Wednesday, April 02, 2014

April

Despite false starts and stops, it appears that Spring has made progress since my last post.


There was snow and cold less than a week ago, but today's temperatures will be in the 70s,  The red tips of peony plants have emerged.  Bunches of daffodils bloom in long lines around the farm.  The apricot tree has pink blossoms and fine green leaves are beginning to appear on trees and bushes.


It seems it was all alive under the snow just waiting for the trigger of the light to come back to life.  I get the concept of resurrection in the Spring.  I also get the concept of eggs as a symbol.  The chickens and ducks are laying prolifically.  Old Honky gander is once again cranky and mean as he protects old Wifey and her eggs.


I peel an inch layer of hard manure off the barn hallway using a sod cutter and my Kawasaki Mule to haul it to the compost piles.  It is good, hard physical work, and if I'm at least half sane I credit it with keeping me that way.


I started cleaning up the vegetable garden.  It is a huge task.  I'll plant mainly perennials and things I can reasonably consume this year, like lettuce and other greens.  This area has become a butterfly bush garden on its own and I'll think on how to transition it.  'Nothing wrong with a butterfly bush garden, I guess.



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring

So, underneath all that snow daffodils were budding out.  Yesterday right on cue, there were lines of blooming daffs!  The Water Magnolia, very first to bud out of all the trees in my yard, has pale pink blossoms.  No leaves, just blossoms.


I hear today the temperatures will get into the low 70s.  That should get things going -- but tomorrow the weather see-saw will swing the other way and we'll probably be seeing a bit more snow this coming week.


'Think I'll pick a big bunch of daffodils and bring them inside to keep me company.


My pruning has been cumulative.  There are large piles of brush and branches.  I load up a couple of loads each warmish day and drive them up in the hayfield to dump.  There, they will compost and eventually disappear.  I am very lucky to have enough land that it absorbs the waste.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Frozen

It's been quite a winter with plenty of cold, cold days and nights.  Today was a doozy, and that was after two days in the low 70s.  A shocker, for sure, but winter will come to an end soon and it will be Spring again.


This is a poem which seems appropriate as a memorial for my old friend of 44 years.




Who Knows Where the Time Goes?


Across the purple sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Ah, but then you know it's time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

And I am not alone while my love is near me
I know it will be so until it's time to go
So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
I do not fear the time

For who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes?



--Sandy Denny

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

There Arose Such a Clatter

I rose from my bed to see what was the matter.  It turned out to be the pitter patter of hundreds of little birdie feets on the roof!  They rose en masse to fly away to the big oak trees in the pasture behind our house.

Large flocks have been coming through on their way to somewhere or other ahead of the winter storms.  I am grateful that we have places for them to rest, eat and shelter.  During the recent rain, robins splashed in the freezing puddles on the gravel driveway.  They seemed happy about it all.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bitter Cold

Today's weather had me searching for a pair of electric gloves online.  My fingers actually hurt, even long after I came back in after doing the morning chores.  Tonight it will snow/rain/freeze, making for a lively time tomorrow morning.

To be sure, I hadn't worn the usual two pairs of gloves with the hand warmer tucked in-between.  That will change while I'm waiting for my electric gloves to materialize.

We've moved the cows back to a field which still had some grass growing.  I get a thrill when I open the gate, call "Hey, cowie cowie!" and thirty cows come running. 

I finished putting plastic on the chicken house windows to make it a little more cozy.  Chickens seem able to withstand very cold temperatures.  I also plugged in the electric water bowls so that they have something to drink.

We have lists of indoor jobs to do during bad weather, but we've still got to take care of the basic needs of our flocks.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November

This morning, I changed the beds to flannel sheets in anticipation of a couple of nights in the 20s.  We'll get a few snow flurries this afternoon and evening, but no accumulation.  I'm happy about the no accumulation part.

The fig tree looks sad since its crispy brown leaves were blown away.  Ornamental Bradford Pear and Japanese Maples still hold leaves and color.  I now realize why Bradford Pear is used so much in landscape.  It is the first to flower in the Spring and among the last to lose leaves in Autumn.

