Monday, December 03, 2007

New Pups! Theme: Pacific Northwest

We welcomed six black and yellow puppies from our black lab, Mingus, early on November 29th. Labor began around midnight and by 8 AM she was done (or so we thought). About six hours later she birthed a stillborn pup, which caught us all by surprise. Nonetheless, the six we have are healthy and growing fast!

As is our custom, we've named this litter after a recent vacation destination. Last summer we traveled to northern California to visit San Francisco, Yosemite, and the Redwoods, and then continued up the coast of Oregon and Washington. Thus, our three male and three femaile puppies have the temporary names of: Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea, El Capitan (F), Yosemite (F), and Wizard (M) (after the island in Crater Lake).

Our smallest puppy, Sacagawea, was born with some intriguing markings reminiscent of the first labrador retrievers that arrived in England in the 1840s from Newfoundland. Known as "St. John's" labs, these early emissaries had white paws, a white chin, and white chests to contrast with their black hair. It is not uncommon for black labs to be born with some white markings but they often diminish or completely disappear. We're not sure what will happen with Sacagawea but it seems clear that her heritage extends back to the St. John's labs.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Our Third Annual OPEN HOUSE SALE is set for Saturday, Dec 8, from 12 - 6 PM. We hope you can stop by to do some holiday shopping and will sip some warm mulled cider and enjoy some good cheer.

We'll have our kitchen and dining room filled with our handcrafted soaps, skin creams and lip balms (winter's here--time to stock up!), beeswax candles, and our organic honey. This year we also have our own infused organic lavender honey. Consider stopping by our website to place an order online or simply to get some ideas of what we have for sale.

Parking will be on the grass and along the road, if you can't find a spot near the door. You may also be able to take a peak at our newest litter of lab puppies! We hope to see you there! Driving directions can be found at our website.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Raspberry Honey!

We're enjoying a great Spring and the weather has been nearly ideal for the bees. We enjoyed our highest winter survival rate ever for our bees with only a 10% loss of our hives, and the bees came on strong as the spring bloom got underway.

Early nectar and pollen sources included willows, maples, oaks, and dandelion followed by Russian olive, clover, honeysuckle, and raspberry. Yes, raspberry has been a fantastic nectar source this year as you can see by the picture, above. Beautiful in color and great tasting, we've never experienced anything like it in our eight years as beekeepers. We're seeing it in hives on both sides of the Connecticut River. Meanwhile, during a drive back from Hartford today I noticed the sumac is starting to bloom. That signals the last significant nectar source for the spring/summer period. By early July, a dirth of nectar and pollen will begin until late August when we'll begin seeing purple loosestrife, goldenrod, and eventually, asters.

We're happy to report our organic honey was showcased in the June/July issue of "NUTMEG", a beautiful food and lifestyle magazine 'from West Haven to Westerly' (contact NUTMEG Publications at 646.320.8959 for more info). We hope to have our first harvest in mid-July, assuming the bees finish 'capping' the honeycomb. This occurs when they have evaporated the honey down to about 17 percent moisture content. At that point the pH of the honey will keep it from spoiling--nature's only naturally preserved food!

For ordering info be sure to visit our website Three Sisters Farms.

Let the Picks begin!

Hard to believe our pups are now seven weeks old! They're showing their age--increasingly independent and curious, they're now willing to embark on new adventures away from the pack to explore the new and unfamiliar. Great if you're a puppy; not so fun if you're the person in charge of keeping an eye on them. It's not uncommon to have several puppies go in different directions--all at once.

Our new puppy pen is a great place for the puppies to get some fresh air, romp on the rocks and childrens' playscape, and generally get as dirty as possible by rolling in the dirt! Once this litter is gone we'll plant grass!! In the meantime, with the weather so pleasant the pen is a great place for them to hang out. The most fun is when we open the gate and take off on a game of Catch-the-breeder. Nothing like eight little yellow guys running flat out trying to catch us as we trot around the yard.

