Wednesday, July 27, 2022

This is me this week

 My PCR test for Covid was negative, but I have had a cascading downward spiral of chiropractic issues (this tends to happen if I have to cancel an adjustment and forget to reschedule for two months) that were piled onto by the Moderna booster #2 well and truly kicking in. Add to that high heat and summer doldrums in general and I have barely set foot outside the house for days. 

I had a chiro adjustment on Monday, which helped, but it’s going to take a few weekly appointments to get things back to a great place. I have massage tomorrow and this heat is winding down some over the weekend, so I am hopeful things will bounce back for me. 

I’m grateful to my husband and daughter who pitch in every day with chores and definitely keep things flowing here!

Friday, July 22, 2022

November Hill farm journal, 161

It's been a week. My brother and my mom both tested positive for Covid, and thankfully both have had mild cases. My mom got Paxlovid as a precaution due to her age. Also thankfully, I wasn't exposed, and I've stayed away this week and won't see her again until everything is clear. However, I started having my own symptoms over the weekend - these are what I think are allergy symptoms that I've been having off and on since early spring. I did a Covid test every day for four days, all negative, and I've sent in a PCR test just to be sure. I'm feeling better at this point, but haven't had much energy and so have barely been outside. At the moment I'm suffering from not being out and about! This should be remedied today. We've continued to get regular rain and also heat, but not as high as has been predicted. It's still a jungle out there! Clementine had her oncology consult on Monday. They've recommended the lymph node come out and she's on the list for late September. Her regular vet practice are considering if they can do this sooner. Cody has tested positive for Lyme disease and we're waiting for the antibiotic to come in so we can get him started on it. This week it feels like a vet clinic and a Covid clinic combined! Keil Bay keeps me on my toes. On Sunday when I went out to feed his mid-day meal, I was a few minutes late and this was my greeting:

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 82: Rudbeckia subtomentosa, or sweet coneflower

 Rudbeckia subtomentosa, or sweet coneflower. I put this in last fall along the front walkway and it just started blooming yesterday and today. I love it! 

Note: I fell in love with this coneflower even though it is possibly not native to North Carolina. I’ve read that it is, and I’ve read that it is not. It’s definitely native in the central US, as far east as Tennessee. I don’t normally plant non-NC natives but I made an exception for this one. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

November Hill farm journal, 160


The green-headed coneflowers in the potager have come into bloom this week. They’re one of my favorite things there and I am so happy to see them. They’re as tall as I am! Sadly the ones I planted in the shade garden bed have not managed to do much because of bunnies and/or deer. They were lush and thick, about 1.5 feet tall earlier in the season and then they began to get eaten. By the time I got the protective cages for them they were eaten nearly to the ground. They are holding their own right now in the cages but that beautiful early growth isn’t happening again, so it may be that all I can do is keep them alive for next year and hope that I can keep the munchers away. 

We’ve had a lot of rain over the past week and everything got a very good watering. I need to get out and do some weeding and enjoying of the things that are nearing their bloom time. 

This week I’m mucking the front pasture while the herd is rotated off and spreading the manure along the inside of the front fence. I’m leaving fallen branches in that area and in the fall when leaves begin to drop I’m going to layer them up there and then put a layer of compost on top to keep them in place through the winter. I may put in a few service berry trees in along that long strip as the foundation plantings for that new bed that we’ll fence off from the nibbling herd. It will take me a few years to get this project completed, but the thing it does right now is give a break to the manure going back to the big grandpa compost pile. When you have horses and the daily dropping of manure, you have to find places to use it! 

It’s hard to believe it’s already July. This year has gone quickly for me. In spite of the heat and the biting insects and the allergies I have had this year, I’m enjoying the high season for the pollinators and all the plants they are visiting in huge numbers. 

Writing report - a nonfiction piece I wrote called Everything Is Connected was accepted for Minerva Rising’s 10th anniversary anthology this week. I’m so happy it found such a great home. And I have gotten to the end of my TV series pilot episode this week. I’ll be setting it aside to simmer for a few days while I work on a long short story that hasn’t found a home for a number of years. It’s almost too long to be a short story and many journals have loved it but not accepted it for publication. It’s too short to be a novella. But I decided to add to it and bring it fully into novella territory to see it finds a home in that genre. It’s been fun to work on again. Once I get it done, I’ll shift back to the pilot to work on a pitch deck. 

Right now on November Hill there’s a soft breeze blowing the rainbow colored panels of the Tibetan prayer flag hanging on the front porch, and the upper branches of the button bush are wafting in the wind too. The button bush is as busy as ever with many butterflies and bees. Beyond the porch and garden beds the farm is a wall of green right now thanks to the trees. The fluctuating buzz of cicadas, crickets, and tree frogs is nearly nonstop this time of year. It feels like we’re in the midst of a protected haven, and that’s a good feeling in this crazy world. 

Saturday, July 09, 2022

Everything Is Connected

 Happy to report that my creative nonfiction essay Everything Is Connected has been accepted by Minerva Rising for their 10th Anniversary Anthology coming out later this year. Yay! I’m super excited about this one, and will post more info as I have it. 

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

November Hill farm journal, 159


The confluence of coneflower, baptisia alba, and button bush made me really happy this week! And now that the July 4th weekend is over, I can breathe that sigh of relief. Sadly there was so much stress and horror yesterday, the firework booms took on a larger and more ominous meaning for me. Thankfully the herd accepted cookies and nasal gel easily and remained calm for the fourth night in a row of people exploding things. 

But back to the photo and the joy it brings.

We’ve had more rain and I’ve got plenty of projects to do around the farm as well as basic tasks that rotate around regularly, like weeding and mucking and composting and mulching. I’m trying to create (as always!) the perfect balance - actually who cares about perfect, just serviceable will do - of a few housekeeping tasks, a few outdoor tasks, time with horses, time with writing, time for family, and time for yoga/exercise each day. 

This defies my theory from years back that I can do three things in a day. When I fold in time at my mom’s, forthcoming client time, and pop-up things that just appear on the calendar out of nowhere, it’s a huge challenge and one I’ve never really mastered.

Right now I’m visualizing a sort of rolling and relaxed being in the present moment doing the things that I can do, focusing on the joy of each task, and not allowing my own very big desire to “get it all done” to derail me. 

Many days I can do this with some grace, other days I either err on the side of too much or too little, meaning I just cave in and see the things I never get to at all. Life is full. 

This summer my focus is on not rushing. Not trying to knock it all out in a day. And to be like someone riding a wave, going with the flow, accepting the rhythms of always having more to do than I can actually get done. I’ve placed myself in that kind of life, and in a way it’s a life of riches. Having so many things to do that I love and care about. Having support from my husband and my children, and the freedom to run my day the way I see fit. It’s a LOT of goodness. 

In the garden today I’m enjoying the very busy activity around the button bushes. They are like the super highways of the world when they’re blooming, hubs of pollinator insects and also birds flying, hovering, resting, gathering. Lots of productive tasks going on around the button bush. 

I’ve resisted the notion to set up a set of tasks for myself for today. I’ll do a set plus some by the time the sun sets, but I’m choosing to let the tasks come find me in the moment. Right now a very full laundry basket beckons, it’s time for breakfast, and my screenplay pages are waiting. Thanks to my daughter who fed the cats and dogs, and to my husband, who fed the horses. We’re a team. Everything that needs to get done, will get done.