Thursday, August 10, 2023

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 87: Pluchea camphorata (or odorata?)

 This summer we’ve had a new native plant volunteer, Pluchea camphorata, commonly known as camphor weed. It’s quite beautiful and is growing in the screenings of the riding arena, so clearly thrives in less than ideal soil. 

There’s a lot of differing info online about this plant and its identification, as well as whether or not it’s a host plant for any pollinators. It’s possible this is Pluchea odorata, but there’s also some info that says odorata is a hybrid, so I’m not going to dig any deeper than this. 

I’ll be interested to see if it returns next spring. For now, I’m enjoying its bloom time. 

Sunday, August 06, 2023

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 85 and 86: early and late figwort

 I’ve missed a number of things I planted or that have volunteered here on November Hill, but am trying to start where I am today and then backtrack as I can. 

Our local extension agent and the queen of native plants in our area recently posted about her “new native plant crush” this year, which is late figwort. She took glorious photos of this plant currently in bloom (YOU CAN SEE THEM HERE) and I immediately went online to all our local native plant nurseries trying to find a few to put in. 

One of our nurseries had early figwort listed online and when my husband stopped by to get it for me, found they also had late figwort, so I ended up with two of each species. 

This morning I put them in along the front walkway which has turned into quite a showplace for some very distinctive plantings, including Gray’s sedge, wild columbine, pitcher plants and horsetail, spotted horsemint, Henry Eilers sweet coneflower, butterfly and milkweed, and a number of other things. The spotted horsemint and Henry Eilers coneflowers are quite intricately beautiful as will be these figwort, so it’s a perfect place to walk alongside them for close inspection and enjoyment of their flowers. 

It will be a year before these figwort show off fully, but I’m living in the moment and planting what I want to plant even as we continue searching for a new farm in Orange County. 

Here are a few photos of the figwort section and a number of other blooming things in the garden right now. 

Henry Eilers sweet coneflower:

Maypop, which I allowed to climb onto the American hollies this year:

My most beloved spotted horsemint:

Not on the walkway but this volunteered at the gate to the riding arena, known as stinkweed AND sweetweed because apparently it smells differently to different people:

Pitcher plants and horsetail:

The new figwort area:

A closer shot of the late figwort:

From the front porch you can really see the maypops starting to… pop:

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

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.