September 23, 2008

Garden Update-- 9/23/08

Although the calendar says that autumn has officially arrived, we are still enjoying the produce from our garden. The latest excitement? Purple carrots! This was our first experiment with planting the "Dragon" variety of heirloom carrots, and we were really pleased with how well they grew and how tasty they were, too. :-) Suffice to say that even though some of us are not carrot-lovers, we had no difficulty in polishing off an entire bowl's worth.

In tomato-land, the Green Zebras have done very well (see photo), but we're also enjoying many of the other varieties as well. We made up a salad on Saturday night that included Cherokee Purple, Stupice, Trophy, Amish Paste, Green Zebra, Beam's Yellow Pear, and also Juliet.

Now we're moving into the orchard to begin harvesting this year's apple crop-- more updates and photos soon!

September 09, 2008

New Book News!!!

We're happy to announce a new book that has just been released; written and photographed by Samantha and Dan Johnson. It's entitled "Horse Breeds: 65 Popular Horse, Pony and Draft Horse Breeds" and is published by Voyageur Press. They worked on this book most of last year and I just love the way it turned out. It has over 250 photos and lots of information on various breeds, and is hardback with 400 pages.

The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at bookstores nationwide. If you'd like to see it, the link at Amazon is

It was only with the help of many kind folks who opened up their farms and barns that they were able to get such a nice variety of horses and ponies to grace the pages of this new book. They're working on several new titles, with the next due out in January 09.

August 30, 2008

It ain't easy bein' green (beans)

Next on the "ready to pick" list from the garden....we have green beans. Oh, they have been so good! Again this year we planted the "Empress" variety and she certainly matches her royal name. What a producer! There are abundant 5-6 inch long, straight beans on each plant and since we planted over 350, it's a lot of picking! These also dry well when left on the plant and so seed saving is very simple and easy. We planted a second sowing of beans to be ready about 2 weeks from now, so there should be plenty for fresh eating as well as lots to put into the freezer.

Fair Happenings

The County Fair was wonderful fun, we entered a variety of classes and enjoyed spending some time there watching the judging and looking over the rabbits, chickens, sheep, goats, minis and donkeys that were entered. It's always a good time.

The children entered the open photography division and did a great job winning a number of classes, Em was so thrilled when her action photo was chosen as Best of Show in the color category. She had her picture taken with her winning entry and ribbon, and will be in the fair book next year. Last year J. Keeler won the Best of Show, so they are already excited about next year and will be taking lots of photos throughout the year. Rosie entered the "Still Life" and "Story" categories and won them both. The biggest entertainment is watching the people watching the judging. Judges have a tough row to hoe and I give them full credit for not throwing their hands up in frustration with some of the amusing antics of some of the exhibitors there.

August 10, 2008

Fresh from the... garden!

We're happy to report that there is a lot more going on today in the garden: the peas are ready for picking! We set up the kitchen for processing, which included blanching the peas for 1 and 1/2 minutes then plunging them into cold water to stop the cooking process. They were then placed into freezer bags and popped into the freezer for good eating this winter. The peas were "Green Arrow" and the plants produced very well, including lots of doubles. Most of the pods contained at least 10 good sized peas per pod. We also planted "Tom Thumb", which is a smaller heirloom variety that produces quickly, but the peas are definitely of the dwarf variety.

The raspberries have been simply amazing this year-- our freezer is overflowing and we've been eating them fresh with dinner every couple of days. Delicious eating and delightful summer fun!

July 31, 2008

July update from the farm

Summer is in full swing here at the farm. The bees are very busy and seem to be mainly interested in the trefoil in the pastures. I was hoping they'd spend a bit more time in the garden, but that's not been the case so far. The garden is doing well nonetheless...with the 50 tomato plants and over 250 peas, 350 beans, 500 onions that we planted, we hope to have lots of tasty eating. We received a welcome two and a half inches of rain yesterday and they only bad part was that a lightning strike took out our fence charger.

This has been the year of the ground squirrel, litter after litter has been born and raised and they are digging up way too many holes and tasting too many squash. We put up new bluebird houses this spring and though the first tenants were tree swallows, the bluebirds finally moved in and made their nests. We're very happy to have them setting up housekeeping. My hope is to have at least ten additional houses by next spring. We've located them on fenceposts next to our pastures and it appear that it's the perfect place for them.

