Monday, September 13, 2021

November Hill farm journal, 137

 I’m fully into fall planting this week. 

So far I’ve put in small stands of coreopsis into the bluebird bed and the driveway bed to add some yellow color in each. 

We’re putting in a new trellis in the potager to give my new coral honeysuckle a place to climb. The current plan is to install a “wall” of trellises across the back of the potager for screening, but with native climbing pollinator-friendly flowers. We started last year with the climbing aster, which is doing great, and the coral honeysuckle will go in this week. 

I have more pitcher plants ready to go into a new water garden container that has shipped and should arrive this week. I’ll be taking out the previously-planted pitchers and will move all of them into this water garden container, which will sit in full sun on the “other”side of the walkway going to our front steps. I’m creating an additional pathway that will fork off from the original walkway to go to the firepit area, and when we remove the butterfly bush that’s there, I can put in additional pollinator beds along that new path.

Thanks to some volunteers, my transplanting some, and a few new things to come this fall, the “other” side of the walkway is filling in nicely. 

Tomorrow I’ll pick up the second grouping of plants and will have to work hard to keep up with the planting as I have four more groupings to come. If I can keep up as they arrive I’ll be lucky!

In other news, we had a very nice weekend here. It was writing weekend and then yesterday an old friend came by for lunch on the deck. We’ve tried to schedule a visit for two years now, and finally pulled it off. 

The herd is good, dogs and cats good, and the bees are incredibly busy with our fall nectar flow. We’re back into the 90s for a few days this week, and hopefully cooling down again soon. These spells of very beautiful and cooler weather are like a tease - I would love it if the highs in the low 70s and nights in the low 50s were permanent. 

I’ll have to add some photos soon of all the new native plant species I’ve added this year.

Friday, September 03, 2021

November Hill farm journal, 136

 I just glanced out the window and noticed that my early indicator dogwood is showing its first blush of fall color. Such a nice thing to see after the very hot days we’ve had here lately!

Everyone on November Hill is, I think it’s safe to say, ready for autumn. The horses and donkeys are tired of the heat, the insects, and no one wanting to stay out for too long. I’m tired of all of the above. As I’ve said before, the beauty of four seasons is that they change! 

We’re still in jungle mode but now to the other side of it. As the leaves turn and then fall, we gradually become much more open to what’s around us. Summer is our most lush, most protected time. Which is one of the things I enjoy about it. 

I’ve done some walkabouts during the past week, checking in on various plantings and beds. The southern bayberries are looking good. Many have grown quite a lot this spring/summer and I’m hopeful we’ll experience their year-round screen in a couple of years. I spied a red berry on one of the still young winterberry hollies. The shade beds are looking better this year than last. The two original pollinator beds are in their late summer/early fall glory. All full of bees. We have had a huge bloom of wildflowers in the side strips this summer, and the bees are loving that as well.

Everything perennial in the potager is thriving, and the trees we’ve planted in Poplar Folly are all looking good as well. 

It’s nearly time to put in native perennials and I’ve got several things planned to put in this year. I’m working on the two shade beds + the bird haven area specifically, and thinking about finally putting in the mailbox bed. 

Two new for this fall projects: removing the three remaining butterfly bushes. It’s hard to take them out, but they attract butterflies who then lay eggs that hatch out and starve because they can’t feed on the foliage. So I have two spaces to fill with bushes that not only attract the butterflies, but offer food the caterpillars. We have milkweed, but I’ll add more of that and in proximity to the new plantings. I’m still researching what to plant. The other new project is purchasing a chipper/shredder that we can use to mulch some of the brush piles we’ve accumulated over the past few years. Primarily in Poplar Folly, where the brush piles are so plentiful we’ve invited habitat for copperheads. I’d like to tip the scales the other way for a few years, and will use the brush to make a wood chip pathway back there and make it a bit more obvious what areas are naturalized and what are for walking. 

Other than that, I have a few blueberry bushes to transplant, two heirloom (local to our county!) apple trees to find a place for, and that will be it for this fall’s gardening plans. 

The heat wave finally broke yesterday. We had a high of 80 and this morning it is 52. I am in heaven! The feeling of cool, even chilly air outside is like a tonic. The horses are standing in total bliss, the donkeys are playing, and I’m grateful for the opening night of the season to come.

A glimpse of early fall on Max Patch:

And on November Hill:

We’re having a bumper crop of figs this year! The colors in these two photos make my entire being happy. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Quick trip to a new view

 This weekend my husband and I took a quick trip to what will be a new and beloved view. On the way we stopped for a night in one of my favorite places:

Got a favorite cocktail, the cherried sour:

Gazed at a new and beloved vista:

And drove a quick few minutes to a much more expansive view:

Then home to a certain golden retriever who stole two Prascend tablets and ate them. Thanks to my daughter and son, and animal poison control, vomiting was induced, monitoring was done, and today we’re back to normal on November Hill. 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Introducing November Hill, West

 On the journey to find a large tract of mountain land to put into conservation easement, we found a lovely house on five acres that is in a place we love, reminds me a little of our beloved November Hill, and generally called our names.

We’ve purchased it and will close the end of September! I’ll share some photos later but suffice it to say it’s a very special place. 

The land search continues. This house allows us the ability to look without the energy of “we want something right now” and offers space for regular family retreats and time away. I’m looking forward to writing there, and to creating the kind of family space we enjoy here. 

Can I keep up with two small farms? We will see!