Saturday, October 29, 2022

November Hill farm journal, 168

 We lived through the bathroom renovation. I need to take photos but will wait until I get the painting done and mirrored cabinets hung, as we opted to do that ourselves. I’m so happy with the floor, the new toilet, and the vanity, though. Very nice. 

The toilet was a bit of a fiasco. The one I’d purchased was a smidge too tall for the windowsill, so I scrambled to find a replacement, found one, got it home, and it was broken inside the box. Returned, no more anywhere nearby like it, finally found one similar at a different store, and thankfully got it and it installed with a perfect fit. So the now spare new toilet that didn’t fit was installed in the downstairs guest bathroom. Which was on the list anyway, so now that bathroom is halfway to being updated. 

I spent the last week at Weymouth writing with two of my best writing friends. Beautiful space and time and company, as always.

And we have some fun company up at Stillwater this week. 

Looking forward to a calm and quiet week to come. :)

Monday, October 17, 2022

A Lovely Writing Weekend At Stillwater

 On Thursday I headed up to Stillwater for some very sweet writing and retreating time. The journey was extended by two hours due to random interstate travel issues so by the time I got there I was more than in need of this respite! This trip I also hosted a fellow writer and it was nice to have the communal writing energy flowing. 

How wonderful it was to have a several hour writing discussion on Sweet Bay Bald! This was our view and as the late afternoon shifted to early evening the light became magical. 

I enjoyed the fall landscape in the garden beds around Stillwater too. 

Stillwater has amazing energy and I’m feeling the creative energy build each time I write there. It’s a wonderful place and I’m grateful we found it.

I love the fall shape and colors of the ferns. 

And the doghobble. 

Speaking of dogs, Baloo loves it too. 

This view from my deck chair remains a favorite. I can see our herd out there even though they remain on November Hill. 

The oakleaf hydrangea is to me most beautiful in fall and winter. I love these colors and the dried blooms. 

The hiking on the larger property was also wonderful, to the degree that my phone never even came out of my pocket. I am home and restored, just in time for the renovation of our upstairs bathroom here on November Hill to begin tomorrow! Whew. Ready to be on the other side of that but at least I’m starting in a very good state of mind. 

Monday, October 03, 2022

November Hill farm journal, 167

 We made it safely through Ian with many power blinks but no outage, I’d say thousands of tiny leafy branches on the ground, 5 inches of rain, and Echo bee hive tipped over. Thanks to my husband, who went down to check the apiary late in the night and was able to get them upright and put back together again. 

The rain was steady and our rainwater run-off solutions worked well. And the farm got a deep watering that it needed. I’m so sorry for the areas that were devastated, and heartened by the eco-conscious neighborhood called Babcock Ranch in Florida, completely run by solar panels and designed to manage flooding from hurricanes like Ian. Ian went pretty much right over Babcock Ranch, and no one living there lost power, water, or internet. Imagine if Desantis spent all the money he’s wasted on funding smart infrastructure and neighborhoods like Babcock Ranch (who is the completed vision of one man, a former NFL player). That’s all I’ll say about that, but the possibilities are exciting under the right leadership.

My biggest focus right now is that we’re in October! Yesterday I changed Clementine’s fun dog tag to her Halloween one, once things dry out tomorrow I’ll change the gate wreaths to the autumn ones, and I was inspired over the weekend to do some needed cleaning inside the house, which I hope is the beginning of a month of high energy, as I’m going to need it. This week is fairly quiet, but next week Clem has her three-month abdominal ultrasound, the next week is the upstairs bathroom renovation stage 1, and the final week is my mom’s 90th birthday and my writer-in-residence week at Weymouth. 

Today we’re still cloudy, the trees are still green, except for the dogwoods, who are beginning their shift to deeper color, and everything is very quiet and still. I’m happy to be sitting here with coffee and sleeping dogs for a bit to enjoy this time. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

November Hill farm journal, 166

 Readying for Ian, whatever it may bring our way, which is likely to be a lot of rain and increasing winds. We’re already feeling them today. Keil Bay had his acupuncture and Legend injection in the barn aisle because while we were waiting for his vet, a gust rattled the mower tent and he did a spook and canter in the barnyard. He enjoyed his acupuncture a lot today and had some tricky spots where the needles kept sliding out. But he was licking and chewing and turned to the vet when she finished up and thanked her for the treatment. He’s a sweetheart. 

The scab from his one hock sore is gone and there’s no broken skin (the scab took the fur with it) but I want to have something on hand to use for protection if I need it. I’m in discussion with Sox For Horses to get a pair of hock wraps that should do the trick. 

Oh, the things we seniors deal with! Honestly, I need an inflatable donut to wear that will protect me if I take any more tumbles.

Yesterday I took a walk around the farm with my husband with the promise to self that I was not going to get drawn into any chores. A walk to enjoy what is there already. I made it! Yay! The bees are slowing down a little in population but continue to be busy foraging. They were especially enjoying the swamp sunflowers that are prolific in my upper bed, and they’ll enjoy the asters when they bloom a little later this fall.

The plantings are all doing pretty well. I’ve lost a few things to deer and bunnies, but that’s to be expected.    At this point in the season I’m letting things go for the most part. I’ve pulled out some burnweed as it was dark brown and unsightly among the still-blooming fall season plantings, and I’ll continue a few small chores that keep the beds usable by all the foragers. I still have a large pile of mulch, so I’ll top off some as needed. 

The front walkway is very overgrown at the moment. I’m just not worrying about it for now!

This was one lovely surprise yesterday. This is Spiranthes lacera, I think, but for sure one of the native orchids that love boggy, wetland conditions. It came up on its own - was not planted! - and is being called a miracle by the native plant group I’m in. It is truly lovely, and fits perfectly with the pitcher plants and equisetum I DID plant in this container.

I’m very excited to have it, and hope it remains this happy for years to come. 

Biggest gardening fail is that I never got to the Japanese stiltweed in Poplar Folly and oh it is a mess of this invasive weed. At this point doing anything other than hand pulling and putting in plastic garbage bags will only distribute the seeds more. I may work on this but at the moment I’m just letting it be. There are also a number of large branches that have come down in the Folly and we need to figure out how to use them. On a good note, the inkberry hollies back there are doing really well and are loaded with black berries for the wildlife!

Thinking of hollies and berries, the winterberries I planted in the bird haven bed in the front corner are hanging in there but I think I somehow got all males except for just one female, as I’m only seeing berries on one of the plants. I may have to add a few more females to the mix. Otherwise things are growing. The arrowwood viburnum is doing well, the southern shield ferns are too, and the witch hazel, and several other shrubs also growing. That area will be a nice native thicket if these things keep maturing, with tall trees, a nice understory, and the ground plantings that will hopefully fill in as time passes. 

The upper bed by the house is a huge burst of yellow and purple right now, though you can’t see the asters in this photo.

Not a highly cultivated area, but the firework goldenrod and swamp sunflowers create a sense of movement and abandon that I love. 

That’s about it for today. May we all remain safe through the storm.