We've had several puppies selected by their new owners. Wow! Only one week until they go to their new homes. Chase It, Sunset, Pig Dog, and Everglade are now 'taken', and we hope to have the remaining new owners make their selections this weekend. We still have a couple of females available--with a new ad in the paper, they'll be finding new homes soon, too.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We've got the Munchies!

The pups had their first 'real meal' on Saturday, a few days later than we've started in the past, but the pups didn't seem to mind. Bromley, as always, has been a great mom and continues to nurse her babies willingly (oftentimes by four weeks the mother has initiated weaning--not Bromley!), thus there's been no need to thrust food on the little guys.

The puppies have their first several teeth and are just beginning to use them--on ears, tails, etc., which accordingly, results in screeches and whimpers from the unlucky recipient of the teething. When starting them on solid food we soak regular dog kibble in water until it is mushy soft (about 20-30 minutes). We've started this litter with two serving plates for sets of four puppies each. So far, there's been little pushing as they've each done a good job lapping up their fill. With some litters there's a frantic rush to eat but this group has been pretty mellow so far.

And 'mellow' is an appropriate label for this group of puppies... very easy going, content, no whiners or whimperers in this clan. They still do a lot of sleeping but enjoy getting a chance to play and explore when we let them out. The recent rain was a damper on their outdoor fun but today they enjoyed scampering about and interacting with Grandma Caicos, Aunt Mingus, and half-sister Sedona, along with Bromley mom. We're just beginning the fun puppy phase!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

They're ALL 'Runarounds'!

Hard to believe our little gang will be four weeks old tomorrow (5/30)--time is flying by for us, with puppies, beekeeping, soapmaking, homeschooling, moving daughter home from college for the summer, school plays, recitals, etc. (Don't ask me about our lawn--groan...) Fortunately, this litter has been pretty easy to care for up until now.

Meanwhile, they've all become 'runarounds', as one of the puppies is formally/informally named already. It's like they woke up this morning and discovered the word, PLAY. Of course, puppy play means charging into each other, testing out new (and sharp!) teeth on each other's ears, romping, exploring, and basically discovering the world around themselves. The easy days of puppy rearing are behind us. Some last longer than others, though after about 5 minutes they one by one slip off to a corner or a cool spot and return to their prolonged slumber. As puppies, dogs spend a good 90 percent of their time sleeping and G-R-O-W-I-N-G.

At four weeks we'll start them on regular dog food. Up until now the mother nurses them as needed. Looking at their rolley-polley size, Bromley seems to be handling the task well. Even with six feedings a day, she's yet to catch up to her pre-pregnancy weight--the puppies really pull the calories out of their mother! With little puppies a little preparation is necessary when introducing regular dog food: our dry kibble is soaked in water for a good half hour until it swells nearly triple in size and is soft and mashable. This gruel is tasty for most, something strange and new for some. We'll let you know how this group takes to it. Check back soon--we'll have some fresh pictures!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Two Weeks!

This is a group of snoozers. Alas, all good things come to an end. It's been an easy litter for everyone so far. Bromley's a very attentive mother and has done a great job taking care of her little pups. We keep her fueled -- some six feedings a day and she still seems thin -- as those little guys grow seemingly exponentially.

With two weeks come two major events in the life of a puppy. Their eyes open for the first time and they begin standing and walking. How convenient! They can begin to see where they're going! Still, dogs rely first and foremost on their sense of smell. Up until now they've lifted their noses and sniffed their mom whenever she enters the whelping box. Her scent pulls them close and they instinctively begin to suckle. It won't be too long before they'll get a taste of solid food (usually between week 3 and 4)... and then OUR fun begins!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

First Week Update

The puppies continue to grow -- now about double in size from their birth weights. All are doing well, keeping mom, Bromley, busy with frequent squeals for meals. She's begun taking time away from the whelping box, but only for a few minutes here and there. With this litter she's developed a habit of scrunching up the rug that covers the floor of the whelping box. The rug is there to help keep the pups warm, along with an infrared light. Bromley has issues with the rug. Several times a day we find she has gathered it up and pushed it (and a few pups captured inside) away from where she wants to sit. Okay. We've turned off the light to cool things a bit - but she still scrunches the rug! Our concern is that a covered puppy will be stepped on. It's a constant battle between Bromley and us rug smoothers...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Play Ball!

