Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dirty Jobs - Birthing a Cow - Going to the Fair!

This is a near daily occurance on our farm.  Each cow gives birth every year to create that steady supply of milk. The cow is incredibly generous and efficient making far more milk than her baby needs, enough milk to share with my family and yours!  In the summer when all  the "close" cows  ( close to calving time) are out to pasture the roadside becomes a viewing area as many cows choose to give birth  where a watchful eye can see them.

Another advantage of the "close" pasture is that  the whole thing is about 20 acres and is between the main dairy and our house so the kids can ride back and forth.
Besides the usual milk production these youth are at the County 4-H fair showing their calves. For many years we leased cattle to my club kids so they could show and be part of this educational opportunity.

4-H and Dairy Farming are a lot of work but worth every minute, remember the farmers when you buy your next jug of milk and buy local. try ours                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Temple Grandin Returns to CT.

Temple Grandin Author of "Animals In Translation"  returns to CT. this Friday. She will be part of a panel discussion of how a brain works.  If you have not read Temple Grandin's work ( several books) seen the movie or  know about her livestock management practices this is  great time to engage any of these as a way to better grasp the world through the eyes and mind of an Aspberger's patient ( high level of function  Autism)  The link below takes you to an article in the Hartford CT Now website .,0,4520788.story

 Temple Grandin at Uconn March 2010
If you havent heard Temple Grandin before I urge you to read the article and atend as she retuns to CT. to share her wealth of knowledge!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To Stave Off Alzheimer's, Learn a Language? Tell a Story!

Dementia and Alzheimer's a cruel duo that have played out the last few years as they have stricken my father and left him a shadow of the man he was.

How sad the memories of  Grandaughter's weddings have slipped away and memories of the days when  brides were little girls. How  much we lose when the  older generation can no longer share their stories.

It is now my turn to carry the family stories.

 I keep a little treasure box, a momento of my youth when some holiday  the shiny metal box arrived filled with candy and I was intrigued not by the sweets but the box itself. The treasure tin had many uses over the years. Crayons were at home there long enough to color the insides as they were jostled about. Pictures, baseball cards, money and marbles all had a place over time in the box.


A year or two ago the box surfaced in the cellar one day and I had a new purpose for the box and it's magical meaning of treasure to me. I dusted it off and brought it up to my office and began. Slowly I have accumulated a collection of paper craft leaves each with a photo or sticker or such attached to remind me of a story from my family tree. I use them in a workshop and I will have them to pull out when my grandchildren are old enough for stories. My family treasures are my family stories.


The other thing these stories may well be is another trick  to keep Alzheimers and Dementia away.  Using our brains is a key component to fighting or postponing an attack by dementia  and its debilitating effects. I found an interesting piece on that this week, the link is below.  Learning a foriegn language seems to help stave off this dreaded and mind erasing  illness. Learning new  stories should have the same effect and how much fun we can have sharing them! How about learning new stories in a new language, now that should be a worthy exercise for the brain! I'm learning a new story about the Irish Claddagh Ring what story are you learning?

To Stave Off Alzheimer's, Learn a Language?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Single Story - When We Need Many

Take a few minutes to watch this TED Talk  Writer and storyteller Chimamanda Adichie of Nigeria, Africa presents a much more worldly view of  the power of a single story or as she puts it the danger in a single story.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Snow Fort and Other Forts

When we were kids we loved making snow forts! These kids took advantage of record breaking snows to create their masterpiece. I was inspired by their fort to bring you some other "Fort" info and bits.

Ft. Washington, New York City

Ft. Sanders, Knoxville, TN.

Ft. Preble Portland, Maine
There are all kinds of forts. The New England coast is dotted with great examples.  These are just three I happened across pictures for  quickly. There are many Fort resources on line and every fort had a full contingent of soldiers each  with a story to tell. Be the voice of history and share a historical story. For more info on my historical stories see


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Congratulations to Bill Harley on his Grammy Nomination

Congratulation to Bill Harley on his Grammy Nomination,

Today is the day!    Drum Roll Please........

Let's look at  the category :

77. Best Spoken Word Album For Children

1.) Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl: The Definitive Edition    Selma Blair

[Random House Audio/Listening Library].

2.) The Best Candy In The Whole World      Bill Harley

[Round River Records].

Bill when he won a previous Grammy                                       

3.) Healthy Food For Thought: Good Enough To Eat(Various Artists)

Jim Cravero, Paula Lizzi, Kevin Mackie & Steve Pullara, producers

[East Coast Recording Company]

.4.) Julie Andrews' Collection Of Poems, Songs, And Lullabies   Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton

[Hachette Audio].

Nanny McPhee Returns   Emma Thompson

[Macmillan Audio With Universal Studios].

Friday, February 11, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snow Emergencies Strain CT. Agriculture Industry

Snow Emergencies have struck Connecticut Agriculture a terrible blow. 

The video shows the removal of the 14th horse from this barn  that collapsed under the weight of snow and ice.  Every day this week the news outlets have carried reports of more roofs in danger of collapse or in many case gone down.  The total loss to  the 3.5 billion dollar industry of CT. Ag. is yet to be determined, and more snow is in the forecast.
( to read more about the 3.5 billion industry  please visit  )

Some suggestions for future heavy snow events:

Clear as much as possible from roof

Have house or barn number clearly marked street side for emergency vehicles to find you!

Have flashlights and batteries on hand

Keep a list of emergency contact numbers in your home and cell phone

Have a list of places to evacuate to  and transportation help

Have 1 or 2 paddocks separate from barns to  move animals to, and away from emergency vehicles

In case you are not home post name and contact info on barn or house

have halters and lead ropes at stall doors for quick removal of horses

take pictures of your buildings for insurance purposes before something happens

watch for signs of strain - cracks, doors not working right, sounds

HEAR IT,     FEAR IT,      GET OUT!!! 

Not just barns  greenhouses, kennels, sheds, stores, schools,  be alert where ever you go!


 Topmost Herb Farm  / Carole Miller  Coventry, Ct. - this IS where your food comes from! Learn more on her Facebook Page

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

TONY WILSON "A crown of snow" National Childminders Workshop Story EYFS

Sharing a story by Tony Wilson today. The King coated in snow to go with the New England landscape today. 2 more snow days from school have accumulated on the calendar. 2 more inches have accumulated on the ground and fence posts, trees and mailboxes. January has passed and the Ground Hog made his annual appearance. The sun rose and set behind a gray curtain of snow and woodsmoke.  We wait, can spring and its warm sun and drip drip dripping of Maple sap be far in  the distance?