Our county fair is fast approaching and the children love this time of the year and enjoy entering their projects in the fair. Last year J. Keeler won the Best of Show in photography, so he's hoping to do so again this year. But the competition will be stiff as his two sisters are entering their photos as well.

I'll update with the full fair report after next weekend. Meanwhile, there's lots to do, so I'd better get to it.

June 26, 2008

New Arrivals on the Farm!

We've already announced the arrival of our first foal of the season, but we thought we would take a moment to share the news of the other new arrivals around the farm this spring...

Two weeks is a short time, but it's an important period of time if you're a baby rabbit and are growing like crazy. Take a look at our litter of baby Rex rabbits... first photo is at 3 days old; the second photo shows the babies at 2 weeks old...

Now, at nearly four weeks, they are bouncing and jumping everywhere, when they're not eating hay, that is!

If you look closely at the next photo, you'll see another of the new arrivals... a tiny baby fawn! She and her mother are frequently seen grazing in the fields or napping in the meadow. She's positively tiny and simply adorable.


And then, of course, the birds are busily nesting. There is a nest of Chipping Sparrows in one of the bushes in the garden (there are three baby sparrows in the nest, but it's so deeply hidden that we cannot snap a photo), and we have a female Robin who spent several days constructing an *enormous* nest in the lilac bush by the front porch. She's now spending her days perched happily on her nest, so we expect to see and hear some new babies there soon.

Some of the birds are happy to utilize a more permanent structure for their nests, such as the Tree Swallow shown here!

June 06, 2008

The First "Miracle" of 2008!

We were very happy to greet the first Miracle of 2008 on Monday, June 2nd. Severn Ribbons 'N Lace (Severn West Wind LOM x Alliance Designer Bow LOM by *Synod Dicky Bow) delivered a simply wonderful buckskin Sec A Welsh Mountain Pony colt, sired by Mt. Ridge Yellow Jacket (*Vardra Secret [Bengad Rustling Grass] x *Lippens Queen Bee by Fronbach Canny Lad [a Synod Hello son]). This new little guy is unnamed as of yet, but he is extremely fancy with all four full stockings and a blaze. He has a beautiful face with gorgeous eyes, and is quite a cute mover already. :-) We're very thankful for this very special new arrival and are eagerly awaiting our second foal, also by Jack and out of Miracle Maid to Order.

April 26, 2008

Sugaring Season at Fox Hill Farm

Looking out the window today it's hard to imagine that last weekend was so nice.... today it is snowing and blowing as though it's late fall instead of early spring. Last Sunday we were still making some syrup with the last of the sap and it was a bright and sunny day with mild temperatures. The sap started running late this year due to the fact that winter kept hanging on and on and on. When the sap finally started running, it flowed pretty well over a two week period.

When we were boiling sap down, we did have a few breaks in the weather with beautiful blue skies and friendlier temperatures, and that made it much nicer. We've decided we need to have a building for the syrup-making next year, and a nice evaporator and bottler, too. The process this year was a lot of work, but enjoyable. With a little of the syrup we made some candies; and even though the first batch of candy turned out more like sugar and the second turned out more like taffy, it was still tasty.

Through Dan's photos he gives you a "taste" of making maple syrup here at the farm, from tapping the trees, to boiling the sap to some of the finished products. Enjoy your virtual maple sugaring tour!

April 05, 2008

Announcing... new books!

We're very pleased to announce that Dan's newest books have been recently released. They are two poster books published by Voyageur Press. The first one is "The World's Greatest Colts and Fillies Poster Book" and it features 43 photos of foals of various breeds, including Rocky Mountain Horses, Gypsy Vanners, Dales Ponies, Welsh, Norwegian Fjords, etc... The cover photo is the Welsh Mountain Pony colt, Miracle Smoke Signal, at about 3 weeks of age.

The other book is "The World's Greatest Baby Farm Animal Poster Book" and it features piglets, calves, lambs, kids, puppies, bunnies, kittens,'s a really adorable book. Both of these titles are great for young children.

