Friday, February 24, 2023

November Hill farm journal, 176

 Our local weather forecaster says we’re having an early spring this year, and with an 81 degree day yesterday it certainly feels like we’ve fast forwarded all the way to early summer. 

The row of daffodils along the entrance to our big barnyard has been spectacular this year, and I hope to move the remaining bulbs from the front pollinator bed to the fence line on the other side of the barnyard gate to make a matched set in this area for next spring. 

I’m seeing maples flowering and the redbuds are getting close to bloom as well. The tulip poplars can’t be too far behind, and that is when the honey bees, already very busy, will go into high gear. I have 3 out of 5 colonies coming out of winter this year, and I need to clean out the two hives that didn’t make it so I’ll have space for splits. My most prolific colony, Hegemone, is likely to grow so quickly coming into springI will be able populate both my empty hives, and their genetics is definitely worth expanding. 

It also feels like time to do some cutting and stacking of old growth in the pollinator beds, and I know from past years that if I put it off too long the new growth will win the race and I’ll have to go in oh so carefully with my clippers. 

Horses and pony and donkeys are all good, and came in with fans yesterday afternoon because 81 degrees with still wintry coats on is just too much! They’re all shedding and have been, but not fast enough to be ready for that temperature. 

Our stream of birthdays that cluster in February, March, and April has begun, and this year we also have something else to celebrate: my daughter has been accepted into her top choice PhD program! We’re all so happy for her, and I am overjoyed that as it turns out, her top choice is also a local choice, so in at least some ways, life will roll on with my loved ones close by. 

Spring! I am very ready for it, and excited for all the things that will be coming up - in the gardens, and in our lives. 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Happy Birthday, Redford!!

 15 years old today! Seen here a week or so ago grazing hay next to Cody. I hadn’t noticed until this minute as I uploaded the photo, but the configuration of the herd is in itself meaningful. Keil is the oldest equine and definitely its center. Little Man and Rafer Johnson are best buddies and are not usually far apart. Redford loves being with Cody and Keil, and here he’s right between them. 

Redford was always very close by Salina when she was alive, and while he gets on with all the equines, and has been amazing through Keil’s bout with EPM, he is also the one equine who most frequently separates himself from the herd to keep me company when I’m doing chores or just out and about near the barn. He keeps an eye out on things happening around us, which reminds me a lot of Salina. I can always glance out our windows and if Redford is alert to a direction, there’s sure to be something going on. 

He’s the youngest member of our herd, close in age to Rafer. I expect he and Rafer will be with us for many more years and I’m grateful for their longevity and for their sweetness, curiosity, and for the joy they have brought and continue to bring to our lives. 

Happy birthday, Redford! You’re a star for sure. 

Saturday, February 18, 2023

New published flash fiction and a couple of essays out

 When They Were Gone is a spooky little flash fiction piece up now on On The Run Lit.

My flash nonfiction essay is available for pre-order in River Feet Anthology #3, along with many other beautiful pieces all centered around the landscape and wildlife:

Another nonfiction essay, Everything Is Connected, is available now from Minerva Rising’s 10th Anniversary Anthology, issue 22, called Then And Now: - and there are many beautiful pieces to read in addition to mine.

As always, it’s a joy and an honor to have my work out in the world. 

Monday, February 13, 2023

November Hill farm journal, 175

 Lots going on right now, but this is what caught my eye this week. The daffodils are starting to bloom! I am a firm believer in native plantings but these daffodils were here when we moved in and I have let them stay in this section because they add a cheerful note during this time when the farm looks its messiest. Gradually I’ve moved the bulbs from the front pollinator bed up here, and one aggravated day I tossed some over the fence into the adjacent forest. As some of you might recall, those managed to live and now offer me a bit of color in late winter as I work at my desk in the garret. 

We had just about dried out from the last soaking rains but on Saturday evening the herd was out grazing their hay as long as possible before the 24 hours plus of more rain started. We shifted from 70s to 40s and on went their rain sheets and all their hay was served in the barn during the re-soaking of the farm. This morning it’s wet ground but blue skies and sunshine, so we begin the drying out process yet again! 

It’s hard to look at this winter pasture and imagine it will be as green as - well - as green as grass in another month or so. 

In other news, my daughter has been accepted to the PhD program she most wanted to get into, and she will be working in a research group she truly wanted to join. I’m so proud of her. And have I said that we are expecting our second grandchild in August? I feel very rich in love right now. Many blessings. 

Last week, a large gang of elk ascended the path to the bald and there was a young calf with them. It’s a mystery, as elk calves in our area are generally born in late May/early June, so this one is special and early, and I am so very grateful we got to see them. 

By the next time I post, maybe I will have planted the potager! That’s on my list. :)