Monday, December 1, 2014


Well folks, we had a white Thanksgiving here and we enjoyed every minute of it!  All of the animals were enjoying the snow as well.  While feeding the animals were getting excited because I think, somehow, they just knew that it was a special day.  Here at Blue Mountain Farms, we obviously live on a mountain, so we get a lot of snow.  

Journey, my miniature horse, who is afraid of puddles, loves snow and frozen puddles, now, does that make any sense to you?  I had to walk him outside for the morning feeding and, at first, he had no idea it was snowing, until he looked up and saw the Winter Wonderland; he went crazy!  After that show, the following goats had to go outside: Peek-a-Boo, Spidey, and Cocoa.  Cocoa was non-stop sneezing because she put her head down right into the snow, and she was not to happy.  Peek-a-Boo ran to the pen faster then I had ever seen before!  Spidey did not seem to care all that much though.  Once they were taking care of, it was time for the kids!  The kids are included as follows: Maple, Eclipse, Luna, Ester-Ella, Meteor, and finally the lamb named Charm.  Maple and Luna, as soon as they walked out of the barn, stopped dead in their tracks.  Eclipse loved the snow so much that I thought he would never want to go back in the barn!  Meteor and Charm, on the other hand, started crying so much because they were unsure of what was going on, or what was falling from the sky!  It was a very interesting feeding session that morning, if I must say so myself.  I took some pictures while the snow lasted and I would like to share them with you.  

Gus Gus and the kids were checking things out.

Harley says, "What is all this white stuff?"

Peek-a-Boo and Oscar look a little mad, don't you think? 


Journey is showing off... like always


She is a very pretty horse, is she not?

"Yeah, Yeah, I get it, I am cute, now where is the hay?" 

Peanut is a very happy cat!

Thank you for reading this blog and I hope you enjoyed the pictures! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Well, I WENT TO TEXAS!!!!!! It was a very exciting experience! On the way down, we stopped in Pigeon Forge Tennessee for the night and in the morning we checked in to the Titanic museum and had a blast! First of all, we are given our tickets, then we are given our "boarding pass" that enables us to enter the Titanic.  If you read the Boarding Pass, it has a name and some information.  The name is yours for the day, and the information is your biography about yourself.  My name was Genevieve and I was from New York.  We were given a mobile device that played a role of being our very own guide for the day.  As we walked through the Titanic, we saw different codes that you would type into your device and the "guide" would tell you all about the room you were entering.  I had two favorite parts of the whole event.  The first one was the fact that we actually experienced 28 degrees Fahrenheit salt water and different degrees of slopes that the Titanic increased while sinking.  I also love the fact that after the tour, you were able to talk to the ships "captain" and we learned that the Bible was a huge part of the Titanic and that the "captain" saw the Titanic wreckage site!  At the very end, you were told if the person that you played for the day survived the sinking or passed away at sea.  Genevieve survived! 

Once we were finished in the museum, we were headed down the road again.  It was a very long drive, but it was all worth it!  Speaking of worth, around midnight of October 30th, we arrived In Forth Worth, Texas!  I was very excited to see how the week would go!  It was exciting by just being there!  The next day, most of the youth studied like crazy since we were about to participate in the royalty contest.  That day just blew right by and before I knew it, I was in the breed ID room putting my best knowledge on my paper in front of me.  In case you're not sure how the contest works, I'll explain it:

King(Boys, Ages 15-18 years), Queen(Girls, Ages 15-18 years), Duke(Boys, Ages 12-14 years),

Duchess(Girls, Ages 12-14 years), Prince(Boys, Ages 9-11 years), Princess(Girls, Ages 9-11 years), Lord(Boys, Ages

5-8 years), Lady(Girls, Ages 5-8 years). Age is determined by the contestant’s age on the last day of the Nationals

