Sunday, April 17, 2022

November Hill farm journal, 150

 April has been an odd spring month, with a lot of warm weather punctuated with some much cooler days and some very cold nights sprinkled in. Despite that, the trees are green, the pastures are green, and everything is growing like mad in the native beds. We’ve got pollen and we’ve got tulip poplar blooms, which means the bees are extremely busy right now. 

Gardening: I had the second annual goldenrod giveaway which effectively cleared all the goldenrod out of my lower pollinator bed where once again they had completely taken over. With bee balm and mountain mint on one end and threadleaf bluestar, coreopsis, some asters, and swamp sunflower on the other, there was a wide expanse in between that needed filling in. So I moved some spotted horsemint from another bed, added curlyheads, downy wood mint and New England aster, and I’ll fill in a little with something else in the next week or so. This bed also has the single remaining butterfly bush at one end and the buttonbush and beautyberry at the other. We removed the smaller butterfly bush a month ago and severely cut the larger one back for this season. I am still undecided as to what I’ll replace it with, but that will happen in the fall and all the butterfly bushes will then be gone. They attract a lot of insects but they are a dead end for butterflies, whose larvae don’t have anything to eat when they hatch out, so I want to put a nice host plant there instead. The other beds are all doing well. The fall plantings are coming up nicely. I added some turtleheads to the shade bed and planted African blue basil in the potager, as well as created a blackberry trellis. Will be adding the summer veggies soon.

Bees: The three colonies that made it through winter are Hegemone 2 (now simply Hegemone since Hegemone 1 swarmed or absconded), Echo, and Artemis. We cleaned out Mnemosyne’s hive box two months ago and last week I rechecked it and sprayed some Swarm Commander inside. On Friday it was surrounded by scout bees who were eagerly investigating it. Ditto for the hive box left by Hegemone 1, newly named Callisto. We’ll see if any of these scouts bring a swarm to these two empty boxes! I have a nuc coming sometime this spring and I have an extra bee hive ready for it if these two get taken by swarms. I haven’t come up with a name for the new box yet if I end up needing it, but that will be a fun task if it comes to that. 

Horses: The stress this week was that on Thursday my farm helper saw Keil Bay fall to the ground. He was standing with the herd in the dirt paddock, relaxing, and just suddenly dropped to the ground. It sounded like he possibly fell asleep. He got up with a little scrambling, but had no signs of injury, and since then he’s seemed fine. But of course it scares me, and it makes me wonder if we’re nearing the very difficult place where I have to make a hard decision. For now he’s happy. He has hoof trims and his monthly vet appointment this week, so we’ll see how things look for those. Otherwise, they are all good and enjoying springtime. 

Dogs: Another stress this week is that Clementine was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor on her leg. We’re awaiting the surgery to remove it and hoping for the best outcome possible. Bear Corgi has been getting a lot of grooming and trimming of his very fluffy and thick coat, and Baloo is as watchful as ever. 

Cats: They’re all good and all a handful! 

We have a nest of swallows in the barn and both bluebird boxes are occupied, though one is occupied by sparrows and not bluebirds. I put up a new bird box in the potager and hope it offers a nice nesting place for any of the many birds we have here on the farm. 

The cedars are set to be planted this week. We’re still having minor repairs done in the barn on these days when the horses are still out, and we’ll wind that down when they switch to night-time turnout. I ordered new coated steel barn windows so when those come we’ll figure out how to get them installed without disturbing the herd, and I’m hoping we can at least get a couple more repairs done in the barn before we move to night-time turnout, but if not, that will resume in the fall when they switch back again!

Meanwhile the garage ceiling has had repairs done to a troublesome area, and when my laundry room beadboard ceiling is painted, I’ll be able to wrap that room’s work up and move on to something else. We’ll work around Clem’s surgery and treatment plan to keep things quiet and peaceful for her recuperation. Send her some good healing thoughts, please! 

Writing: I have a flash nonfiction piece coming out in May, and a poem coming out sometime this spring/summer, plus a number of things in progress in terms of being considered for publication. I’m working on the new novel again, though not as much as I’d like since March and April and all the things happening that have needed my energy and attention. 

My mantra right now is that life is good, but life is also hard. That seems to be the theme for 2022 so far. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

Busy as usual. Best wishes for Clementine, I'll be sending good thoughts for her. She's a sweetheart. Hope it all goes well.

Our first horse, Lifeguard, had a problem falling down when he was older. It seemed to stem from him not laying down and sleeping. Probably because he felt he might not be able to get up. So he would fall asleep on his feet and sometimes fall over. It seems Keil is doing okay now. It's hard when they get older and have age related problems. I'm sure the vet will let you know if there is a problem. Good luck.

billie said...

Oh, that’s so good to know about Lifeguard - I wondered if that was what is happening with Keil and the vet today seemed to think that is probably exactly what is going on. He has done fine since and had a great acupuncture treatment this morning. His vet said he is “aging gracefully.” :)

And thank you re: Clem. I have good news - her vets have worked her in for this Thursday to remove the tumor and get it analyzed and graded so we will know what treatment options are best. For now she’s on Benadryl and Pepcid to help with histamine release and also with any stomach discomfort. I’m very grateful to them. She’s not out of the woods, but we can’t treat until we know what the tumor is, so… it’s good we’ll have this info sooner rather than later. I’ve already ordered two Suitical sleeves for her so she can wear one and we can wash the other, to keep the surgical site protected without a cone. :)