Wednesday, February 12, 2020

November Hill farm journal, 91

I was away last week as a writer-in-residence at Weymouth Center, where I got to write all day and have meals and great conversation with two dear writer friends. In the evenings we read from our work and gave one another feedback, which is always a valued piece of working alongside other writers.

My project for the week was taking an entire novel down to a 12k word story. Not for the faint of heart, but a valuable exercise in understanding the arc and structure of your novel and how subplots function overall. The last full day of the week I got down to 11,994 words and called that a blazing success. This week, now back at home, I’ll be doing a final read/polish and submitting the piece to a journal.

November Hill got 6 inches of rain in only a few hours while I was away. The usual areas flooded, but the drainage projects we’ve done held and I think overall we’re moving in the right direction with the things we’re doing to help with run-off during these deluge events.

Now that I’m back from Weymouth and into February (daffodils are in full bloom!), it’s time to get to work on spring gardening projects:

-bring in more large stone to slow water flow in front of property
-complete terracing in Poplar Folly and plant native seed mixes
-complete 2 terracing projects in front pasture
-mulch all beds and plantings
-move bluebird houses to better locations
-set up honey bee hives in new locations
-create planting beds in Brown Bunny’s Potager and put in some summer veggies and flowers

This sounds like a lot, but some of these items won’t take much time at all, and the others simply require a concerted effort for a few hours with dear husband. I think we need a few weekends to knock this list out.

At the barn, I’m aiming to:

-remove aging exterior stall doors and move the top halves down (leaving no windows), replacing hinges and wood siding. I’d like to recycle the upper halves and when they eventually need replacing I’ll look at commercial options. These Dutch doors were hand-made by previous owners and while serviceable they have some design flaws.
-raise the barn aisle flooring using stone screenings and put matting wall-to-wall, with wood “jambs” at either end to keep everything in place
-new stall bases in 4 stalls
-new base in both shelters
-spruce up interior stall doors and stall fronts

I’m tempted to move on to another batch of projects but am stopping myself with these two lists! These are the things that need to be done before summer rolls in. If we get all this done, it’s not difficult to come up with additional projects.

Everyone is doing well. The horses and pony and donkeys are happy and healthy. Dogs and cats as well. Humans too! One thing on my mind lately is the aging of Bear Corgi, who is 10 and starting to experience arthritis. In my mind he is an eternal puppy, such a bundle of joy and energy. It’s hard to even think of him as aging and harder still to see him having pain. He’s getting chiropractic adjustment, Adequan injections, fish oil for EPA + DHA, and may go onto a pain med soon. It’s tough when a beloved friend and family member gets old.

Inside, I’ve got two rooms to finishing painting and a plan for nearly every room in the house. It’s endless, but I’m going one room at a time and making myself enjoy the transformation instead of focusing on the end result only, i.e. getting them all done. I tend to want to knock out the list and then move on to yet another list (see above) - but isn’t the joy of life, at least in part, in the doing of the tasks? Especially if you’re doing it yourself. This is my overall project for 2020. Embrace the lists but  embrace the doing of the stuff more than checking it off.

Yesterday I took great pleasure in some deep cleaning in the master bedroom and bathroom. All it took was a shift in how I thought about it as I did it. Today I’m pausing to notice the results and appreciate them.

February! I love this month and am happy to have so many good things happening.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like you’ve got a lot planned but it shouldn’t take that long. You’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment when it’s all done.

About Bear Corgi, have you considered CBD oil. I hear it works wonders for arthritis in dogs.

billie said...

I’ve thought about it - need to research brands and dosage for dogs. If you have any info on this, please share!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Looks like you have numerous options for Bear galready, but I would like add one more.

Q (my 17 yr old jrt) had gotten to the point where she could barely go up stairs from arthritis. At my vet's recommendation I put her on egg shell membrane. She now bounds up the stairs two at a time, and seems to feel so much better. It was pretty miraculous. My vet uses egg shell membrane on her dogs, and herself, but can't prescribe through the practice - no FDA data yet. Besides being effective it's super affordable. Q gets 1/3 a cap on her food daily, so a bottle lasts over a year. Good luck!

billie said...

Thanks, A, for the email and info!

billie said...

C, thank you so much - I had read something about this last week but didn’t get much detail. I’ve got an order in for the egg shell membrane and will ask vet about her sourcing for CBD oil as well. Happy to have these two options to pursue! Hugs and thanks to both you and A.