Convention. Winners are announced at the Youth Banquet during the ARBA National Convention.  King and Queen, Duke and Duchess, judge four groups of four rabbits, breed ID, and if they do well, they will be a part of a face to face interview. For the judging, you have to place four rabbits the way that you think a rabbit judge would place them for each class, but you only have seven minutes.  As for the Breed ID, there are at least 25 rabbit and/or cavies (guinea pigs) that you have to identify on a piece of paper the breed of the animal, it's variety that it would be shown under, if it is shown under four classes (a small rabbit) or six classes (a bigger rabbit), and what it's registration variety is.  Prince and Princesses, Lords and Ladies, are required to do Showmanship, Breed ID, and if they get a callback, they then have a face to face interview.  All of the youth participating in the royalty contest, will also have a written test.  
I am proud to say that I was called back for an interview!  I also was on a team for Pennsylvania.  We had to again judge a class of four rabbits and our individual scores for breed ID is combined with the team scores.  My Pennsylvania team won third runner-up nationally!  I also won runner-up with my Management application!  I was very proud of that accomplishment because I work very hard to care for my rabbits.  Also, my scarf that I donated to NARBC, the angora rabbit breeder club, raised $125!  Two other exciting things happened for me personally.  My American Fuzzy Lops did very well.  I have been raising them for several years now.  In Texas I showed a solid senior doe, a solid senior buck, and a broken senior buck.  My solid buck was third, my solid doe placed second in her class, and my broken senior buck went on to win best opposite of breed.  That was amazing considering there were over 70 American Fuzzy Lops shown!  Additionally, my Satin Angora won best of breed.  This is also a huge accomplishment considering she is from my own breeding program.  I was very excited and very happy with the week!  I really thought that the Texas crew did a great job!  We all need to remember that clubs volunteer to host these events, it is a ton of work, and I for one really appreciate all that they did!  Great Job TEXAS!

Did I mention the fact that at home there was a litter of seven Crème D' Argents born?   Just one other Texas note:  I even bought an English Lop when I was there.  Yes, I know what you are thinking, "What is an English Lop?"  Simple, it is only a rabbit that has ears at least 21 inches from tip to tip. :)  His name is Len and he is very happy to be home.

My Satin Angora Best of Breed Winner with the judge...

My new English Lop named Len

My American Fuzzy Lop named Nate with Best Opposite of Breed!

Monday, October 27, 2014


Hello everyone! Or should I say, "Howdy ya'll"? I am very pleased to announce that there is only two more days before traveling to the great state of Texas! "Why am I going?" you might ask yourself. ARBA nationals! ARBA stands for the American Rabbit Breeders Association.  ARBA is a huge show that is held in the fall of every year.  I have been a part of this wonderful journey since 2008 and so far I have visited the following states: Minnesota, Indiana, Kansas, Last year it was here in Harrisburg, and now Texas.  We have usually over 22,500 animals at the convention.  Wow, that is a lot of rabbits!  There are 48 different breeds of rabbits and each breed has there own standard.  There are also 13 different breeds of cavies.  You might be thinking to yourself, "What are cavies now?" but the answer is simple.  They are guinea pigs, but in the rabbit world, we call them cavies. 

Now for the really exciting part... What rabbits I am taking?  Well, when you are preparing for this big of a show, you must choose your rabbits wisely.  I am taking a total of nine rabbits and I am excited for each one.  Keep in mind that I have those big, fluffy rabbits that love to chew their coats when in stress, so do the math.  A 25 hour drive + A big, fluffy angora + A small cage = A chewed coat.  How do you stop that?  Simple, just put them in a bigger pen.  It still is very stressful for you and the rabbit because you spent eight months to grow this coat on this rabbit for this show; you don't want to lose it now! 

I am also going to participate in the royalty contest and the educational display.  I had to pre-enter the educational projects and the applications and let me just say that they are very lengthy.  I am in the Duchess category and a lot of girls are usually in that category as well.  What I entered for the education display was a pair of fingerless mittens (the pair I made the pattern for) and a woven scarf.  What I did was warped the loom for two scarfs and then wove them both in one day!  It was very good practice for Farm Show(you will be reading a blog on that soon...) One of the scarfs I am keeping and I am donating the other scarf to the NARBC. NARBC stands for the National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club.  Hope they like it!

I will be writing a blog as soon as I get home to update you on our adventure...

My English Angora jr. doe is ready!
My French Angora buck...

My Satin Angora doe...

The scarfs that I am entering and donating... (I am keeping the blue one)


Monday, October 20, 2014

Make It With Wool....

 Hello everyone!  I am very excited to report about this past Saturday.  I went to a very fun event called The Make It With Wool Contest.  To be a part of this contest, you must make a garment that has a minimum percentage of wool or wool blend (minimum of 60% wool or specialty fiber is required) for each fashion fabric or yarn used. Specialty wool fibers include mohair, cashmere, alpaca, camel, and llama in the garment or garments.  