Bromley can hardly wait for the rest of the team. Counting her, the family could field a team for the big game. Now, if we could only get them to play with their eyes open!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Eight is Enough

Whew! Starting around 6:30 PM, Bromley gave birth to eight wonderful yellow puppies -- three boys and five girls. Honestly, we were expecting a few more, given her extreme girth prior to birthing. Size is deceiving until you realize that each of the pups of this litter were about 10 percent larger than our previous litters at birth. Each pup weighed between 17 and 19 ounces--pretty hefty when we reflect on some litters where a few of the pups tipped the scales at a scant 9-1/2 ounces! Looking at it another way, Bromley added about 30% of her pre-pregnancy weight.

Fortunately, all went well for Bromley, despite the loss of her last birthed pup -- a nearly four hour labor for that one! Altogether, two puppies were stillborn. It's always a mystery as to why but it's probably one reason why dogs have such large litters--the law of averages perhaps.

Sometimes a puppy is whelped (born) and seems to lack any sign of life. It's tempting to give up on 'em. We had an extreme occurence this time. One of the puppies appeared lifeless... no sound, no sign of breathing, no movement at all. However, leaving the placenta attached, Stasia worked nearly 30 minutes to bring forth the familiar cry of life that a puppy gives when the airway is cleared and it is able to vocalize his/her disagreement with all the rubbing/massaging from its human attendant. We affectionately dubbed this one "Lord's Prayer", as you'll learn more, below. Fortunately, puppies are resilient and he's doing well.

The theme of this litter is 'Ski Trails of Bromley', after the Vermont mountain for which 'mom' is named. As such we have given temporary names to the puppies: There's 'Pig Dog', 'Run-Around", 'Yodeler', 'Spring Trail', 'Sunset', 'Twister', 'Chase-It', and of course, 'Lord's Prayer'. Come to think of it, some of these would make nice dog names, don't you think?!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wow! She's big!

Our Bromley is huge! Poor thing--she's got the 'just come on out!" look in her appearance and in her eyes, suggesting to us that she'll deliver her litter within the next 24-48 hours. She's reluctant to take food and is clearly feeling the puppies impinging on her ability to get around. More signs that birthday is coming. In recent days to make her more comfortable at night, we've let her sleep outside her crate so she can spread out, walk when needed, etc.

The whelping box is set up, with a fresh coat of paint, ready for delivery day. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Puppies in May!

Well, it's nearing the end of April and our Bromley is about to become a mother once again. It's her favorite thing in the whole world. Really. We've never had a dog that loves puppies as much as Bromley. She enjoys them from beginning to end, even allowing nursing in the eighth week. Ordinarily, once pups transition to solid foods (around three to four weeks old) the mother starts to lose interest (or endurance?!), and by the time they leave she's almost anxious for the little ones to go. Not Bromley. She seems to miss her little 'uns once the leave.

For the moment, Bromley looks enormous, more so than at the same time with previous litters. It's hard to know if she'll have more than her usual 11 pups or if she's just carrying differently this time. We'll soon find out.

This litter will be all yellow. She's bred again with Bluckdux Shane, an AKC junior champion. They produced absolutely gorgeous pups last time, and we're looking forward to a good group this litter as well.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Happy New Year!

Bromley's litter is now into it's third month, and all pups have homes. "Peter Pan" remained here in Essex, just a few blocks from us, and was happy to be with his new family for Christmas. (Can there be a more spoiled pet than a new puppy at Christmas?!).

Our next litter will likely be sometime in March, with blacks and yellows, ready to go home by late May, if all goes well. Feel free to contact us via our website: