Monday, June 03, 2024

More Moments In Shetland

 I haven’t posted much about the trip yet, but it was magnificent. I loved Shetland more than I expected to, and I really did expect to love it, so in the end I loved it a lot!

I think the way I would characterize it is that Shetland is both rugged and tender. You can see these things in these two photographs:

There’s something about the tender lying alongside the rugged that is so powerful. We were there to see landscape and wildlife, so we didn’t go into the towns like Lerwick, but we drove and took ferries all over the country and I never saw a fast food restaurant or anything resembling a mall. I loved that about Shetland. 

I’m still feeling the peacefulness of being there and the feel of its wind and its sunshine and just a little of its rain. 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

November Hill farm journal, 212

 Getting back into my routine this week with daily gardening, mostly hand weeding the native beds again, starting with the upper terraced bed, which was overrun for some reason. I’ve been pulling weeds for three days and also cutting the tall goldenrod back by 2/3 so the summer blooming plants aren’t dwarfed. I’m pulling out some of the tall goldenrod too, but allowing some to stay for autumn forage. It’s a great plant but as I have noted many times, I made a big mistake putting it in any bed! 

Husband is catching up with some mowing in the mornings before it gets too hot and I started the daily groom and insect proofing of the equine herd yesterday, as we are definitely now fully in that time of year. All appreciate having their legs and bellies sprayed with the nontoxic but noxious spray I’ve been using the past few years. It works the best of anything I’ve ever tried and although they “improved” the smell, it is still not something you want to get in your eyes or nose. We do they spraying in the barnyard and I aim carefully. 

Redford donkey still doesn’t allow spray but was happy to have me apply Coat Defense powder to his entire body. It smells good and he enjoys the rub in part. Everyone looks good and were noticeably happier after the spa treatment. 

I think Cody is looking particularly handsome these days. 

Unfortunately I have not yet gotten his saddle on site and haven’t started riding. I was so excited for that and still am. It will happen. 

The volunteer elderberries are quite stunning right now:

All doing wonderful jobs controlling soil erosion, stormwater run-off, and providing amazing food and shelter for birds and insects. If I get my ducks in a row, maybe I will make some elderberry syrup or cordial or jam when the berries are ready!

I spotted the first Monarchs yesterday and am happy the milkweek is abundant and ready to provide food for the very hungry caterpillars. 

The large blueberry bush in the back yard is loaded and will be fun to pick from when the berries ripen. We also have many figs on the fig tree and will see if they ripen earlier this year as they did last year. 

The potager is looking very lush - I didn’t get photos yet but we’re harvesting lettuce, spinach, kale and have cucumbers and tomatoes on the way. Husband planted everything this year and has done a great job keeping it watered on these hot days. 

We’re all happy to see the barn swallows nesting in the barn and are all keeping a look out for snakes. I noticed a very long snakeskin outside the barn yesterday - we welcome the black racers and other black snake species but also always offer some help to the birds when we can. 

We have had bunny nests too and I think they’re all safely out at this point. 

While we were away, husband encountered (and relocated) a large copperhead in Poplar Folly and also an Eastern box turtle who was allowed to remain. I haven’t made any progress on my work back there but I’ll get around to it eventually. There is much to do and I’ll continue rotating around the farm doing some daily work without going into overdrive. I have committed to that and I’m sticking to it. 

I’m happy to have writing weekend coming up in June and also a reading of my work with Door=Jar which I’ll share this week. It’s online and anyone reading here is most welcome to join us there. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

November Hill farm journal, 211

 We got home from Shetland yesterday and it was completely amazing, as is arriving back on November Hill. The very best thing about traveling to new places is how much it opens you up, and also how when you return to the routine of home, so many of those routine tasks seem elevated and special. Right now I am sitting on the sofa with Clem leaning into my left hip and Bear stretched out on the floor in front of me and these things are remarkable in this moment. 

So first, a glimpse of Shetland:

It is both rugged and tender at the same time. There are almost no trees. I loved it. 

And now, a return to November Hill and my gardens and family. We have so many trees! The whole world here on November Here is green and lush and blooming. There is no sea and no wind. 

We are up to six honeybee hives! The barn swallows are back!

I am so happy to have had the ability to travel to Shetland, and I plan to go again. I am grateful for home and all the living beings here. I will always come back! That is the beauty of travel in a nutshell for me. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

A Favorite Moment In Shetland

 When I found the Shetland pony who looked like Keil Bay!

If I could bring this little guy home, I would! 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Horse abusers Austin Wayne Simpson and Kylie Lenore Parker update

 They have reportedly moved to Robeson County, NC while still awaiting trial for the horrible abuse of horses, including the very young foal Faith, who was removed from them and had to be put down after months of treatment efforts to save her. 

This couple have also reportedly been banned from the AQHA as members and breeders, however I have read they currently have more foals on the ground. 

Do not buy horses from them, do not support them in any way. Hopefully they are found guilty and will serve the consequences for their actions. 

This is what Kylie recently posted on FB:

No, Kylie, your abuse of horses and foals is not our issue. The abuse of defenseless animals, children, and any other living creature does in fact define a person. If you have learned and grown from an experience as abuser, you take responsibility and you apologize. You do not project that others have a  problem and you do not minimize what you have done. 

The past is relevant. The past and this current denial of responsibility and continued arrogance (“when we are ready to share details we will do so but on our terms”) are both evidence that you have neither learned nor grown. 

It’s appalling that you are still allowed to own animals, period. If justice is served you will not be.