Wednesday, May 04, 2016

November Hill farm journal, 4

Nature must never be anything else than an alliance.
-Henry Beston, Northern Farm

Rain. We've had multiple days of it, interspersed with high winds, hail, flashes of blue in the night sky, thunder both cracking and rolling.

November Hill is of course situated upon a hill. Wisely the barn is on the top spot and then the house is next, and while huge amounts of rainfall in a short time can create a wash of water into the barn shelter and a temporary pool in our driveway, for the most part the rain drains away quickly and we have come to love the seasonal stream that runs through the front field.

When we get huge rains several days in a row there are a few areas where the water will pool and sit, but it generally soaks in after an hour or two.

The thing about rain is that when we don't get it, we long for it, and when we get too much, we long for dry earth, solid underfoot. A reminder for me that what we all want and need is balance. But at the same time, we long for the extremes.

Yesterday I had muddy horses and muddier hooves, a messy barn strewn with hay and needing mucking several times. The stalls now need fresh shavings but it's too wet in the barnyard to drive the truck up to unload bags of extra fine pine.

Fortunately these rains have been punctuated with a few sunny hours each day and the horses and donkeys and the pony have been able to get out just enough to prevent total grumpiness.

Another result of the generous rainfall this spring is lush pasture and we've had to put one donkey in his grazing muzzle and it's likely the other one and the pony are soon to follow.

This morning I watched as the sun came up behind the thick screen of oak trees. The sunlight pierced through in places and reflected on the rain still sitting on the oak leaves. It looked like diamonds were growing in profusion right by the barn.

I enjoy walking the farm after a rainfall, cataloguing the paths the rain made and noting where there is work to be done. Planting our vegetable garden in the sunny side of our backyard has stopped the huge flow that used to come from the barnyard toward the house. French drains outside each barn door have helped avoid mucky messes there. A trench from back of barn to front field directs the water away from the barn and house. But there's one place on the grass paddock side of the house where the water flow needs to be diverted and another where the water from the 11-acre field next to us is now rushing down one side of our driveway, washing the gravel away. We'll work on these this spring and try to put things right.

Meanwhile I'll look for mushrooms and fly blooms and hope those tiny fly predators hatched out and lived to feast on fly larvae.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I really like these journals about November Hill. I still think it would make a great book. Sort of the Southern perspective to the Northern one you're reading about.

billie said...

Thank you - I really appreciate it! I would like to go all the way back to the beginning of the blog and pull out the posts that fit this even if they weren't called that at the time - it would be interesting to me to read and see how things have flowed over this 11 years!

I'm enjoying having a name for them now!