For my outfit, I knit a sweater with cables that is held together in the front with a button that I made out of modeling clay.  I also knit a hat out of the same yarn that I used for the sweater with except I hand dyed that yarn.  I used more of this hand-dyed yarn to weave fabric which I used to construct a pair of shorts and then lined the shorts with satin.  The best part is, the fact that all of the yarn was made in our fiber mill and it all came off of my very own Leicester Longwool sheep named Boo!  After my brother and I sheared Boo, I skirted his fleece, and then washed it.  I made roving out of it and my sister Ashley and my mom helped to finish it into yarn on the spinning frame.  The yarn I used to weave the fabric and the yarn I used to knit my hat was hand dyed with a lighter shade of purple and a mint green.  I had a great time at the contest!  I was in the junior category with other girls who had beautiful garments!  I didn't know what to expect.  After the fashion show, they announced the winners and little did I know, I WON!  Now, I get the opportunity to represent Pennsylvania and go to nationals!  Guess where... Nevada!  I am more than excited now.

Boo was excited to hear to news that his fleece is going to Nevada!

Waiting to hear the winners....

My outfit....

All of the winners and runner-ups... Congrats everyone!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

We Are Up and Running!!!!

Hello everyone!  I know it is a little delayed, but we had the Grand Opening!  It was a great success!  We even had a welcoming committee consisting of: Eclipse and Meteor.  Every time someone came up the driveway, Eclipse and Meteor were on it!  We did learn that Eclipse likes kids (probably because he is one himself) and Meteor does not. It made for a good story... 

That wasn't all, we had a lot going on. Tyler, Papa, and my dad were stirring the soup in the kettle, mom was here there and everywhere and enjoying every minute of it, Nana, Deb, and Linda were in the shop, Ashley and Megan were in charge of the fiber mill tours, Cami and I were with the welcoming committee and doing Rabbit tours, and Uncle Randy kept all of us company when needed.  We had a pretty great Blue Mountain Farms group, if I must say so myself. We even wore T-shirts, Blue Mountain Farms T-shirts and we all looked great!  It was a beautiful fall day and we couldn't have ask for any more of it.  If you are ever around us make a trip up here; Eclipse and I would love to show you around!

Great Group!

Tyler, Papa, and Randy with the soup...

Our snack table! It was delicious!
Cami an I with the welcoming committee! No Hands!

The Fiber Mill...

See, I told you Eclipse likes kids....

Monday, September 22, 2014

Madi's Mitts!

Well, I finally did it!  I wrote my own knitting pattern using my very own fiber from my very own rabbits.  Now that we have our mill, we've been having a lot of fun, in between jobs for others, making our own yarns using our own fiber.  Last week, we used a lot of our rabbit fiber to blend it with a dyed merino top.  Merino top is a fiber that has been processed into a wonderfully soft roving.  After washing, piking, carding, and pin-drafting, we were finally ready to spin.  Once the roving was ready, we spun it into a beautiful yarn!  The one we named Wizzywig Wild and I decided to make a pair of fingerless mitts with the yarn, but I wanted to make my own pair with my own pattern, so I did.  

It took a lot of math and thinking, but I finished with two adorable mitts!  Not to mention the fact that that the yarn was made from our own rabbits, made in our own mill, and the mitts were made right here were the yarn was made!  How about that?

One of the nicest things about angora yarn, not to mention the warmth and softness it provides, is the lovely "halo" that garments made from it will actually start to produce.  Here are just a few of the pictures from the fun we had last week:

Yummy angora roving

Yarn on the skein winder

Yarn in different colors & weights

One of my bunnies being groomed just before shearing time!

Here are my finished mitts! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fall Fever

It is that time of the year again.  The Carhartts get dusted off, everyone is doing school work, the temperature drops drastically, pools get closed, pumpkins are placed on front porches, apple cider is a drink of choice, all of the animals get their winter coats on, knitted scarves are a fashionable statement, and the leaves start changing color.  Well, it's officially fall folks!  

This morning, I walked out to feed all of the animals, and to my surprise, it was colder this morning than it was last night!  Let's just say I was happy to have a sweatshirt near-by.  My goats looked like they needed a sweatshirt as well, so I went out with some old T-shirts and put them on my goats.  They are stylish now!  Hopefully it doesn't start snowing soon because I really don't have enough time to knit them all a wool sweater!

I also noticed while I was out with the "girls" Peek-A-Boo and Cocoa were in heat.  My buck, Spidey, even noticed too.  Well, everyone will just have to wait because if I breed them now, I'll definitely have to make some wool sweaters because the kids would be due the end of January beginning of February.  I will be waiting until the next cycle which will bring the kids closer to March.
Luna and her shirt!

Peek-A-Boo enjoying the day and the sheep just resting!

Esther Ella posing


Friday, September 5, 2014

Murphy's Law.....

