Friday, September 06, 2019

Weathering the storm

We had needed rain and minor winds from Hurricane Dorian here in central NC, but for whatever reason our power went out at 2 a.m. and we were without it until close to noon today. The power company did some needed trimming back of limbs along the lines, restored our service, and hopefully after a day of sawing and shredding we are now set for the rest of the hurricane season and beyond.

I had water in my storm jugs, tubs filled for flushing toilets, and while our hand pump for the well is not yet here, the knowledge that it’s on the way was a comfort. I filled troughs and water buckets at the barn and I have my water storage tank in the feed room as a back-up.

Meanwhile, there was a lot of porch sitting while monitoring the hurricane’s progress and today as we waited for power to come back. One of us made a very nice picture sitting in the porch chair.

I hope everyone is safe and would love especially to hear from Calm Forward Straight when she gets the chance! 

Monday, September 02, 2019

Remains of the day

A couple of nights ago I went on a later-than-usual romp with the Corgis and was reminded of what a lovely, sweet thing it is to experience the last bits of light and also the brightening of the light inside the house. For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite things to do is walk or drive in the evenings and see the lights on inside of homes; it represents for me the real meaning of the idea of home: a safe, warm place to be. Seeing glimpses of people moving about inside their houses has always felt like warmth, a hug, something safe and solid to hold on to.

So as I walked with the dogs I glanced back at the gate and loved its solid presence, then turned to the house and felt its warmth and love. I forget sometimes that November Hill is for me the culmination of a life-long dream. Living with family, horses, dogs, cats, wildlife, and the trees, gardens, insects. Whenever I saw warm lamplight in windows my mind careened forward to now, and in now’s moment I paused to say thank you to the universe and everything that has led to this home and this place.

We read about time travel and astral travel and all kinds of ways we go from one place in time to another. These moments when the past and the present curve together is the reality of those concepts, I think, especially if we stop and fully experience them.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

November Hill farm journal, 83

The spotted horsemint, Monarda punctata, is in full, glorious bloom right now and it makes me happy every single time I look at it. The view yesterday:

The Arcadia hives are very busy right now, as the goldenrod is starting to come out and there are also a number of fall-blooming pollinators in our area. I enjoy the native bees too and it’s a busy time still in the garden beds.

We’re still cleaning up small branches and sticks from the deluge that happened a week ago, and have scheduled time to take down two very large dead trees, a red oak (it succumbed to a root ball fungus that I was told is rampant here now) and a tulip poplar that was taken out over the course of several years by my equine herd, who love to chew the bark in midwinter. We put a wrap around the trunk but it was too late to save it. I plan to put in some young tulip poplars to replace it, as it’s a majestic tree that provides shade and early nectar flow for bees. I may actually install fencing around these to keep the horses away!

We closed off most of the grass paddock so it can rest and recover. The first day the FOUR strands of Horseguard tape was up, two donkeys and a pony literally tore it down. One unfortunate fellow was caught in the act.

We purchased a new, stronger solar charger and the fence is back in place and certain marauders are being kept out. We overseeded and will let this area repair itself for the next few months.

I had the consult about stormwater management with native plantings and have a good plan for the strip of our farm that runs down the side of our lane. We’ll sow a mix of sun and shade native seed that includes wildflowers and grasses - no mowing needed, and all excellent forage for pollinators. Along with that we’ll put in native wild blueberry bushes every six feet or so. We’ll feed pollinators, the birds, and ourselves with those berries.

Down at our driveway where the water rushes through the culvert pipe we’ll be doing an area of live staking with elderberry, another native pollinator that will also give berries for wildlife and for us.

The two sections in the front pasture that need addressing will likely be fenced with wood to keep the equines out, in small oblong sections on each side where the stream bed is most in need of stabilizing.  We have a nice list of options for planting but I’ll be doing additional consults with some rain garden specialists to help with the geology of the areas.

Thankfully the local nursery we use can provide what we need for the strip very affordably and we’ll do that in early fall. The live stakes are done in December. The rain garden installations are going to be done in several phases after our gravel road repair is done.

In other news, I’ve been appointed to our county’s Food Council, and am excited about the opportunity to get involved with their work. And my daughter just won first and second prizes in a photography contest, the details of which can’t be shared yet, but I’m so proud of her. She’s a gifted young woman.

She and her service dog in training graduated from Basic Obedience class last night and are moving on to Canine Good Citizen in September.

They’re a super team and I’m happy to see them progressing together!

I’m very happy to be seeing signs of autumn all around. I’m so ready for this season to shift, though I’m enjoying the last month of summertime. It’s been hot and buggy and also beautiful, but I love the cycle of the seasons and fall is my most beloved. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

A note for writers and other creative folk

This morning I walked out the back door and spied this:

It’s an egg sac left by the sweet writing spider I posted about a few weeks back. 

My impulse was first to post this to Facebook, with a little blurb about the symbolism. Then I thought about putting something here. It was only upon reflection that it occurred to me that my thinking after seeing this egg sac lent itself to an essay. 

I turned off the impulses to post on Facebook or blog, instead opening a new file in Scrivener and began to write. What I now have is a first draft of something I’ll submit for publication. Had I posted the photo on Facebook, I’d be checking to see how many “likes” it got, and comments. Had I blogged about it here, I would have written something satisfying and in a small way akin to what I ended up writing, but the path to deeper thought would have stopped there.

By postponing the impulses and instead giving myself the time and space to really dive into my thoughts and imagination, I ended up with much more. 

Of course, now I’m blogging about it, but in a different way, and not one that will take the place of the essay I wrote. 

This is the key to increasing our productivity in terms of writing we can submit, query, or turn into longer-form work. Instead of throw-away social media moments, we go deeper. 

A good reminder for me, and I’m happy I got the chance to practice this today!