriate name was "Cabello Franc├ęs," or "French Hair." The Indians thought "Barbe Espagnol" sounded better and for many years Louisiana moss was referred to only as "Spanish Beard." But this name did not last; it seemed too ridiculous. The accepted name became Spanish moss.

The Area in Which Moss Grows

This moss grows in the area comprising the extreme southern portion of Virginia and the Gulf Coast country from Florida to Texas in varying quantities. But its yield in commercial quantities is in the lower Mississippi Valley, and especially in the swamp lands of Louisiana and Florida or where the rainfall is heavy. Louisiana has an annual average precipitation of about 56 inches, and Florida has nearly as much. While high temperatures and high rela- tive humidity are favorable to the growth of moss, it can stand extremes of cold and drought for long periods.


Spanish moss is not propagated by seeds but by fragments or festoons. These fragments are carried from tree to tree by birds and the winds. Birds frequently use strands of moss in building their nests, and in this way distribute the festoons. Evergreen trees seldom have moss on them, for the green leaves tend to ward off the festoons carried by the winds or dropped by birds. In the fall and winter when the trees lose their leaves, fragments of moss attach themselves to the bark. A moss which springs from a festoon or fragment grows to a great length, often reaching 10 to 20 feet. In the early summer this plant produces a very small yellow flower, hardly visible to the naked eye. Moisture and dust from the air produce all the nourishment necessary to keep the plant alive and growing. The plant absorbs water readily; it is, in fact, about twenty-five percent water.

Uses of Moss

The fibre of SPANISH MOSS was originally used in Louisiana for mattresses, and in upholstering, and as a hinder in the construction of mud and clay chimneys. It was also used extensively for binding mud or clay in plastering houses. In more recent years it is used almost exclusively as a filler in overstuffed furniture and upholstery. Probably less than one per cent of the total commercial moss is now used in the manufacture of mattresses. Its use in mattresses is confined to the southern part of Louisiana, usually in the suburban and rural sections.

SPANISH MOSS (before and after curing) consists of an outer bark of a greyish color which protects the fibre within. This bark is mostly sap and vegetable matter and decomposes very rapidly when moistened sufficiently and placed into piles. Within this bark is a very resilient, wiry fibre which is the commercial moss used in overstuffed furniture, upholstery, mattresses, automobile seats, and cushions of various kinds.

Demand for Spanish Moss in Recent Years

In 1927 about 1200 carloads of Spanish moss were shipped out of Louisiana, valued at about $2,500,000. In 1940 about 500 carloads were shipped out of Louisiana, valued at about $750,000. This steady shrinkage in demand is owing primarily to increased use of cheaper imported fibres, such as sisal from Mexico, and the increased use of resilient rubber pads made in America. The State of Florida, where moss is also produced, has captured some of Louisiana's moss trade but not much. It is estimated that at the present rate of decline the moss industry of Louisiana will be negligible by 1961, unless there is a promotional campaign of some kind organised to increase the demand.

Beginning of Commercial Use

From the best information available, shipments of moss on a commercial scale began shortly after the War Between the States, when the upholsterers in the furniture trade began to use it in considerable quantities. This trade continued, and has been greatly increased since the value of moss became better known.

Difference in Strength of Fibre

In the lower sections of Louisiana green moss has a light coat of bark and a heavy and longer fibre. In the upper sections (over 100 miles from the Gulf) the bark is heavier, probably as a protection against colder weather, and the fibre is much lighter, shorter, weaker, and not as strong as the fibre from moss of the lower and more swampy section.

Why Moss is Desirable for Stuffing

No known insect will attack moss fibre, eat, destroy or live within it. Moss ranks next to curled hair in resiliency. That is why it is desirable for use in upholstery. Owing to the large amount of waste matter and the resultant loss of weight with each handling, moss is, contrary to current opinion, not a cheap filler for furniture. It is used only in the finest and most expensive furniture or cushions.


Making Memories at the Angel Tree

While visiting the Angel tree, I met a lovely lady originally from Austria who takes care of a woman who is 105 years old. She tries to do something special with the older lady every week. This week she brought her to visit the Angel tree. However, she was distraught when she found out that she did not bring her camera to capture the moment. Mike overheard her say that she had forgot her camera and mentioned it to me. I went to her and asked her if she would like me to take pictures of them and email them to her. The lady was thrilled and called me an "angel". She just kept repeating over and over again how thrilled she was that I could take pictures of them. I was just as thrilled to be able to do so. I am convinced that magical things must take place there in the shadow of that old oak. What an opportunity to get to spend some time in such a special place.

Angel Oak

I read about the Angel Oak several years ago and have always wanted to see it in person. What a thrill to see this live oak tree today! Pictures can not even begin to do justice to the beauty of this old tree.


Downtown Charleston

Touring Charleston~Historic Homes

Touring Charleston, SC

Greetings for Charleston, SC

Mike and I are on a trip to Charleston, SC to visit Kristin (Mike's daughter) and on the way home to pick up my new mini Jersey bull calf near Willmington, NC. The trip will include a drive up the coast. We left home with the rain coming down and continued to drive in and out of it throughout our entire trip. We visited Kristin and Nate at their apartment. Kristin has it decorated beautifully and has such a talent for matching colors. Doobie, Kristin's little Yorkie was thrilled to see "grandma and grandpa". Doobie loves Mike and was beside himself running around and playing with his toys and jumping in our laps to get lots of love. Doobie was jealous of the fish when we were admiring Nate's lovely collection of fish in the tank. We had a wonderful meal at an Italian restaurant where our waitress had an authentic Italian accent. I had to interpret for the rest of the group who had difficulty translating from a southern accent to an Italian.


We were able to find a very nice hotel with clean rooms at a decent rate and were happy to find that it actually is a sweet with a separate sitting room, full size refrigerator and nice size bathroom.


We plan to take a tour of downtown Charleston today and I hope to see some of the large plantation homes in the area. My interest has been sparked in the Gullah/Geechee culture of the area and perhaps I will get a chance to explore some of this fascinating culture as well. So little time and so much to do!



Signs of Summer

Today it is quite warm. Actually, it is hot. It is 91 degrees right now and feels like summer. Everything is green and beautiful because of all the rain we have been getting lately. The cows are content and hanging out in the shade. Life is good.



An anonymous poem about Dachshunds taken from Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy.

There was a dachshund once, so long
He hadn't any notion
How long it took to notify
His tail of his emotion;
And so it happened, while his eyes
Were filled with woe and sadness,
His little tail went wagging on
Because of previous gladness.

The following is from The Waltz Kings written about Johann Strauss. This particular excerpt takes place in the 1830's and refers to a particular job given to Dachshunds by the railroad at the time:

Traveling itself was still a risk. The newly invented railroads with their tiny wood-burning locamotives and their open-sided cars were a splendid adventure. The Viennese, who had their own way of looking at progress, regarded railroads as a new form of entertainment, in a class with such innovations as the steam-driven merry-go-round. The government declined to support such frivolities, and only the baron Rothschild seemed to see any future in rail travel. He financed the first Austrian rail lines and is said to have emplyed a unique signaling system along the tracks. Watchful dachshunds were tied near refueling stops. They could hear approaching trains long before human ears, and annnounced imminent arrivals with their frenetic barking. According to report, the dachshunds were railroad emplyees, with pension rights and the resounding title of Zugsvormeldehund.