Murphy's Law is an interesting adage.  You've heard it, or maybe you haven't.  Basically Murphy's Law states that if it can possibly  go wrong, eventually it will.  Well, that was my case with my current litter of Giant Angora rabbits.  First, you must understand, my sister has been raising and breeding quality Giant Angoras for over ten years now.  She has worked really hard on her line and it hasn't been easy.  So, I had a great place to get started.  

There are very few Giant Angoras in the country and I thought it would be good to start raising them so that other youth might become interested in them too.  I began raising Giant Angoras about 2 1/2 years ago.  I started with a doe and used a buck of my sisters to breed her.  The doe soon had a healthy litter of six and was a wonderful mom.  In fact, I weaned all six of the babies.  I sold four of them and kept two does.  The two does I kept went with me to ARBA Nationals that year and the one won breed.  When I returned home, I bred them, but in that process, one of the does died.  The other doe never had kits.  I tried two more times to breed her, Ruby I called her, but it still didn't work.  It was very frustrating.  Finally, after trying one more time to breed her, it seemed as though it worked.  Ruby made it to day 28, I put in her nest box, and then, just before having the babies, she died.  I was very sad and discouraged.

I could have given up, but I didn't.  I still wanted very much to begin raising those wonderful Giant Angoras.  So, a very dear friend of ours offered me another doe.  I named her Amy and she came from Kelly at Hopping Acres.  In fact, I now have two does from Kelly.  The first one and now a second named Abbytude.  Can you guess why I call her that?

So, back to my story with Murphy's Law...  The time came for me to breed Amy.  My sister offered her buck named Oz, the breed winner at ARBA Nationals in Kansas.  After all my experiences so far, I was very nervous to try, but I did.  On day 28, Amy wasn't showing any signs of any impending birthing.  You know, the usual, pull hair, build a nest, stop eating, and other signs.  So I thought the breeding didn't take.  Imagine my surprise when on day 31, Amy began having kits.  Remember though, if it can possibly go wrong, eventually, it does.  Out of 9 kits born, only two were alive and those two were born on the wire, getting cold, and about to die.  I had a choice to make.  Try to work hard to preserve the two kits, or let them go and try breeding again.  If you know me, you probably know the choice I made.  I tried to save the kits.  

First, and most important, I had to warm them up.  Everyday, at least twice a day, I had to bring Amy to her kits to nurse them.  Now, understand, you can't just bring in the mom and expect her to willingly do this.  First, the kits have to be warm.  If they aren't warm, they won't eat.  If they don't get milk from mom soon after they are born, they become weak, and they won't live.  So in other words, it's really important for them to be warm and eat.  There is another important step here.  Since they won't be with the mom after eating, I had to try to get them to go to the bathroom.  I did this by using a warm cloth and softly rubbed their genital area.  Sounds like fun, doesn't it?  Just so you know, if I didn't do that, the toxins in their body would have killed them if they don't go potty.

Well, it was a lot of work and unfortunately one of the kits didn't make it, but the other did.  I'm proud to say that little guy is now 7 weeks old, soon ready to be weaned from mom, and he is eating and drinking on his own!  Murphy visited his ugly head here way too many times with this litter of Giant Angoras and I hope he doesn't come back again any time soon.  I am, however, proud to say that I have this little guy and he is now doing quite well.   

Zo says "Hello!"

Even getting ear furnishings!

Zo in all his cuteness!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's Official, I'm a Nerd!

So, just the other day, I dyed some yarn!  It wasn't just any yarn, it was yarn from my very own Leicester Longwool Ram named Boo.  You remember him.  He's the ram that hurt his back earlier this summer.  I'm proud to report that he is doing well now and is back with all his friends taking his role at the top of the pecking order.  

I am working with this yarn to prepare for the Pennsylvania Make It With Wool Contest.  In that contest, you need to construct garments made from wool.  Since our fiber mill is now fully functional, I decided that I would work with Boo's fleece to raise awareness for the Leicester Longwool breed of sheep for my project.  There are very few of them in the country and they are amazing sheep.  To prepare for my project, my brother sheared Boo.  I then washed his fleece, ran it through our picker in the mill, and then carded the wool into roving.  Our pin drafter then prepared the wool for the spinning frame.  I chose to make a two-ply and a three-ply yarn.  I am using a two ply yarn to hand knit a cabled sweater and the three ply yarn to weave fabric I am using to make lined dress shorts.  I hope to also finish a matching knit slouch hat too.  

