Thursday, March 28, 2024

November Hill farm journal, 207

 We are in the midst of three days of rain and today a new washing machine is arriving which means the delivery folks will be slogging through the soggy path into our back yard. I’m grateful I found this replacement machine - the exact same machine that has bearings wearing out at age 4 - in a very good deal online. The repair was going to cost $1300+ and the new machine was much much less than that. However, on this rainy day with animals sequestered during a two-hour window, and a washing machine that technically still works, I’m wishing I had a magic wand that would just keep it running instead of the hullabaloo of people tromping in and out with a new one. 

Cody and Rafer Johnson pushed through the un-electrified HorseGuard tape last night through the arena to get to the big barnyard grass, so that repair is on the docket for sometime today. Ready for sunshine and blue skies and drying out. It’s on my list to replace the tape at that end of the arena and on around to the barnyard gate with wood fencing, but that isn’t near the top of my list yet and they have lived with it undisturbed for 20 years! The boredom of rainy days in the barn, the lure of spring grass. 

Last weekend I went to a local pop-up native plant sale to get short-toothed mountain mint, which I’ve been looking for the past couple of years. I got there early and nabbed 5 beautiful plants, plus Wherry’s foamflower, woodland phlox, and Virginia mountain mint. We had two nights of frost warning so I kept the new haul in the garage until yesterday when things warmed up enough that I could put them outside. I managed to get one mountain mint in the ground during a break in the rain. Hopefully tomorrow I can get the rest in the ground and complete the prepping of the upper terrace for spring. 

I’m about 1/3 through the lower terrace removing some invasive non-natives but I’ve done enough to have uncovered the downy wood mint, curlyheads, and asters coming up. The patch of wild bergamot has grown larger and should be pretty spectacular when it blooms! Also pruned the beauty berry and button bush at the end of the terraced beds. I’m glad to be giving that whole area a needed sprucing up this year. 

On the other side of the driveway that bed awaits - all I’ve done over there is a little weeding and pruning of the very large button bush. 

All the viburnums I planted are leafing out, and in general, things are looking good, though I know at some point I’ll lose control of how fast things are growing and at that point I’ll sit back and just enjoy the jungle. 

Otherwise, life is busy but I am persisting in my effort to, as Cal Newport prescribes in his newest book Slow Productivity:

Do fewer things.

Work at a natural pace.

Obsess over quality.

It’s funny because I’ve been looking at my longtime goal to focus on three things in a day. He recommends this in the book, and it’s definitely fueled my motivation to adhere to this plan. The addition of working at a natural pace is helping too - just moving normally and not racing ahead to try to get more done. The book is good; if you’re like me and need some encouragement to slow down, I recommend it!

The delivery guy just called and they’re on the way so I’m going to meditate on that being almost done. The rain seems to have stopped so maybe this won’t be the big deal it feels like. I’m hoping their truck is not huge, as the last time they had to wheel the machines down the entire driveway! 


Had to add this in. Washer installed by two super competent young men this morning. And I just posted the following to my horsekeeping group. 

Today I was tending Keil Bay’s and Salina’s gravesites, after doing winter planting of some rarer native plants that seemed to be a suitable match for these two horses. I’ve been keeping the spring weeds that are popping up pulled on and around the graves and had the final plants in hand to put in for this spring. After getting them in the ground, and pulling the weeds, I walked over to the part of the grave where Keil’s head is and leaned down to say something to him. There was a Red Bird peppermint wrapper lying there on the soil, exactly where his muzzle is. 

For the past 20 years we have never been without Red Bird peppermints because they were his favorite treat. The night he died I fed him every single peppermint we had on hand, which was about half of a large bag. I never reordered because the remaining herd members do not really need those peppermints. We haven’t had any since October 25th.

I’m not sure where that wrapper came from but it sure made me smile to think that Keil Bay is at least in some way still getting his peppermints on this was rainy/now sunny spring day. :)

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