Monday, January 15, 2018

November Hill farm journal, 44

We just came through a spell of very warm weather and are now roller-coastering back to what is for us very cold. Nights in the teens. I had unplugged the water tank heaters and now we cleaned the tanks and turned them back on again.

Last night I discovered the water hydrant in the little barnyard had been left on (or turned on by donkeys?) while connected to the hose which had the sprayer nozzle on the end. Something froze and burst in the hydrant and the water wasn’t able to be turned off. Sigh. That is first on the repair docket this morning. We’re warming up to 39 as the high today, 48 tomorrow, then another few very cold days with possible snow before returning to our normal winter temps next week.

Our fencing is much further along this week but still not complete. The back field is now safe for horses and pony but the arena is still open at one end so the donkeys can’t be turned out in back since they can and will climb through the arena fence on the back side. I long for the day when I can turn them all out into the entire farm again without having to worry about what is what.

After the snow sucked up a couple of work days and our contractor was able to return, the next discovery was that the entire back side of November Hill is solid rock! He broke his huge auger twice and went through nearly 30 linch pins (if I’m remembering the terminology correctly) digging post holes. We have had to reconfigure the plan back there. In one area he moved the posts in to get on this side of the rock, which initially disappointed me but then I realized that area will be a wonderful site for bee hives. Further down we have opted to have our farm helper do the posts and no-climb woven wire by hand using existing holes instead of trying to dig new ones. In the end it will all be good but the rock really slowed things down.

However - I love rock. One of the things I love about the mountains is the rock. I can literally feel myself being grounded when I put my hands on it, stand on it, sit or lie down on it. So discovering this huge rock formation at the back side of the farm is a comforting thing. I have always been drawn to that back edge and now I know why.

The new gates arrived for the arena and the back pathway but came without their latches. So while waiting for them to be sent the contractor is taking a break this week to move on to his next job. I’ll be happy when everything is totally wrapped up with this but it’s also nice to have some days to just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. I knew this was going to be a huge endeavor as any fence replacement is when horses are involved. It’s one of those things we will only live through once!

I have to say how proud I am of the herd for their overall sensible behavior during this big job. There is a huge dumpster in front of the front fence, a generator going most days, a tractor moving up and down the driveway, digging and dumping and moving heavy materials, a nail gun, some things wrapped in huge tarps, and all kinds of disruption to their normal routine. And they have handled it so well. I think they can see that the new fencing is more secure and that they won’t be dealing with dogs, coyotes, or other things coming into their territory.

There have been several days when I felt totally ungrounded, without my center, as parts of the fence were taken down, the sounds of machines ripped through the air, and the front gate was open all day long for ease of working. Seeing the barnyard and parts of the pastures zig-zagged with tractor tire prints was painful. I keep telling myself how every winter I think at some point, nothing will ever grow on this ground again, and every year I am wrong. This winter will be no different. The ground will heal itself come spring and by summer I won’t know anything but the memory of how raw it all looks right now.

I’m waiting for these next few winter mornings when it’s both cold and quiet. And I will walk down to the rock and stand there and find my center again.

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