Friday, November 17, 2017

Paying it backward

This morning I was in the drive-through at Starbuck’s and when I got to the window the cashier told me the person in front of me had paid for my order. I wasn’t in a bad mood but had been bemoaning the state of things earlier in a message to a friend and this made me happier than I would have thought possible. The cashier was excited to tell me, I was excited to hear it, and then I pulled out a 20 and said “Pay for the person behind me and then put whatever is left in the tip jar.” She was grateful and said she really appreciated me continuing the thread and thinking of her and her coworkers too. It was a simple and random act of kindness from the car ahead of us, and I wanted to spread some of it down the line. I drove away hoping that maybe a string of paying it back kept on going for as long as there were people in line getting coffees this morning. And you know, that eggnog latte was the best ever.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November Hill farm journal, 42

After a rainy couple of days it seemed the color was dying down here, but now that things are drying out again we are in the midst of wave two. It is simply brilliant out our windows in every direction. I try taking photos but I can never get the camera to pick up the quality of color that happens when sunlight illuminates changing leaves. It makes me happy, this elixir of light and color that I only see this time of year.

About once a week while spreading stall waste with the Newer spreader I do some mulching and blowing as I go, aiming the out spout of the mower toward the trees, and letting the winter grass see the light again. Once I get up the hill and look back, there remains a mystery of swirls and circles, a design that holds the slight vibration of the mower in my lower back, the sound, the turning on and off of the blade as I make the circles, and something I’m not sure how to name, but which goes all the way back to when I was a girl and my dad bought the first John Deere riding mower and taught me how to drive it, in our huge yard that had hills and roots and tricky spots, just like November Hill has.

The horses and the pony and the donka boys have thick coats now, and it’s pure pleasure to lay hands on them and feel the give of the fur as it shines in the autumn sunlight. They are enjoying the days out of the barn, and seem to love coming in when darkness falls to hay and fresh water before they are served their dinner tubs and then go back out again with hay for the night.

After the rain I’ve been using the muck barrows until the fields dry out some, and enjoying being out in the midst of the herd as I work, with sky and trees and at least a few times pure silence which is its own elixir. Like I imagine it was in the time before cars and planes and trains and machinery. Just the air and occasional soft snort of equines.

Monday our delivery guy with the very wonderful little dump truck is bringing screenings for the arena and part of the paddock, and some to resurface the stall floors, and that, aside from the fencing, is the last big thing I’m doing this year. I have a few small repairs (and as I type this I smile because on Monday evening we went to hear Shawn Colvin on her 20th anniversary A Few Small Repairs tour, which was absolutely wonderful) to make and the last coats of tung oil on the gate and then it’s going to be a quiet end of year and new year on the farm.

Except of course for the sounds of hoofbeats and a new sound of Corgis running wild in their enlarged space (at first while the equines are in stalls with hay, then hopefully herding dogs will learn that this herd is not for herding!) and inside the snap of wood in the woodstove and my holiday music playing endlessly because at this point I’ve narrowed it down to the songs I love best.

The time since summer has flown past.

And my son is not coming home for Thanksgiving! But I booked the train ride home for Christmas and that’s going to be a fun summer solstice event - picking him up and having a nice span of days in which all my little birds are in the nest again.

Right now though husband is working at home for the day and local bacon and eggs are cooking and there’s a good, peaceful day ahead of me.

Monday, November 13, 2017

One would think we have barn elves!

Last week I stepped into what is now serving as a storage stall and found this:

If only I had the before picture when they were still hanging in the barn, coated in dust and cobwebs so you could see the comparison!

Alas, not barn elves but my super farm helper who noted that I mentioned earlier last week that “at some point” I would ask husband to get these down so we could clean them. It’s a two-person job in my opinion, the taking down of these heavy fans, and I don’t ask our farm helper to do chores that involve ladders and lifting, but he did it, and I am so grateful.

I guess only someone who has a barn and knows what a pain it is to get these things down and then clean will get how happy I was to see them sitting there like this, but you can substitute one of your most dreaded chores and imagine my reaction. There was no one but me in the barn when I found them but I cheered out loud.

My checklist shrinks without me even knowing it!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

What I bought, what I also wanted to buy

I went to the North Carolina Artisan Fair this morning and was wowed by all the gorgeous work on display and for sale.

The first thing that captured my heart was this, and I could afford it, so I picked it up and never put it down again until it was wrapped and in my little bag ready to bring home:

You can visit Fat Pony Studios HERE.

The artist was a horse person and we talked for a bit about horses and riding and donkeys. She had a larger piece I would have bought if money were no object.

I stopped in many booths to tell the artists their work was beautiful, but nothing seized my heart until I got to the last row and spied this:

Her name is Trish the Dish and she is a clock and curio cabinet and has a secret compartment with a red heart in it. The second hand on the clock is a feather because, the artist told me, time flies. He and his wife utilize vintage materials that have been scrapped to make these wonderful, whimsical creations. I think Trish would love it here on November Hill.

See more of The Perfect View’s work HERE.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Gas station TV

Who thought it up? Why is it so loud? Why can’t you turn it off?

Tonight, after leaving a wonderful talk by Dr. Katie Mack on gravitational waves at the Museum of Natural Science’s weekly Science Cafe, I had to stop for gas and rolled my eyes when I saw the Gas Station TV screen. Ugh.

But this one was turned way down so I wasn’t immediately assaulted by talk noise. I glanced at the screen.

Word Of The Day.

Wait, what?

And the word of the day was:


One of my favorite words.



(shhhh... maybe gas station tv doesn’t have to be so bad after all)