Sunday, May 21, 2017

November Hill farm journal, 30

It's been awhile since my last farm journal entry. We've been so busy with finals for daughter, son's graduation, his trip to Ithaca to find an apartment, and trying to keep up with the daily dozen+ things that absolutely have to be done no matter what.

November Hill is in full jungle mode right now. All the leafing out is done and while I am not thrilled with the heat of summer nor the insect pests it brings, I do love the privacy we have when everything is lush and full.

The vegetable garden is in, thanks to my husband, and although it's not as much as we've planted in years past, it is already overproducing lettuces and greens, and we enjoyed our first November Hill strawberries this year also thanks to him.

If the garden is growing, everything else is too, and the grass is no exception. The side strip, what I call the wildflower strip, is more than waist high. The mower needs a part and we've been too busy to pick it up. All that tall grass has gone to seed so I'm looking at it this way: we're reseeding using the natural method!

This is the first weekend in many that I've even had the hope of working on my to do list around the farm. I'm happy to say those porch screens are FINALLY DONE! I'm ordering my light fixture tomorrow. Reward on the way for what took far longer than I counted on.

Because I am woefully behind and some of my to do list tasks are easier done in winter, I'm going to need to reassess what comes next. Whatever it ends up being, it will be good to get started on a whole new project.

Our contractor is returning the end of the month to install the barn gutters and our farm gate. I'm looking forward to finally having the entire perimeter of November Hill enclosed, and even more am looking forward to the new perimeter fencing coming this fall. No more stressing about the neighbor's children's dogs. And Bear and Baloo can run run run once the perimeter fencing is up.

Speaking of Baloo, he is absolutely amazing. He and Bear are best buddies and as puppies do, he has doubled his size and is growing up so fast. I'll post a few photos later this week.

I want to take a moment to stop and write about how wonderful the new barn roof and shelter are. The functional cupola is making a huge difference on hot days. Our barn is sited well for cross breezes but when you combine that with our big fans and the cupola and barn shelters, even on the hottest days we've had the barn is very comfortable and there is air flow. We've also had rainy days and it is wonderful having shelters on both sides so all the equines have space to stand and watch the rain, munch on hay, and stretch their legs without getting wet. I am so happy we went forward with this big project.

My newest farm purchase is a mini-sized, chargeable electric chain saw. I can't handle the big Stihl, and there are so many things I can do with this little machine. It's charging right now and the first mission is to cut the wild muscadine, honeysuckle, and trumpet vines at their BASES underneath the front porch. I could spend the rest of my days walking around the farm and up and down our lane on our long strip pruning back the ever-growing jungle of trees and shrubs. I'm excited to get started on that.

A few things in our week to come: a fly sheet for Cody who is being besieged by bug bites, grazing muzzles for three small equines whose barrels are approaching the size of small tanks, and hoof trims all around.

It's almost summertime. Daughter is digging into calculus 2, son is enjoying a month and a half or so break before moving to Ithaca and starting his doctoral study at Cornell, husband is busy with his own projects, and I have recently joined a weekly writing group which is already making me very happy. Life is busy, life is good.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Big milestone, a proud mom, and a note on homeschooling

From the UNCA website:

Cromer graduated first in scholarship as the university’s 2017 Manly E. Wright Award winner and is headed next to Cornell University where he has earned a full scholarship. He will pursue a doctorate in theoretical astronomy, having had the goal to be a research scientist since arriving at UNC Asheville. “I had in mind becoming a research scientist so that I could spend my time studying a subject I love,” said Cromer speaking to his fellow graduates. “But at UNC Asheville, through all the people around me and the experiences I’ve had, I learned that this isn’t all I want to do. I want to have a meaningful social impact on the world.”

My note:

We homeschooled both our children their entire lives, and by homeschooling, I mean we provided resources, spent time exploring the world, and gave them the freedom to explore their interests and develop passions. My mantra was First Do No Harm; children have a natural curiosity and love of discovery and learning that begins at birth and gradually develops. Having worked as a research assistant in child development studies, and later with many children who were not successful in school when I was a psychotherapist in the public sector, I developed my own theories about what might keep this love of learning intact. Again, it was mostly choosing NOT TO DO THINGS TO THWART IT. 

I am so very proud of my son for all his hard work and achievement as an undergraduate. And I'm glad I trusted my own instincts and did not cave in when it was hinted at and sometimes bluntly stated that I was "ruining" my children by homeschooling them. I didn't do a perfect job and there were times I failed miserably, but I managed to avoid the very deep pit of making learning dull. 

Friday, May 05, 2017

Baloo settles in

He's the easiest pup I've ever known. He and Bear are best buddies and he is winning over the cats one by one. Pixie has been the tough customer but here he is, showing her that he won't chase her but he'll definitely play if she agrees. We adore him!