Filed under: Family Updates,Farm,Obituary — rcdunnii @ 1:37 pm
No. 227

With heavy hearts we announce the sad news that Blossom has died. She was the first “rodeo” for many of the grandchildren. We are indebted to Michael and Anna Mullins who so generously gave her to us many years ago, shortly after we lost Eeyore. Recently we noticed that she was hanging around the barn more than usual. She had very graciously acted as nurse and kept Kildare company during his quarantined convalescence following his Thanksgiving near-death trauma – he had impaled himself on a T-post during a wind storm. Then a couple of days ago Neal found her down in the barnyard, unable to get up. Our wonderful vet, Jeff Nibb, came out immediately and gave us the unwelcome news that there was nothing to be done. Neal very kindly arranged for her burial so now she is with Tumbleweed, Lady Bug, Ti Femme, Thistle Down, Sweet Rocket, Dusty, Dusty Miller and the others. We will miss her!

A few visual reminiscences follow…

Bedraggled Post Rescue
(see Rescue below)

Marianne at work

Howland jumps aboard

Blossom Earning her Keep

Santa Blossom

On many occasions Blossom was a featured guest and attraction. One such especially memorable event was the Polk Mahaffey Picnic in May of 2008. For a re-run click here

We had hoped after her miraculous rescue last January that we would have her for many more years, but it wasn’t to be. That adventure is recounted here in case you hadn’t seen it.


A lovely but appropriately sad performance will finish this posting. Here you have Blossom Dearie doing a classic Tea for Two.

An Overdue Seasonal Tribute

Filed under: Family Events,Farm,New Clan Member — Chamberlain @ 2:56 pm

Thanksgiving at Moone Athy was a great success thanks to Jennie Quick and her many helpers, most notably Eleanor Kalish and Sarah Fehlig. We all enjoyed a delicious meal in the lovely new surroundings at the renovated farmhouse. Special thanks are owed to Sarah Fehlig who has purchased a beautiful new digital piano for the family. Family musicians provided background music for the dinner. Here are a few photos which feature the debut of new clan members attending their first Thanksgiving at Moone Athy. It was great to have Claiborne Skinner down from Chicago. We missed, among others, the Laws – Hugh is recovering from knee surgery in warmer climes.

The Che Tee pictured above is available from the Chamberlain, attractively priced at $65 ea, deliverable in time for Christmas (only within the continental US).




Filed under: Family Contests,Family Events,Farm — Chamberlain @ 10:20 pm

This Thanksgiving was special. For several years Will Cromie, Bill Skinner and Sarah Dunn, among others, have wanted an up-to-date survey and aerial photo of Moone Athy. Mark Ditch, whose family surveying firm had done work for us in the past, this fall finished a several year effort to get our corners staked and lines surveyed. For Thanksgiving, appropriately enough, Sarah and he presented a framed, demarcated aerial photograph of Moone Athy Farm to the gathered family – with a challenge! First though, the aerial:


Moone Athy Aerial 2013


The Challenge

The 2014 “RACE TO THE CORNERS” Contest

Given the ungovernable competitiveness inherent in the Chamber’s genome you knew this was coming.

In a push to introduce the farm beyond the kitchen and hearth to the youth (defined loosely) of the family, the management is sponsoring a contest, ending next Thanksgiving 2014 between two teams of family members, the Delta Force vs the Green Berets. To date Isabel Smith, Trey and Helene Tatum, Davey Pentland, Jack McClelland, and Peter Smith are all Green Berets, while Hugh Law, Bobby and Mary Dunn, Eddie and Lory Fehlig are known members of the Delta Force. For those wishing to enlist, pick a team. Spare maps are on hand on the piano at Moone Athy. A compass will be a must – cell phone apps are very handy. GPS coordinates may prove vital in closely contested and disputed claims so think about adding that data to your photo submission. Be sure the Chamberlain knows which team you are on so we can keep numbers balanced, and email me if you’d like to join up.

You will note on these photographs the farm boundaries are outlined in yellow. There are 32 corners. These have been marked by Sarah, Neal Fuhr and David Pentland with the letters “A” – “Z”, and then for corners 27 – 32, the numerals “1” – “6”. The image below shows the start point (red arrow) and the transition from letters to numbers (green arrow), with the direction of labeling being clockwise. Of course you can start anywhere you please.


Corners Labeled


As of this writing Isabel Smith and Trey Tatum (Green Berets) have taken the lead, having identified corners “K”, “N”, “M” and “J”. Delta Force, close behind, has identified “K”, “M” and “N”.

Several points to keep in mind. Farmers in the old days ran pigs and cattle through the woods. Hence you will come across barbed wire in the brush. It can be a good guide to corners – but not always. Be careful not to become caught up in it. Take a picture of your identified corner and email it to me (Chamberlain@ourrumpus.com), with the letter/number on it clearly visible. The corners are all T-posts (iron posts about 5′ high) with a yellow cap on top and a letter/number wired onto it. See pictures below.Some T-posts with caps are way points rather than corners – only capped T-posts with a letter or number are genuine corners. The true corners always have some other marker – an old iron pipe or marked rock (e.g. “G” corner has a carved rock at its base.). Anyone (attention Iowans!) found removing corner markings to throw off competitors will be disqualified summarily and publicly outed on these pages. Finally, avoid exploring during deer and turkey hunting seasons (click here for listings).


