Thursday, February 21, 2019

Meet The Grand-pups!

Both my (young adult) children have new dogs and suddenly I’m a grandma!

(Trying to convince husband that our grandparent names should be Donk and Darling but he’s not keen on it - any ideas for creative grandparent names? I’d love to hear them.)

Ciro is my daughter’s German Shepherd who is joining us on November Hill tomorrow. He came from Germany and has received specialized training.We’re thrilled to bring him home and help him settle in to life on November Hill.

He’s a sweet dog and huge. It’s going to be an adjustment for us to have a dog with legs this long. Many years of Corgis have spoiled us for kitchen islands and countertops being out of reach. It’s going to be fun to have a big dog to remind us what it’s like!

My son and daughter-in-law went to meet Ciro and ended up falling in love with their new girl, Aria, a Belgian Malinois. She won’t live with us but she’ll be a regular visitor and of course part of the clan.

Aria is in her training now. We’re excited to get to know her over the next few months.

When I was young we had a white German Shepherd and my brother has had two German Shepherds as an adult so I’m familiar with the breed. Good dogs! It’s going to be fun to have them around.

Friday, February 15, 2019

November Hill farm journal, 69

Back home after writing residency and enjoying this week of sunshine and mild temps before rain sets in again. It feels like spring!

The pollinator beds are becoming active. I’m seeing green at the base of every plant and also a few weeds coming in. I’ll be removing the remaining growth from last year and composting it. Meanwhile the spring bulbs are starting their show.

So far no redbuds blooming but I’m keeping my eyes open.

The main work on the farm this past two weeks has been overseeding pastures one at a time, after aerating. We still have the biggest front area to do but happy to get this done early and then we’ll move on with my list. The stone projects are back in hiatus due to the rain we had and now are looking at again. But we’ll slide in one at a time until we finish.

Once we hit a dry spell combined with warmish weather we’re going to finally replace the interior fencing that borders what we call the dirt paddock. This fencing is the original black plastic fencing and posts that the donkeys totally ignore and climb through.

The dirt paddock is a long rectangle running from the back of the barn along the arena and then between the front and back pastures, so it serves as a corridor for horses going from barn. I have also used it as a dry paddock for chunky ponies and donkeys (though as noted, the donkeys escape it when they want to!). The far end of the dirt paddock goes to our property line on that side, and gates to pastures are at that end as well. I’ve always disliked the herd having to go all the way to that fence to enter/exit pastures, as that puts them near the neighbors and whatever is going on over there.

The new fencing will actually create a new enclosed area adjacent to the fence line where I’ll put in garden beds: vegetables, a few trees, and herbs. We’ll move the gates to the middle of the dirt paddock so horses will move from front to paddock to back pastures much closer to the barn than is now the case. The garden area at the end will also create a living screen between our property and the neighbors. Being so close on that side is really the only thing I don’t like about our farm. This plan will help.

Also on the docket is some work in the barn, removing some rickety stall doors and replacing with the mostly unused top Dutch doors which for whatever reason are larger than the bottoms. I figure we’ll move the tops down and get the use out of those. We never close the tops and since both sides of the barn have shelters there’s not much need to do so. I found replacements for our stall latches online and ordered new ones for every door. And we’ll install the smaller stall door on the donkeys and pony side so they can see over into the barn aisle.

While removing and reinstalling doors I plan to give them a good washing out in the barnyard and apply tung oil.

That’s as much as I’m putting on the list for the next few months. I have reserved my honeybee nucs for May and will FINALLY get started on my apiary. I’ve scaled down from 3 to 2 to start, in hopes that the third hive will come from splitting one of the two at some point. I’m excited (anew) about this project.

That’s about it. Except that we have our new farm resident arriving next Friday. Ciro, the extremely well-trained German Shepherd, will be here settling in and hopefully getting to know and love his new home and family. We’re very excited!

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Weymouth writing residency and a morning with horses and hounds

I’m at Weymouth this week writing and had the great fortune to see the Moore County Hounds gather and ride off from this historic home and property this morning. The Boyd family who lived here over 100 years ago started the hunt and this morning it could have been that long ago - what a sight to see the hounds and horses on the grounds as they would have been all those years ago!

It was fun to see a few old friends from when my daughter rode with the hounds. I’m missing Keil Bay but having a wonderfully productive writing week and am grateful to Weymouth for hosting me and to my family at home who are holding down the farm so I can be here.