Friday, July 21, 2023

WHAT?! Rafer Johnson is 16 years old?! No way!

 We met this little guy in 2007, shown here with his mom Contessa. We fell in love that day and that feeling has never faltered. 

Rafer Johnson turned 16 this week and he remains a central figure in our lives here on November Hill. 

My photo taking seems less lately and thus I do not have a birthday photo or even a very recent photo of this handsome guy, but trust me, it’s July when donkeys in this area of the world tend to shed out fully and become as sleek and shiny as can be. He remains as stunning as ever. 

That he is 16 years old completely blows my mind. And all I can think about this week with him turning 16 is this: him getting his driver’s license and asking for the keys to the car! I can so easily imagine he and Redford (and of course Little Man would be there too) going out for a spin. 

Rafer is the very sweetest donkey boy anyone could ever know. I don’t know how we got so lucky but boy are we grateful for his presence here. 

Happy Sweet Sixteen, Rafer! We love you!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

November Hill farm journal, 189

 I’m feeling the stress of the planet today, with temperatures breaking records all over the world and hazy skies and air quality alert pinging my phone today, as well as the meetings I have today: one with Duke Energy because they once again want to remove very mature trees that pose no threat to power lines and are actively working to help our planet; another with a company that will hopefully offer solutions to the foundation seepage we are having during the increasingly regular torrential rainfall here. 

What more does anyone need to experience to recognize that we are destroying the place we live with our unsustainable practices?

Today the horses are in the barn dealing with a high of 95 degrees predicted (with heat index of over 100) while also in an active air quality alert due to smoke from wildfires in Canada rolling into our area yesterday. I can’t bring them inside, and I can’t prevent this toxic air from rolling through. It occurred to me yesterday as I drove across the lake near our home and saw haze so thick it looked like heavy fog that it is not at this point even ethical to consider living with any new equines because I cannot insure their safety and wellbeing as our environment and climate deteriorates. 

We’ll do our best to care for the animals we live with now; we’ll do our best to live with intention and educate ourselves on best practices for caring for the land that we live on and own. 

This is brought home to me all the more when I get multiple notifications each day on the mountain property. The trees, the wildlife, the preciousness of it all.

Duke Energy should be planting trees as fast as they can, not cutting them down. The insanity of our practices astounds me. 

Sunday, July 09, 2023

November Hill farm journal, 188

 July 4th went better than I expected. Although there were a lot of booms, the Rescue Remedy and pheromone gel worked well for us. I gave out peppermints during a couple of the most actively booming times and all was well. We also had a delightful day with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson earlier in the day, so that energy definitely fueled my own calm state going out just before dark to sit with the herd. 

A little chaos on the hill this week. Our daughter had an anaphylactic reaction to what we think was a fire ant sting. She was photographing osprey and thankfully wasn’t too far from us. She ended up getting an epi pen at a fire station on the way to the ER, then got IV benadryl in the ambulance, and spent a chunk of that day being monitored in the ER. We’re grateful for the people who helped and also for epi pens (which she will now carry) and for the possibilities of venom immunotherapy. 

Husband was at urgent care prior to that with cellulitis and thankfully the antibiotics kicked in and assisted. 

We’ve continued to have both heat and rain and it’s jungle season in the gardens here right now. I am officially tossing in the towel when it comes to keeping up with growing things. Will target a few things as I can from now until fall. 

I’m enjoying prolific coneflowers this summer. 

And the mountain min and pitcher plants along the walkway to the front porch. 

This patch of ferns are doing well. I removed a few interloping natives that I didn’t want growing up through the ferns.

The front bed is its own habitat right now, with the button bush blooming and the understory plants also doing their things. I can’t fully capture the constant activity of many butterflies, all species of native bees, honey bees, and some moths who all make the button bush look as if it is constantly aflutter. 

Just one shot of one swallowtail among many.

I would call these the lazy days of summer except no one living with cats, dogs, horses, ponies, donkeys, and family members can be lazy! Life is full of things to do and sometimes full of challenges, but always full of love. 

Monday, July 03, 2023

The Environmental Impact of Fireworks

 For anyone intending to use them, at least educate yourself about the impact of your action. 

Read this.