Back when Santa was still busy in his workshop…

  I had some elves working at Meg Staley Handmade!!! Kathryn And Duncan Penfold plastered the studio with hand-printed cloth napkins – gifts for unsuspecting family members. I couldn’t resist a shot of all this unapologetic RED!!! 

A terrific way to cheer up an otherwise grey winterscape. No snow for Christmas this year. Though Mother Nature has skedaddled to make up for that in the first 2 weeks of 2016. Happy new year!!

Green Acres Tale: LEAN IN

This is a rather long-winded tale, but worthy of someone’s blog, so it might as well be mine.

Our resident farmer, David Flaughers, pastures 40 goats and sheep on Fake Rock Farm. IMG_1883 He practices rotational grazing (see above bucolic scene) by moving them every day or so onto new grass, using a temporary solar-powered electric fence, which keeps the beasts corralled as they munch fresh greenery.  That is, until the goats go looking for greener pastures.

In early July, our son, Henry Gretzinger, was visiting the farm with his girlfriend, Hana Cheng, for his 30th birthday, and Jerry decided to bake cream puffs for the birthday dessert.   I was on duty for salad and marinating the chicken, when I glimpsed a few errant goats and sheep out the kitchen window.  We ran out with our trustee canine assistants, Sugar and Spots, and started to corral the flock before they got into the garden or worse, the road.  After calling David in a panic and finding out he was 30 minutes away, Jerry remembered his cream puffs in the oven and vowed to return, after he put in a second batch.  So I was elected to secure the perimeter with a couple of talented doggies and clogs on my feet.  That’s it.
The goats soon discovered the feed buckets atop the mobile chicken tractors and in going for the feed, just about trampled the poor hens cowering beneath.  While I was manically shooing the goats off the roof to avoid squished chicken dinner, I noticed one sheep who’d polished off a bucket of feed and gotten it stuck on her head, blindly zig-zagging the 20 acres between the woods and the road.  Naturally,  all the sheep followed their  leader!
Jerry did return about 15 minutes later, with his idea of helpful tools: a rake and a cell phone, and disappeared again into the kitchen, muttering about burning dessert.
I’m finally rescued by a couple of our dinner guests, who arrived on time and spotted me out in the pasture waving my rake wildlly.  Minutes later, farmer David showed up on his bicycle and took control.  I collapsed at the kitchen table, and watched our guests take over dinner preparation.
We had a lively supper conversation at the picnic table, one of the topics, amidst the twenty and thirty somethings, being Sheryl Sandburg’s book,  Lean In.  I thought this very apt, though I’m sure Sheryl never thought her leadership principles would be applied to female herders. But in retrospect, having read the book, I’m sure Sheryl has run into a number of corporate hot shots whose style of leadership parallels the sheep brandishing a bucket over its head,  with a flock of unquestioning followers at their hooves (I mean heels).
The cream puffs were perfect.
Here is Henry, Hana and Jerry that fateful evening:

Mudroom Gallery

Jerry and I collect tiles  (and all things handpainted.)  An old friend, Diane Lorick, visited recently with her old friend, Liz Wylegala.  (Both are artists and instantly blended  in with the Fake Rock Farm “leave no surface unadorned” credo.  Liz found a new tile for the mudroom gallery at the Suttons Bay Art Festival children’s tent. Some budding creative entitled it HEN to help in interpreting the art.  Love it!