Escaping…

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Wrinkles running happily along

In these past few months I have tried to find happy places to escape to.  These woods are always my greatest escape.

Since I was 6, I have walked in these woods.  That’s 44 years (but who’s counting!!)  There were no trails, less neighbors, and tons of wildlife.  Over the years that has slowly changed, but luckily the “4 mile loop” we have created is land locked.

If I am not walking I am 4 wheeling, horseback riding, or snowmobiling!  I have shared these trails with many animals, most of them gone now, through the years.  My first dog, Daisy.  My first horse, Sugar. My next dogs through the years as a child, Princess, Sheba, Jeopardy, Ginger.  Our second horse, Mandy.

My parents liked to take us 4 kids on Sunday walks.  My dad would always have a big walking stick and I remember being scared we would get lost and he would always say not to worry, the dogs know the way home.

These past few months I have been finding myself wanting to escape this crazy world more and more and enjoy what we have without all of the negativity being thrown at us from every angle in the media, on the internet, in the magazines, etc.

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Even little Sissy has had enough and wants to join us on a walk!!

Coming back up the trails after a nice long walk, the sun has set and the moon is beginning to peak out, I feel refreshed.  img_8597

The snow is glistening and the world is a perfect place again.

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Snow glistens with the moonlight

 

 

Summer Vacation

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Designing Fort Snrub

A few weeks back a neighbor was throwing out an old privacy fence and their trampoline.  Now mind you, they considered this garbage.  As soon as the kids were aware of what was happening, they considered it finding gold and exactly what they needed for a new fort in the woods.

 

They carefully loaded all of the panels onto a trailer and drove them back to their “work” area.

They cleared the perfect area for their fort by driving 4-wheelers and doing donuts in a small area to break down the brush.  Then it was time to drag the trampoline with the 4-wheelers into place.  This is the roof of the fort which is underneath.  The top will be used to place a pop up tent when they want to sleep out there.

They collected old materials from our farm and our neighbors and laid them out so they knew what they had to work with.  They could hardly contain themselves on the eve of our trash night and rode the golf cart down our street to collect more treasures.  They found a few balls, an old hose reel that has been rigged to raise and lower a flag, chairs, old tires and most recently they picked a huge deck umbrella.

It was time to begin construction.  They nailed some boards around the frame.  This is holding the tarp in place which covers the trampoline.  Even the little ones were helping clear brush and design the area.

Some bamboo flooring and old throw rugs have been collected and added as a floor until they can garbage pick another tarp.  The tires are perfect as extra seating!

The name was chosen for the fort using the name of the family who donated the fencing and trampoline spelled backwards.  I thought that was a great choice and very imaginative.

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This picture was Sunday night as they were driving the two and a half miles down our street looking for more treasures for their fort before garbage day. They wear their bathing suits as it’s been so hot here and they can work on the fort, drive up and jump in the pool and head right back out.

These kids have had very little television or computer time as they are up and out the door to work on the fort, swim, and play in the woods!  It’s hard to force them to work on mandatory book reports for the upcoming school year as they are so busy planning, building and having fun.

This is what summer vacation is all about in our world!! 🙂

Turkey Trouble

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This mama turkey has been hanging around our cabin. She has a few babies we have seen running on the trails, but lately she has been hanging out closer and closer to the barn.

If you saw my previous post: Camping on the Farm, I shared that we have a cornhole game by the cabin.  This is a game you play using “corn bags” that are tossed.  The “corn bags” are a felt fabric stuffed with whole kernel corn and sewn shut.

We went back to play the game the other night and could not find the bags.  After a few minutes of searching, we found one empty bag of material, then another and another and so on.  Yep, you guessed it, mama turkey had stolen the bags and put a tiny hole in each one and eaten the corn!!

We have had no rain in almost 2 months.  The ground is hard as concrete and most of the wild vegetation has shriveled up. These poor wild animals are having a hard time finding food sources.  I am finding more and more deer in my pastures picking at leftover hay.  The raccoons are around and in the garbage, the birds are eating and drinking at the feeders and bird bath more than ever.

This picture was from yesterday.  She has now made her way up to the chicken and goat pasture and was eating the chicken scratch feed.  Needless to say, I ran to the feed store today and purchased a bag of corn to put out back in our feeder for her and her babies.

For more of our crazy daily farm living adventures, don’t forget to follow our facebook page: ChasenChanceRanch

 

Niagara River

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As you know if you follow my blog, we live on an Island surrounded by the Niagara River.  The river is fed by Lake Erie and eventually goes over Niagara Falls.

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This is an aerial view of our Island, Grand Island.  The little Island up in the left hand corner is Navy Island which is owned by Canada and is an uninhabited island.  The white spot in the left corner is Niagara Falls.

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You can see why I love where we live.

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This morning I took an early morning walk before heading into work.  I walked in the city of Tonawanda, which is across the bridges from our island.

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This is the large hotel located on Grand Island.  It’s a pretty view if you stay on the side facing the river.  The towers in the background are for a local TV station located on the island.

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At one point I came across this funny little decorated post.  It gave me a morning laugh for sure!  Whoever took the time to decorate it did a great job!

There are informative pieces of information scattered about the walkway which share a bit of the history of Grand Island and the Niagara River.

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There are little walkways built over the water where you can really appreciate the beauty of the river.

On the way back these seagulls lined the bridge as I walked over.  Only one was brave enough to stay and watch me without flying off!  Only one pole I saw marked and ironically it had one of my favorite numbers on it!  #28 is my son’s hockey number and our favorite player #Zemgus Girgensons from the Buffalo Sabres!!!