Typical Corner – Delta Force (Hugh Law)

Trey Tatum checks Dog Tags


Speaking of hunting, can anyone guess where these gobblers were photographed????





No photoshop trickery here folks – just the occasional CWE turkey strut. Range fed no less…

Looking at that map, we do have so much to be thankful for, don’t we?

Happy hunting!


Our 200th – For Jack

Filed under: Farm,Poems — Chamberlain @ 3:13 pm

This special posting is dedicated to Jack Cromie (5 July 1972 – 2 October 2009). Since we are reviewing important 2012 family events, it is fitting to reference a recorded concert* that was given in his memory on September 28 in Schenectady NY. The event was titled Songs for Jack. Jack’s poetry was put to music (Thomas Savoy) and was sung by baritone Jonathon Estabrooks. The Musicians of Ma’alwyck provided accompaniment. The particular poem we feature is titled “The Farm”, referring of course to Moone Athy. It is self-evident how important the farm was for Jack – as indeed it is for all of us. Here is Jack’s poem:

The Farm

I can’t speak for all Cromies – but this Cromie wants Grizelda Skinner’s farm

packs of half-feral dogs roaming the landscape, tennis into the evenings –
outrageous cheating required. Eeyore rides until horse graduation – every child
must be thrown from a horse at least once, hocus-pocus at noon every day, rides to
the pond on the back of the Dunn’s VW Bus, tough lessons about barb wire
patched up by Liza Halcomb, hotly contested capture the flag, even more hotly
contested bragging rights for fossil hunters in the creek bed

even a slight deviation will cause a tear in the time space continuum – or a tear in
my heart

which amounts to the same thing

A powerful tribute to Jack by Savoy and Estabrooks, and by Jack to the farm and the family that made it possible.

A major ‘Thank You’ is owed to Bill Cromie Sr who informed us about the concert and who took time to forward to us the wonderful concert DVD.

* Video and recordings by .mov videos, and MOUNTAINTOP STUDIOS, Petersburgh N.Y. 12138, [518] 658-9549


Herbst Farben

Filed under: Farm — Chamberlain @ 2:08 pm

Despite a summer of intense and unrelenting heat and drought, autumn has yielded an unprecedented display of colorful foliage. If only we had a more professional photographer we’d show a more representative collection of images. But you’ll get a sense of Moone Athy near its peak fall splendor, as well as a Wisconsin snapshot from Cal Gatch III.


Moone Athy Bauernhof

Red in a Cedar Grove

Colors at Platteville WI – Cal III Farm

Forest Color


More Red

Tennis Court Pasture


Feel free to send in any of your pictures!


Seems like old times…

Filed under: Agriculture,Family Events,Farm — Chamberlain @ 3:59 pm

Easter Sunday at Moone Athy this year was an extraordinarily beautiful spring day – picture perfect weather for our annual family outing. About 45 members of the Chamber were able to attend. It was especially nice to have Bill and Sarah Hollo there, as well as the healthy remnant of the familiatatum – (Helene and Adriana Tatum were present but Will Tatum, the perennial odds-on favorite to win the egg hunt contest, and papa Trey were sadly missing due to a viral something-or-other). It was also a treat to have Carrie, Cambell and Hart Miller (John McClelland’s sister and family) visiting from Billings, Montana. For those unable to bask in the balmy Missouri sunshine of that day, we provide a poor substitute below – a brief video of the occasion.



A hat tip to Sarah Dunn who with much help from the family at large coordinated this year’s event.

Here are a few snapshots of the festivities – thanks to everyone that shared!.


Montana Visitor Hart Miller
Scans for Eggs

Sam Qun and Toph McClelland
Hurl Seed Balls

Katherine and Hugh Law pose
for Sarah Porter

Closeup of Coreopsis Seed Balls
(see text below)

New Annex Retaining Wall



Two of the above photos may require comment. The new tenant in the farm annex, Robert Carmon, a master carpenter, has resurrected the dilapidated retaining wall outside the annex building. A superb job donated to the farm by Robert who charged only the fuel costs of running his bobcat! We are extremely lucky in our tenants.

Finally, wildflower seeding of the native prairie grasses in the Deer Print pasture was accomplished by the migrant workers video’d in the clip above. You may not know what’s involved. The Smith and Halcomb children meticulously mixed powdered clay, Coreopsis seeds and water to form the seed balls shown in the photo. Then specially trained workers accompanied by Mariachi musicians carefully disperse these seed balls, as shown in the video.

Next Easter we will no doubt see the fruit of these labors. Plan on coming to see for yourselves!


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