Check out your local bookstore for these fun new titles, or shop online; both books are available through, Barnes and Noble, etc...

February 20, 2008

Cover Chick!

We're so tickled to have one of our photos appear on the cover of one of our favorite magazines, Hobby Farms! This is the current March/April 2008 issue, just out on the newsstands.
The last time we had the cover of Hobby Farms... it was also a photograph of a chicken. :-) So we're thinking that we're going to keep up with the chicken photography. Pretty fun!
Two new Popular Farming issues-- also just released from the publishers of Hobby Farms magazine-- include Orcharding and Ducks, both of which feature several interior photos by Dan.

February 07, 2008

Snowy Play Day, Pony (and Cob) Style!

With all of the recent snow lately, it has made for some very picturesque scenery, and extra fun for the ponies. Here are some new photos that Dan took over the weekend, showing 2 year old Sec. A palomino filly, Miracle Lili Maiden playing with her Sec. D Cob mare friend, LBF Linyanti. These two were having BIG fun in the snow!!


Review in Library Journal

We're very happy to say that Samantha's new book, "The Field Guide to Rabbits" was reviewed in the February issue of Library Journal. The full review can be read at this link: and here is a short excerpt: "Practical and well organized, this concise volume should be essential reading for anyone interested in raising domestic rabbits."

January 21, 2008

Pony News from Miracle Welsh

We're excited to announce that the WPCSA (Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America) Regional High Score awards have recently been announced. Miracle Lili Maiden, (Mt. Ridge Yellow Jacket x Doncardeb Miss Sunny Ruby) 2006 palomino filly, is the Champion Section A Filly for the North Central Region, and Miracle A Certain Charm (Gallimaufry Jaguar x Severn Buttons 'N Bows) 2005 grey filly now in CA, is the Res. Champion Sec. A Filly for the South West Region. We're delighted that these two Miracle fillies did so well in the show ring in 2007.

In other pony news, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our 2008 foals. We are expecting two Section A Welsh Mountain Pony foals. Severn Ribbons 'N Lace (Severn West Wind LOM x Alliance Designer Bow LOM by *Synod Dicky Bow) is expecting a foal by Mt. Ridge Yellow Jacket (*Vardra Secret x *Lippens Queen Bee by Fronbach Canny Lad-- a Synod Hello son). This foal is due in May. In June we are expecting the first foal out of Miracle Maid to Order (Gallimaufry Jaguar x Heritage Hall's the Cat's Meow by Tanglewood Sundance). This foal is also sired by Yellow Jacket.

At the moment, we currently have four Welsh on our sales list... a Section C colt, a Section D mare, a yearling Section A colt, and a Half-Welsh hunter pony prospect. Take a peek at and click on the sales list to see photos of them.

January 19, 2008

The Field Guide to Rabbits

We are very pleased to announce that Samantha's newest book, The Field Guide to Rabbits has just been released by Voyageur Press and is now available! Look for it at or on Amazon at this link: In addition, Daniel's photographs appear throughout the book.

More book news coming-- check back soon!

Winter on the Farm

It's cold.

Very, very cold.

Here on the farm this morning it was a brisk -20, with a wind chill that made it "feel like" it was -37 below zero. Consequently, no one is interested in being outside today... hence the blog updates. :-)

A few new photos for your viewing pleasure, courtesy of Dan... We had some surprise visitors in our crabapple tree a few mornings ago. These Pine Grosbeaks were a vivid spot of color in a world that is otherwise completely white.

In addition to the frigid temperatures, we've also been getting our fair share of new snow, including another six inches on Thursday. It is beautiful to look at, but it does make it harder to get around the farm for chores.

We'll close with a bit of winter verse, also courtesy of Dan...


I can see my breath
In the light from the porch
When I step outside
Into the
I can hear the snow
Squeak under my boots
As I walk to the barn
Into the
I can feel the burning
On my cheeks and it seems
To be Hot.
How can that be?
What is going on here?
How can the
make me feel
When it's not?

January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for a happy and blessed New Year from all of us at Fox Hill Farm / Miracle Welsh!