Tuesday, August 27, 2019

November Hill farm journal, 83

The spotted horsemint, Monarda punctata, is in full, glorious bloom right now and it makes me happy every single time I look at it. The view yesterday:

The Arcadia hives are very busy right now, as the goldenrod is starting to come out and there are also a number of fall-blooming pollinators in our area. I enjoy the native bees too and it’s a busy time still in the garden beds.

We’re still cleaning up small branches and sticks from the deluge that happened a week ago, and have scheduled time to take down two very large dead trees, a red oak (it succumbed to a root ball fungus that I was told is rampant here now) and a tulip poplar that was taken out over the course of several years by my equine herd, who love to chew the bark in midwinter. We put a wrap around the trunk but it was too late to save it. I plan to put in some young tulip poplars to replace it, as it’s a majestic tree that provides shade and early nectar flow for bees. I may actually install fencing around these to keep the horses away!

We closed off most of the grass paddock so it can rest and recover. The first day the FOUR strands of Horseguard tape was up, two donkeys and a pony literally tore it down. One unfortunate fellow was caught in the act.

We purchased a new, stronger solar charger and the fence is back in place and certain marauders are being kept out. We overseeded and will let this area repair itself for the next few months.

I had the consult about stormwater management with native plantings and have a good plan for the strip of our farm that runs down the side of our lane. We’ll sow a mix of sun and shade native seed that includes wildflowers and grasses - no mowing needed, and all excellent forage for pollinators. Along with that we’ll put in native wild blueberry bushes every six feet or so. We’ll feed pollinators, the birds, and ourselves with those berries.

Down at our driveway where the water rushes through the culvert pipe we’ll be doing an area of live staking with elderberry, another native pollinator that will also give berries for wildlife and for us.

The two sections in the front pasture that need addressing will likely be fenced with wood to keep the equines out, in small oblong sections on each side where the stream bed is most in need of stabilizing.  We have a nice list of options for planting but I’ll be doing additional consults with some rain garden specialists to help with the geology of the areas.

Thankfully the local nursery we use can provide what we need for the strip very affordably and we’ll do that in early fall. The live stakes are done in December. The rain garden installations are going to be done in several phases after our gravel road repair is done.

In other news, I’ve been appointed to our county’s Food Council, and am excited about the opportunity to get involved with their work. And my daughter just won first and second prizes in a photography contest, the details of which can’t be shared yet, but I’m so proud of her. She’s a gifted young woman.

She and her service dog in training graduated from Basic Obedience class last night and are moving on to Canine Good Citizen in September.

They’re a super team and I’m happy to see them progressing together!

I’m very happy to be seeing signs of autumn all around. I’m so ready for this season to shift, though I’m enjoying the last month of summertime. It’s been hot and buggy and also beautiful, but I love the cycle of the seasons and fall is my most beloved. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

That puppy is just too adorable. You can see how much he loves your daughter from the photo.

It does sound like you've got a lot of work planned but it will be worth it in the end. We have a lot of work at the farm too with culverts and gardens and whatnot. It never ends and there never seems to be enough time to get it all done! I've never had an elderberry believe it or not.

Naughty donkeys taking down the fence. But cute even though they were caught in the act!

billie said...

Thank you! Clementine is such a sweetheart. We all love her dearly but she is definitely my daughter’s dog. :)

You are so right - it never ends and if I can just view the projects as what they are, pieces of a much larger work that just goes on into perpetuity, I don’t get so caught up in thinking of them as a list of things to check off and be done with.

Can you believe the donkeys? I admit, I just laughed at the whole escapade. They are impossible to be mad at, they’re just so industrious and sweet. And yes, extremely persistent when they want something.

Hope you are enjoying the shift of season. I’ll let you know how the elderberries do when they go in. Supposedly the live staking causes them to create a very thick and quick root system which stabilizes the ground they’re put into.