Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Saying Goodbye

minnikin's critters

She was a shepherdess. I met her on Homesteading Today, a homesteading forum. Since we both lived in NY, we became friends there. Eventually, we both became members of a NY homesteading group. For some reason we seem to have connected  immediately. She always liked the way I would say that my husband said, that "we were not living old-fashioned, but of the future." Several times she'd ask me to repeat it so she could remember it. I believe it was the way she was trying to live also.We met in person FINALLY, at our NY group's second get together, which was at Bowman Park. I remember when I was introduced to her, she just hugged me like we were old friends, who hadn't seen each other in some time.

Hut On The Hill Homestead

Mary Scholefield lost her battle with breast cancer this past Saturday. She was a major member on our NY  forum and really lived this homesteading life. Her knowledge she shared with us all. I read some of her posts from 2007 today, and found them so full of information. "Minnikin" really knew the direction she wanted to take with her Hut On The Hill Homestead. I might add that her homestead was a big old dairy barn that she and her husband, Jim, had been working on. They lived in one end and the animals in the other. I always liked that idea.

Some of her lambs!

One of our members, "backtotheland" wrote:

"I remember the first time I met Mary. I answered an ad on craigslist for Jackie who wanted a certain breed of sheep and Mary had one. Well away I went with Jackie in my Eddie Bauer Explorer to find Mary and the sheep. We finally found her and we both immediately fell in love with them, Mary and her flock of sheep. We loaded Toy in the car and brought her back to Jackie's where she is still going strong today. 

Then there was the time I went out to see Mary at the "barn house" and we had such a good time while she showed me the property. I myself,  purchased two ewes from her, Bonnie and Little Sister. Little Sister is gone now, which I found out the other day. But Bonnie is still going strong. And I think, due to the circumstances where she is, that I'm going to ask for her back as soon as I can get a building up. She is a beautiful ewe and I don't want anything to happen to her, especially now. Mary was a wonderful, wonderful lady and I will miss her, even though I didn't see her much."

Artwork done by her nephew that she was so proud of!

She will always be "minnkin" to me.  As a homesteader, "minnikin" had so many plans. She was really into the raw milk issue. And had posted a wonderful blog post about it that I wish I had saved. On our group's forum she had posted many links to a variety of homesteading topics. I think I will be posting some of her ideas in future posts on this blog as the information is so timely and should not be wasted. She was studying on how to train oxen and had such hopes of what she would do in the future.


Mary posted, "Some days my favorite thing to do is go sit with critters. Today I bundled up warmly and sat in the hay with the lambs - Minuet, Caliope, and Zephyr.

Minnie is the sweetest little thing - as friendly as a puppy and soft as the fine-wooled breeds. She's a kind of lonely right now because her Mum is in with the ram. I am honored that she thinks I am a suitable substitute for company. She stayed right by side, nibbling my hair, pulling off my glasses, and nudging me for scratches. She's a clingy one and follows me like the old rhyme.. everywhere that Mary went, Minuet was sure to go...

Zephyr , the newest addition, seemed very unsure about me sitting there, at first. I could tell he was really nervous because I could see too much white around his eyes. They get wild eyed looking when they're nervous.

Eventually he came sniffing around to see what I was all about, so I pulled out a pair of scissors and started snipping at some wool tags around his head. Those are little wads of felted wool that form around hay seeds, behind their ears, or on the chest and belly. The wool in these tags pulls on the sheep's skin. They enjoy it when I sit there gently cutting them out.

Soon, instead of wild eyed nervousness, he was standing with droopy, half closed lids...

After about an hour the temperature started to really drop, and I had to escape to the heat, but it was such a nice way to spend a little time. It makes me feel guilty, though - playing hooky from chores."

One of her angora bunnies!

My deepest sympathy and prayers are sent to Mary's family. Just know, that she will never be forgotten. And all the members of our NY Homesteading group, will be using her knowledge for many years to come!

Rest In Peace, Sweet Homesteading Sister!


Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

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