Thursday, August 15, 2019

November Hill farm journal, 82 - home again home again

After a wonderful getaway writing retreat weekend at Porches, I came home ready to jump back into daily life on the farm. This was my office view while on retreat. It is gorgeous and I think the reason it works so well for me is that it is a home as well as a writers’ retreat, and it has many aspects that remind me of November Hill. It’s a home away from home - a place where I feel like I’m in my own space but without the responsibilities. Looking forward to the next visit when it happens.

Back on November Hill, there were nice things going on in the gardens, and nice behavior between Redford and Baloo. The Corgis have gradually become very reliable out on the farm, to the degree that I can allow them to run freely without my direct supervision. Baloo went through a phase of barking at the donkeys but that has passed and they all now seem quite relaxed with one another.

We’ve had good rain since I got home, all the animals are doing well, and I’m starting to think about fall projects. I’m going to make a list just for my own peace of mind.

- consult for storm water run-off planting using native plants is scheduled for next week
- I have a plan for putting in terraces in Poplar Folly to help control run-off using brush pile and compost pile materials
- get new pollinator bed set up
- get raised beds built and planted in what I’m now calling Brown Bunny’s Potager
- stone in several areas near barn
- sprucing up of barn including fall clean plus stall doors, new latches, and some touch-up painting
- finish off the fencing project - all that’s left is to put in 9 landscaping timbers along arena and replace the final two gates

Inside, I’m focusing on two things:
- finish laundry room spruce up, which involves new dog door install, painting remaining wall, and tongue in groove ceiling install
- continue clearing process - I have two closets to go and some rearranging of furniture

I’m aiming to get this stuff done by the first week in October, when I have a trip planned with my daughter. We’re going to Cody, Wyoming! Very excited and it will be a nice way to wind up a 6-week whirlwind of project work.

This time of year is a favorite for me, as summer starts to wind down and I see glimpses of autumn. Geese honking as they head south, wild muscadines getting bigger on the vines, the leaves on the trees just beginning to shift in color. Still very green but there’s a subtle change. The temperatures not quite as hot. The horses and pony are starting to grow fur. I’m happy to enjoy the days as we move toward my favorite season.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Sprite, luna moth, brilliant color

I tore myself away from November Hill yesterday to drive north to my favorite writing retreat location. It was like removing a pot-bound plant from a plastic pot, and for a few hours I wasn’t sure I was going to make it off the farm.

When I got here I was greeted by a sprite:

A gorgeous luna moth:

And gorgeous color brilliant in the late afternoon sun:

If anyone needs me, I’ll be at the desk. :)

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Pollinator garden shots, lots going on in August

The first few monarda punctata blooms are coming out. The bees love this plant and it’s my personal favorite.

The butterflies are loving the milkweed and I’m happy it’s going so strong! 

Sunday, August 04, 2019

5 Things You Can Do Instead Of Shaming Your Kids

I went to bed last night after reading about the horrific massacre in El Paso, woke up this morning to read of another massacre in Dayton, then needing a bit of lighter fare, read a post from a mom blogger about her daughters’ messy bedrooms full of dirty laundry. She made them gather all the clothing in their rooms and took them to a laundromat to sort, wash, and dispose of everything they didn’t need.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and I don’t know how she actually behaved to them while this was happening, but what she wrote about it, with photos of her girls and the various items of clothing she posted were aimed at shaming them for their behavior. It made me feel very very sad.

I plan to write to every single one of my representatives, starting with the local ones and going all the way up to my senators, to ask what they are doing to address the level of gun violence in our country. Any person in any government role who has been voted into office should be addressing this in some way or other, because it could happen anywhere. It is already happening anywhere.

For the moms who are horrified by your children’s messy lives and rooms, I offer a few things to do instead of shaming them.

1. Model the behavior you want to see. Ask if you can help them organize their space. Make it into a fun thing. “Let’s get your room organized before school starts and then celebrate by going out for dinner!” Helping means just that. Not preaching, not barking, not shaming. Put on some music and dance your way through the clean up effort. Make it a bonding experience, not a shaming one.

2. Remember that creativity is generally messy. If you find clothing that has been cut up, dyed, drawn on, decorated with glitter, or otherwise changed from the way you think it should be, consider that you have a creative child. This is a good thing. Find ways to help them channel it. Please don’t try to shut it down.

3. Give yourself permission to freak out, but do it privately. I like things to be neat and orderly. I love seeing a room that looks tidy. Most of this is my own personality and way of being in the world. Some of it is because my mother was that way. Our house was clean and organized. Mostly because my mother hired someone to keep it clean and organized. My children did not have the ability to hire someone to do that for them.

4. Regarding the impulse to shame: if you are shaming your child it means you feel shame inside. For something. If you don’t know what it is, you can figure it out. You shaming your child is a Big Red Flag that you have work to do on your Self. It doesn’t make you a horrible person or a terrible parent. It just means your children are bringing up in you the things you need to work on as a human. Do it for them. But more than that, do it for YOU.

5. Most of the time our children grow up and move on to other homes. If yours haven’t yet, I bet when they do you’ll miss the messes. If not, no problem, enjoy your newfound clean and tidy home! If, like me, you do miss the creative piles, the projects, the crazy, fun, sometimes disgusting things you unearth, you’ll have to find ways to channel this. Like having cats, dogs, horses, donkeys, a pony, honey bees, gardens, and a ton of other stuff to keep you occupied. Enjoy it all. Life is short. Our children are who they are because of genetics and the way we treat them and how we act in front of them. When we see behavior we don’t like, we have to look first to ourselves, then to our extended families, and we have to make peace with all of it. In the end, if we do this, we can thank our children for helping us become more compassionate and loving.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Ocean Conservancy photo contest 2019, Honorable Mention!

I’m very proud of my daughter, who, in addition to studying neuroscience, doing research with lemurs, training a service dog, and managing a medical issue for the past year or so, continues to take gorgeous wildlife photos.

Last year she won first place in the Human Impact category, and this year she won Honorable Mention overall with this photo:

Congratulations to her and I’m looking forward to seeing what photos come from the next year’s travels and observations of our animal friends both domestic and in the wild.