Sunday, November 05, 2017

November Hill farm journal, 41

The fall color is close to peaking on November Hill this weekend. It built slowly and then suddenly yesterday things started to pop. I named the farm November Hill because of how absolutely stunning it is in November, which is my favorite season and probably my favorite month as well, and each year I’m reminded of how special this place is.

I’m also reminded of what huge roles the trees play in my daily life. The pines and other evergreens, the oaks, the tulip poplars and birch, the dogwoods and redbuds, the hickory, and the maples and sweetgums. I have an idea to create an ongoing journal that catalogs and follows every tree on November Hill, and the other plant life. It would be a huge undertaking and I may never get to it. But I love the thought of documenting the plant part of our menagerie.

This weekend it has been overcast but before the clouds rolled in I was starting to document the light, which had become especially beautiful as the leaves changed color. There is no way to capture sunlight through changing leaves, but this is my meager effort with my trusty iPhone.

When the weather allows and sometimes even when it doesn’t, I live with the door open to the front porch. I love seeing the front pasture and the trees, and the light that shifts with the movement of the sun as the day passes. The color has gone mad even since I took this photo, but you get a sense of how it pours in through the open door.

A couple of weeks ago a photo on Pinterest gave me an idea I have never had - wrap the front porch around the house, over the garage, and around in back, where it would replace the deck. I found more photos which make me think this would be a terrific way to enhance the “flat” structure of the house on those two sides. And the cats would then have a route all the way around the house. When our contractor is here doing the fencing this month I’m going to show him the photos and get an estimate.

Out on the existing porch, through the screen, I couldn’t resist this shot of the donkey boys. The herd knows exactly where I am in the house and they often position themselves where I am so that when I look out, there they are. It’s one of the joys of the layout of this place, the proximity to the equines from three out of four sides of the house.

The back field is barely visible from the house which is one reason I have the idea for the writing studio back there. It has its own ambiance and feels removed from time in a way the front pasture isn’t. Now that the area behind the pasture fence has been cleaned out I can see the footprint of where the studio would go. In my mind the little front porch on the studio would actually be in the pasture so the herd could gather literally at the door. In a not quite fully thought out plan, the studio would have a run-in with big windows that would open into the writing studio so we could hang out side by side in there.

The pony poses in the back field in front of the gorgeous fall light:

My husband sent me this lovely photo of the Corgi Boys, Baloo and Bear, enjoying the cooler weather this week. Baloo is all grown up now. Puppies only stay puppies for a short time!

In chore news, I finished applying dark tung oil to the front gates and posts, but in a slightly hilarious twist, couldn’t reach the very top of the two massive posts. I had that on the list for husband for this weekend but it’s so cloudy and damp I decided it would be better to wait for a dry day to finish that task. For someone who likes to finish things and check them off my list, this was either going to be annoying or funny. I’ve decided to view it as a little cosmic joke on me and my list neurosis!

Sometime around Thanksgiving I will put on a second coat and then I think sometime around Christmas a third and final coat of the pure dark tung oil (without the citrus solvent). That should seal the wood and deepen the color even more.

I’m looking forward to getting two things done in November, aside from the fencing, which will be someone else’s chore to complete: screenings in the arena and the stalls resurfaced. I’ve decided due to both cost and something I read online to postpone the stall grids. I read several people complaining that with the grids the manure forks get stuck as they clean the stalls. I suspect this is because they didn’t put the recommended thick layer of screenings on top of the grids, but I want to see if I can find someone who has them and installed them exactly as is recommended before we go to the expense and trouble to put them in. For now, we’ll clean the stalls down to the base, level with new packed screenings, and put in new door jambs to keep everything in place. That will be enough work as it is! We only have mats in two stalls right now - the other two were redone without the mats and I think they work well that way.

And, finally, we had a bit of drama this morning. The squirrels are crazy for acorns and hickory nuts this year, crazier than usual, I think, and they are coming into the back yard via the trees. Occasionally they get trapped on the ground away from the trees and because of the cat enclosure they can’t go over the fence the way they did in years past. This morning one squirrel got trapped, and was up in the corner of the screen and fencing trying desperately to escape. Husband ran out to help, Pippin got the squirrel and after a quick tussle had him by the neck and ran with him. Husband grabbed Pippin, who dropped the squirrel, which ran (slowly) up the hickory tree. Baloo caught him by the tail and pulled but the squirrel managed to get free and went up the tree. Pippin went up the tree after it but I managed to lure him down and in with a treat. Ever since, Baloo has been tracking the scent of squirrel all over the yard and generally running wild. Pippin gave up and found something else to hunt. It’s another wild day on November Hill.


Grey Horse Matters said...

The colors this time of year is a favorite of mine too. We didn’t get as much color as we normally do though. I was told the reason was because we had such a wet Spring. The leaves are fading and falling and it’s been raining for days and with the time change it looks like Winter will be here too soon.

The wrap around sounds like a great idea! Hope you get your studio one day too.

It does sound exciting with the Pippin and the pups and the squirrel. Glad he got away, he must have been frightened by the episode.

billie said...

We haven’t had much rain so I think that has contributed to nice color this fall. We have 3 days in a row this week of possible rain so I’m glad we got to see things really pop and glow this past few days.

There are 4 projects in my mind wrt building - one is to completely finish the feed/tack room (contractor says this won’t be a big deal at all, very easy), build a hay storage “barn” with a finished loft above that would be a guest space and eventually house my sandplay collection and trays, the writing studio in back, and the porch. The hay storage barn is what we actually need the most but it is the most complicated due to where it would need to go and proximity to property line. It can’t go where we want it to go unless we can add some land on that side, which might be possible. We’ll have to do one at a time over the next couple of years so I’m not sure what will come next. It will work out one way or another!

I am pretty sure the squirrel got away - it definitely got up the tree and since it didn’t ever fall back down I suspect it rested from the tussle and left via the oak tree on the other side of the fence. They come in that way and usually go out that same way but if a cat or Corgi ends up between the squirrel and its escape trees, the squirrel can get trapped. Pippin is literally lying in wait for this exact scenario the past few weeks because of all the squirrels coming in for hickory nuts. There are hickory trees in the front, totally safe from cats, and oaks everywhere with acorns so I’m not sure why the hickory nuts in the cat-filled back yard have become so popular!

Matthew said...

Such wonderful pictures of the fall on November Hill, thanks :)

billie said...

Hopefully you have more to share!