I've located the electric stapler and am planning on starting the process of putting the plastic over the chicken house windows a little at a time.  Time to check goat supplies and meds and begin stocking pine shavings and square bales in the Maternity barn.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Embarrassment of Riches

It is cold and crisp this morning, but I'm not sure we hit the freezing mark as predicted.

Yesterday morning, I picked all the tender vegetables which could have been harmed by frost.  This included nice lettuces, eggplants, cucumbers, and lots of green peppers.  In fact, there ended up being two big bags of peppers. 

I spent much of the rest of the day rinsing, seeding, cutting. roasting, peeling, chopping, and putting roasted pepper strips into freezer containers.

I am a squirrel, saving nuts for Winter at much expense of effort and time.

I'm in the middle of transferring warm clothing for light Summer stuff.  It gives a chance to find all the treasures which fill my dresser drawers.  I washed a load of sweaters so that I can enjoy the nice, clean smell and soft warmth.

Today, I'll look around the vegetable garden for tools to be stored in the shed and continue trying to clean up other garden areas which have been overtaken by pokeweed and tree of paradise.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October

We're told by the weather people that Autumn-like weather will blow in later today.  Still, it won't be very cold until at least next week.

The leaves are changing subtly this year.

The tomato supply is dwindling.  I'll probably roast the last ones today.

All houseplants are tucked into the greenhouse, which has been cleaned and reorganized -- except for the two cool sections.  That will be work for rainy days.

Wine needs to be transferred to carboys.

The big barn needs regular rakings. 

Gardens need to be weeded.

I should be busy, busy for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cool at Last

Although the leaves haven't yet turned, we are experiencing lower humidity and cool mornings.  Yesterday I hauled three loads of manure and dumped it in low spots on the farm.  I've raked stalls and will try to keep up as long as I can.

Every two days, I pick figs for the roosters and tomatoes and peppers for us.  The roosters are getting fat, but there are fewer and fewer figs ripening because of the moderating temperatures. 

Huge baskets of tomatoes fill my kitchen counters.  When it is no longer possible to ignore the tomatoes, I roast them in the oven along with peppers.  When cooled, I skin them and put them through the food mill to make sauce.  Sometimes I can the sauce and sometimes I make chili con carne.  Freezer space is at a premium, but we will have some nice meals when the snow is on the ground.  All the pear pies I froze are going to be a special treat.

Our hunting cabin is nearly completely remodeled.  The leftover bamboo flooring from our house just covered the old floor, with just four planks unused.  I managed to paint all the walls and am working on repairing and painting odds and ends of furniture.  There were some nice rugs and a storage unit which I bought at yard sales, and it's really shaping up nicely.

We will finish up the rainwater collection system, as there is no source of water or electricity.  A gas generator allows me to run the vacuum cleaner occasionally and I've acquired all sorts of battery and solar-powered lighting along with oil lamps for lighting.  It is a fun project and enjoyable now that I can breathe and move without so much effort.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Here Comes the Rain Again: September First

"Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion..." The Eurythmics

August came and went, alternately rainy, steamy, then briefly pleasant with lower humidity.  It was the most comfortable of all the uncomfortable Virginia Augusts of the past fifteen years.

The pond and hayfields are back to normal for the most part.  Gangs of wild turkeys gather each morning and early evening to feed on something in the field.  They've been strolling around the farm every day since the big rains began in June and July.  I know some hunters who are waiting eagerly for the first day of turkey season.

This weird summer I saw twin fawns still wobbly on their feet and too newborn to have developed a fear of humans.  (That is very newborn for deer.)

On each of the low humidity days -- there were a few -- I frantically raked the goat barn, knowing that this would be unbearable in the moist heat.  I didn't quite clean it out, but I'm making headway.  We are promised better temperatures in a few days and I vow to return to the task in earnest.  The flooding has left the barn wetter than it has ever been and I'll have to sprinkle lime to dry out parts of the floor.

Our Spring chicks have developed into hens and roosters.  Small eggs, many green and blue, are appearing in the nest boxes.  The adolescent males are obnoxious and reduce egg laying.  They create scenes of mayhem, chasing old hens and young hens.  They're being relegated to a couple of coops to cool their heels.  Unfortunately, they will soon be soup.