Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Three little kittens...

...are coming to live on November Hill!

My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew took on the care of a number of feral cats this past year. They fed them, tamed them, got them all spayed and neutered, and then the final litter was born on the summer solstice in June. They will continue care and feeding and loving the cats, but decided the three little kittens needed a home. It took about an hour for us to say yes.

Meet, left to right, Fox, Summer, and Winnifred:

They will arrive after they get spayed and neutered. We can't wait to meet them and settle them in to their new home on November Hill!

Monday, September 04, 2017

On a long, dark night you need a Malkoff Hound Dog Super

A few weeks ago dear husband was out of town taking photographs of the eclipse and Baloo Corgi woke me up at 4 a.m. barking his head off at something outside. I went out, aimed my pitiful iPhone flashlight at the dark of night, saw nothing, and came back in. Sleepless at that point, I decided it was high time I found myself a real farm-friendly flashlight, so I researched high and low on the internet and found a pricy but highly-recommended and rated option. Malkoff's Hound Dog Super:

I ordered it, confirmation was quick, and it arrived that week with a handwritten thank you on the invoice. When I saw the box and then opened it up, I thought they had made a mistake. This was far too small to do what I'd read this light can do in terms of illumination.

It's easily held in my smallish hand. I popped in the batteries and turned it on inside the house. No way. I figured I'd been had. That night I took it to the back deck, figuring I was going to be even more disappointed when I turned it on and tried it out in real darkness.


This little thing can check the fence lines from my back deck and front porch. It illuminated every spider in its web from my back door to the barn. I checked the horses, donkeys, and pony from head to hoof, from the house. When the leaves are off the trees I'll be able to check the neighbor's fence lines too.

Never again will a Corgi bark and me wonder what is out there. Highly recommended. Seriously, if you have horses and you don't already have a good light, this is the one. You can see them HERE.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

On brush piles, a metaphor

I've seen it before and now am seeing it again. As the wooded edge of our property gets cleared, we decided to create medium-sized brush piles of the cuttings along the way, instead of paying someone else to haul the brush away, instead of burning, which works well but adds a layer of stress to the work that I wasn't eager to take on.

Our farm helper (I dislike the use of the word helper here since he is in fact doing all the work - champion is more like it, as he is conquering some tasks we simply cannot do in any reasonable time frame) has meticulously layered the brush as he goes, avoiding the natural draining paths and areas where the pile would interfere with other growth we want to encourage.

There's a fairly long section of running cedar that is quite lovely and seems to prohibit brushier volunteers, so we opted to protect that and the brush piles were put on either end of it.

Initially the first few piles seemed large and although not ugly, they did catch my eye in a way that I didn't like, presenting as things to be gotten rid of at some point.

Years back we had a huge brush pile from my own clearing of overgrown garden beds and a few other areas and the pile was higher than my head and double the width of my arms spread wide. I fretted that pile for a year and then one day happened to glance out the window only to realize that nature's process of decay had done the chore for us. The pile had composted itself down to almost nothing.

Already I am seeing these smaller piles doing the same thing. The newer ones seem huge now in comparison to the earlier piles, which now look shrunken, and brown, blending into the landscape even more than they did when freshly cut and green.

I've seen birds using them for cover and squirrels dashing in and out. I suspect the bunnies are using them as well.

I notice how my own stresses and worries do the same thing - looming large and unwieldy and then shrinking down to the point that eventually they become memories instead of active thoughts.

The piles are now appearing to me as a sort of natural art installation. When I view them that way, they become that. A late summer show. I'm looking forward to seeing how they transform through the fall, into winter.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Drama in the storm

Yesterday we were under a tornado watch for most of the afternoon into the evening, and although we thankfully never had high wind nor any rotation here, nor the huge hail that fell in counties around us, we did have a severe thunderstorm.

As usual I was out at the barn making sure horses and pony and donkeys had fresh water, hay, and were settled in. It was pouring rain, thunder was booming, and suddenly the pony and donkeys went into high alert. The ducks were heading through the neighbor's yard at a nice clip, straight for our front field.

The pony's head went up high, ears pricked, and then suddenly off he went down the dirt paddock toward the front field gate at a huge, fast trot. He arrived at the fence about the same time the ducks did and they swerved and headed back in the direction they came from. The pony stood guard under the big oak tree for awhile until I lured him back to the barn, rain still pouring down.

Once he was in the barn eating his hay the ducks made their way back to the fence, ducked under, and ran across the front field to the "little" barnyard, where they gathered under the closer oak and began to eat millipedes.

They were eyeing the barn door and I was trying to figure out what would happen if they suddenly ran in the barn. Who among the equines would spook, who would not? Who would chase them out? I was wishing I had my phone and its camera and video capabilities but it was inside the house.

As I stood there watching a huge lightning bolt struck somewhere across the gravel lane, and as it hit and sizzled loudly the ducks' tails all waggled in unison with the sizzle. Then they took off and ran quacking back across the front field toward home.

I'm not sure what ducks were doing out in such a storm but they perked up my evening and by dinner time the storm had passed and all was quiet again.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Why my to do list will never be empty

Yesterday as I worked outside admiring a few of the completed projects around me, my eyes ratcheted to the gate at the end of the driveway. It's almost time to apply the tung oil but that wasn't what I was thinking. A lovely new gate and new mailbox needs something more. Landscaping! Oh, dear. My mind went spinning off with ideas and now I've reluctantly added that project to my list.

On the back end of the farm I was doing more chores and imagining how wonderful it will be when the fencing is done and my sadly-neglected woodland path is cleared again and enclosed for the dogs to roam. This wasn't enough - off went my brain again, gallivanting toward something, it wasn't sure what, that resulted in a Pinterest session later in the evening, and the search words "cobblestone path."

Oh dear. It never ends!

I'm the same way with writing projects. I think it's safe to say having lists of things to do is one of my primary motivators.

If you're on Pinterest, come find me there. It's my visual list extraordinaire.