Before I put the yarn onto the loom, I hand dyed it.  I was very happy with how it turned out.  I then chose my pattern to use on the loom, but I'm going to save pictures of that until after the contest.  Wish me luck.  I can't wait to see and model the finished product in October.

Off to heat set my yarn!

Check that out!  Boo makes wonderful yarn!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Dear summer,
Where are you? Are you hiding? I need you to come back. You were here, then you were gone! I started school yesterday and let me just say I miss you already! When you were here, I enjoyed your visit as much as I could. The following is a list of some of the stuff I did while you were here: went to the Wolf Sanctuary, Ashley graduated college, Tyler graduated high school, went to the beach, bought Peek-A-Boo, saved Boo, attended shooting sports, participated in multiple demonstrations, competed in fashion review, worked in the fiber mill a lot, celebrated my 13th birthday, enjoyed 4-H exchange, drove Journey at 4-H fair AND Districts, participated 4-H fair, attended and volunteered at Ag Progress Days, sang in my recital, and so much more!  I don't think that anyone was ready for you to leave yet. Before I know it, I am going to be 14 and you will be here and gone again! Next time you come, stay for a little longer, please.
See you next year! Your friend,
P.S. Here are some photos of your visit.

Peek-A-Boo after getting a bath on a hot day...
A demo with friends...
Journey driving at fair!
Me and dad at shooting sports for shotgun...

Me carding in the mill!
Me and my friend Ashley Dobbin after large animal clover contest 4H fair
Singing at my recital - "The House of the Rising Sun"

One of the wolves at the Wolf Sanctuary...


Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Goal...

For the past three years, I have had one special goal.  This is one goal that a lot of people thought wasn't going to happen for a long, long time!  But, before I begin talking about this goal, I need to start from the beginning.  When I was four years old, I am now thirteen, we started volunteering at a local horse farm run by Ben and Shirley Nolt.  This farm is called CATRA, Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association.  They work hard with therapeutic events for people with disabilities.  When we began volunteering at CATRA, they had a pregnant, Miniature horse that needed to be worked with! Without any hesitation, we took that offer.  Of course I didn't understand much of what I was just told, but I did hear the words horse and needed to be worked with, so I was very excited!  Anyway, this mini's name was Merri-legs and we walked her outside to her pasture, with other goats and minis. Merri-legs wasn't due to have her foal yet so we took her outside for the day.  We had been walking her for a few weeks now and we were very excited because her due-date was coming soon!  

One early spring day, after volunteering at CATRA, we went home to eat lunch. When we arrived home, we received a phone call from CATRA saying, "The foal was born and he needs to be warmed!"  We raced down to CATRA, again, to find a CATRA volunteer holding the foal in several towels because, this foal was found in the pond!  Keep in mind this was March 28th so it wasn't warm out!  After the foal was warm, we worked on standing him up. He still wasn't strong  enough to hold his weight.  He needed a name, somebody suggested the name Journey, and we loved that name so we called him that from that day on.  A few weeks later, Journey was happy and healthy!  Our family really loved Journey so we asked if he would ever be sold and they said that it would depend on who is buying him. So what did we do? Well, we bought him!  He was as tall as me at the time, so I couldn't do much with him.  Ashley, my sister, worked with Journey until Tyler, my brother didn't want Bumble any more.  Bumble is another mini we own because we wanted a horse but we could afford the space for a mini.  So after begging mom for one, Tyler finally was able to get Bumble. But that is a whole nother story.  So Ashley started working with Bumble, then BJ came along.  BJ was a foal out of Bumble and Journey!  I worked with BJ and I loved him, then Ashley didn't like him because he was fighting with the sheep so BJ left.  

Now, since Tyler started with cows and Ashley had Bumble, I started working with Journey.  Honestly, at first I wasn't a fan of Journey but then I realized how much Journey could do!  About a year after working with Journey, I made a goal.  My goal was to drive Journey at my 4-H fair.  I worked with Journey for three years after making that goal and in that time Journey and I built a lot of trust!  I worked on line driving him and desensitizing him so he isn't scared of a cart being behind him.  I was finally able to put a cart behind him and drive him this year!  The best part is, I drove him at my 4-H fair!  I even qualified for Districts!  Districts is a horse show that if you do well at your county fair you can show again at Districts and if you do well there you can show at States! I received a third place ribbon at Districts and the top two go on to states, so close!  So my goal was to drive Journey at 4-H fair and I did it!  I am very proud of him and with how far we came in the time that I have been working with him!   


Districts last year... We have come a long way since then...

Journey and all of his awesomeness...

Goal succeeded!

Driving at fair, it felt good!
Waiting to drive at Districts...