Saturday, May 22, 2021

November Hill farm journal, 129

 We’ve rocketed from early spring temps (60s/40s) to early summer temps (90s/60s) and whoa, I was not ready for this shift. Thankfully the mornings are still cool enough that I (and the herd) get some comfort time before the heat builds through the days.

My farm helper got us mostly caught up this week on mowing and weeding tasks, and mulched remaining pollinator beds for me. I weeded the veggie beds and tied up the fast-growing tomatoes and cucumbers. The bronze fennel from last year has come back beautifully, and the caterpillars will be happy about that when they arrive.

This week the house was power-washed in advance of the painting to begin Tuesday morning. There was a bit of a mess the day they came to do the cleaning, arriving an hour and a half late and at the last moment I learned they were planning to use bleach even though I had made it clear that was not okay on our farm, so they scrambled valiantly and got Simple Green. They were here until 7 p.m. because of the mix-ups with start time and materials, and that wasn’t great in terms of animal feeding routines, but we managed.

Here’s a before shot of the house:

In the midst of this our window replacement for three upstairs windows was put on the schedule for Monday, then taken off again by the company. I’m ready for all this stuff to be behind us, but I do understand that jobs can take longer than planned and we have to accommodate that. So we’re now having Monday “off” from work and then will plunge into the week of exterior repairs, caulking, first coat of paint being sprayed on, second coat being brushed on, and all the trim being done. The power washing shot stuff onto my pollinator bed plants in one area, and honestly I did have a bit of a shrieking moment when I saw it (thankfully after they left), but there’s not much to be done. I’ll say it again - ready to be beyond this!

Yesterday on top of this the internet went wonky so we had the technician out to look at it. He fixed it and said if it goes wonky again, it’s probably time (after 26 years) to run a new line from the box on the street to our house. The existing line runs up the fence line through the front pasture and then arcs to the house, and to have this done means one of those ditch witch machines coming through the entire front pasture. We discussed a plan to bring a line outside the front fence parallel to the gravel lane, then come along the side of the driveway up to the house. This will be simple and outside the pasture area, but once it gets to the garage area it’s got to get to the side of the house which means driveway or flower bed. Ugh. Anyway, we’re not quite there yet, so I’m putting that on the back burner for now.

I’m really happy to report that all my southern bayberries are growing, as are the winterberry hollies, and the shade bed plants are also doing well. They seem to be having growth spurts this spring. The Gray’s sedge, eastern columbine, and mountain mint I transplanted to the other side of the front walkway are doing great as well. My next small project in that area will be to find a flat planter to move the pitcher plants into so I can control the moisture better. I have a spot ready for it and they will be happier in the new home.

The two pollinator beds I added last year are doing well too. In the fall I’ll add more variety of things to these beds. 

Not all my elderberry live stakes have survived, but some have and are doing quite well. This week past I discovered a volunteer elderberry in the front field. They are mildly toxic to horses but generally not palatable to them, so I’m pondering if I need to remove it, fence it off (which could be part of a small area that will also help with rainwater run off as it’s own one of the steeper slopes in the front), or just leave it as it is. 

So far they are not touching it at all. 

We also did a poison ivy removal chore this week. My farm helper doesn’t react to it, so he took a bag and the gloves I insisted he wear and pulled it all up for me. I used to do this with a vengeance and a good riddance but have since learned that poison ivy is a native that is beneficial to bees and other pollinators, and that there’s a theory that the poison ivy in the trees of our forests here are at least partially responsible for the spring nectar flow that our bees so depend on coming out of winter. The current recommendation is to remove only that which poses a direct exposure threat and to leave it in the naturalized/wooded areas. We removed it from our backyard (!), the beds, and the wooded edge of our front area where the dogs run, and in Poplar Folly where we and the dogs spend time. 

Our attic HVAC is set to be replaced on June 9, the electrical work will be done the two days prior to that, and you can bet that when we close the gate on the last of the work being done this spring, I am going to celebrate and settle in for some peace and quiet the rest of the summer. 

I have some small projects to work on and that’s it.

I’m looking forward to saddle fittings and the possibility of getting Cody and me into riding shape again, and you know, I think Keil Bay might enjoy ponying along for some walking time. It would never work with the pony and any other horse, but Keil and Cody are already joined at the hip, so I may as well use that to keep us all going. It’s worth a try to see if it’s fun. If not, we just won’t do it again. :)

I can’t believe we’re rolling toward June. I feel like April and May have shot past and here we are facing summer already. 

1 comment:

billie said...

A, I accidentally deleted your comment - please do send me the info on the veggie boxes! Sounds like you’re done with your house painting so I hope we live through it too!