This bridge and walking trail is beautiful any season for walking!

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It was a very chilly walk along the river today.  I love being surrounded by the water and when the weather is warm this is my favorite spot to be, floating on our boat watching the sun set!

 

A Walk in the Woods

Saturday morning was beautiful for a quick 4 mile walk through the woods on our property and some neighbors.  Below are some pictures to share….

Heading down our main dirt trail and took a trail heading to the west.  It’s a twisty turning trail that heads directly down to the creek.

Heading up the trail from the creek I see a neighbor has put up a new tree stand.  There are make shift bridges along the creek like the one above.  This bridge actually gets moved every year by the creek and they have to reset it, as you can see they have done.  Another neighbors trail that we have helped to maintain for years is in a low spot and is always full of water.  It’s a great spot for polywogs!

After the long low spot you head down to their bridge that is build out of railroad ties.  Perfect for the weight of horses and four wheelers.  Up the hill from the bridge is an old tire marking a property stake.  You can see the spring rains have kept these trails wet!  You continue on this trail and it leads you in a circle back to our property connecting to the open field.

Look closely and you can see the Man and Boy’s double tree stand for hunting.  It’s a special spot where a little boy has gone with his dad to share in a hunting trip!  Just past the stand I saw this poor broken robins egg on the ground on the trail heading back to the middle of our property and the arch where you know to turn.

The old pool deck serves as Grandpa’s tree stand as he can no longer climb into a tree.  We moved it back to an area he can drive to on the 4 wheeler and still enjoy time hunting.  Turning from there to the watery trail leading up to our bridge.  Once across the bridge turning to the east the creek overflows and when it dries up, lush grasses grow.  The bridges in the lush grass serve for 4 wheeler or walking access to the east trails.

Heading up the east trail towards the house completes the “loop” we call it.  There are many little trails that run off the main trail but if you follow the main trail you will come to the opening of our back pasture.  There is an old farm implement that was abandoned back in these woods and when we cleared for the new pasture, I insisted on leaving it where it was put to rest.  I wonder how much work it did and who left it back there in the middle of an over grown field.

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And we have come full circle to the back of our little cabin in the woods heading home.

I’ve walked these trails and woods since 1972 and I was 6 years old.  Each trip is a new adventure with downed trees, new sites, water and animals.  I will never outgrow the excitement of walking in the woods!!

Farm Happenings

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Blue and Oreo finally enjoying a sunny day

Spring on the farm is one of the busiest seasons.  It is the time for cleaning up the winter mess, prepping the gardens for planting, fixing up all of the animal pastures/enclosures that have weathered the winter snow and ice, starting all the seedlings in the greenhouse, spring hockey, jv soccer, varsity softball, work, meals, and trying to have a bit of fun inbetween.

Here are some of the things we have managed over the last week (not including meals which will come in a later post 🙂 :

If you have followed along with my Facebook Page…Chasenchanceranch, Disco foundered in January and has had a rough road over the last 2 months.  With aggressive treatments he is on the mend thankfully and even had his mane trimmed as he always has for riding and showing.  Even if he never makes it on the trails again, we are beyond grateful to have him comfortable and not in pain.

The baby chickens coop has been completely netted over the fencing and roof so there is never another hawk issue and they can be free and go in and out of their coop at will.  We have owned this property in my family since 1972 and have never had an animal lost to a hawk until this year.  It was a very hard life lesson for the kids to handle, but we are doing all we can to ensure the safety of all the animals!

The bunnies have a new run attached to their house so they can get some exercise and play during the day.  Meanwhile the “Chicken Brigade” travels the yard making sure to keep the bugs to a minimum!

Pops of color from the spring perennials are starting to liven up the grounds while some plantings are thriving in the portable greenhouse.  If you do not have primrose in your garden, I suggest you invest in some.  They are a very hardy spring plant and have beautiful green leaves during the summer when not in bloom.  They bloom in early fall as well and add great color.

Spring sports are underway.  The boy (in red) at his first jv soccer practice, the Teen Queen practicing catching and throwing for Varsity softball, and the boy playing in a jv hockey game.  Our nights are busy after work for sure!

The cabin is being set up for the summer to live in, the awning is up on the house for some outdoor dinners, morning coffee when not sleeping in the cabin, and rainy days when we play board games under it.

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This robins nest is in the eave of the cabin.  We have to leave it as it contains these cute little eggs and a hopeful robin mommy!

And with the nicer weather comes our weekend bonfires to end the nights.  This was the “big one” as we burned up all the branches from around the yard and a few pallets.

And that’s part of the week in review!  Tonight is the first Varsity softball game…Go Lady Eagles!!!

 

The Story of the Woodpecker and Finch

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I know, I know…yes another bird picture from me.  I can’t help myself!

I was going to take a picture of the colorful woodpecker eating at the feeder and that’s where the story begins…….

The hungry woodpecker was happily enjoying his breakfast.  He didn’t have a care in the world even when he noticed me with a camera watching him in the window.   He was a relaxed woodpecker enjoying life on a cold snowy morning.

Along came the golden yellow, beautiful, small finch.  He eyed up the feeder and saw it held many treats for a hungry bird.  He did a fly by once and then again. Out of nowhere he appeared with wings spread and an angry look on his face.  He zeroed right in on the happy woodpecker and chased him away!

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And he ate and ate until his heart was content

The End!!  For today that is…..