early morning summer sunrise at Mountain Glen Farm

early morning summer sunrise at Mountain Glen Farm

Sunday, January 15, 2017


hawk on early morning watch
Today was not quite as warm as the previous couple of days, yet it was decent enough to get back outside to continue my gardening, my cleaning of my perennial beds.



I was in a sweatshirt, but the heavy overcast day was a bit raw.  Still doable I told myself.  I knew I would be much more productive working outside than I would be inside the house where tons of housework faced me.  Rain is in the near forecast, so I determined my outside time was precious.



I worked about two hours cutting dead stems and cutting back over-ambitious plants (the ones that not only grow in their allotted space but also extend into other plants territory).  This is the perfect time to reduce plant sizes because I am not as aware of how much live plant I am cutting off which I hate to do. Come spring, the plants will leaf out as if nothing had been removed. A win- win situation for my psyche.



two hours worth of plant waste - Onnie and Missy looking for a handout since I was in the area




I also spent a little time in the Snowball training department.  Snowball has a mind of his own and I am trying to convince him that my commands take precedence over his mind.  I did get him to come to me twice when called, so I feel I made some progress.  Buddy listens to me without question.  One obedient dog out of two ain’t bad.  But, I will continue to work on getting that up to two.



I have to admit that my garden has never looked this good in a January.  I hope I will be able to do a once over all the gardens before the spring weeds take over. 



Now, that would be an accomplishment. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Friday the 13th


I like to celebrate Friday the 13th…a kind of secondary holiday if you wish.



Today, my day began with Snowball barking.  On investigation, looking out the window, I discovered that Snowball was barking at quite a group of wild turkeys shuffling just below the house.  I immediately grabbed my camera to get a photo, but the turkeys took to flight on hearing my arrival outside and flew into the adjacent woods.  Turkeys are not great flyers, but they are birds.  Their departure was slow and awkward, but successful.  That is, except for one turkey.  This turkey did not make the short flight over the low fence and wandered along the fence line all day. All day. The group of turkeys was long gone and this one straggler was quite the determined pacer.  The disparaging sentiment of ‘You Turkey’ came to mind.  This bird definitely was that turkey.








The turkey episode would have been enough of a celebration for the day.



Yet, the special mood continued.  I spent about three hours outside working on cleaning up my garden beds.  The mild day, especially welcome for near mid-January, was delightful. The sweatshirt weather turned to shirt-sleeved weather then quickly became rolled- up sleeves weather the longer I worked.  My dogs remained my companions and the hours passed like minutes.  The joy of this particular winter day was a treasure. 

Did I say I was working?  Actually, I was enjoying a marvelous winter, spring-like day! 



Friday, January 13, 2017 was indeed a fabulous holiday!   An unquestionable celebration.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A New Muffin - YUMM!


Since it has been cold and snowy and wet (rain and melting snow), I decided an ideal indoor activity would be to bake.



I opted to make muffins since I always have success with any muffin recipe I make.  But, this time, I elected to go a bit on the wild side and create a new recipe.



Instead of the usual two cups of white flour, I used one cup of white flour, ½ cup whole wheat flour and ½ cup quick oats.  I had never ever used oatmeal in muffins before and I was confident the combination with the other flours would work. Other ingredients included farm fresh eggs, milk, sour cream and vegetable oil. Sugar, baking powder and salt a must. And, just the right amount of mixing which is key for a perfect texture.




Work indeed.  The muffins baked with golden and well-rounded tops as should be expected.  In addition, the flavor…definitely worth keeping this recipe.



Not only do I experience successful baking with my muffins, which is always a plus, but muffins are a great alternative to sweeter treats like cookies, cake and pie.



Hmmm…what should I put into my next muffin concoction?


Oh...I know, but you will have to come back to find out.  And, only if the new recipe is tasty.  I will not pass along any flavor failures.




Saturday, January 7, 2017

First Sticking Snow of the Season


Early yesterday morning, the sunny skies quickly turned overcast and gloomy. The forecast promised our first snow accumulation of the season.



I looked out at the birdfeeders and saw that they were empty of birds and of feed. With the pending foul weather, I needed to take care of my feathered friends, so I immediately filled the cylinder and the platform feeders with a mix of grey-striped sunflower seed and cracked corn – a mix that is favored by all my bird visitors. Within ten minutes, my feeders were crowded with titmice, sparrows, juncos, blue jays, cardinals, mourning doves, nuthatches and woodpeckers.  I invited quite a party.  These birds must have been waiting and watching from the nearby forest trees.  I gave them what they wanted and, in turn, they gave me quite a delightful show with their presence.

 

As the day progressed, a flurry of snowflakes began falling from the sky, but the snow never mustered more than a dusting. More snow arrived during the night.





Today, I woke to nearly 2 inches of snow.  Snow showers continued throughout the morning adding another 1/2 inch or so of fluffy whiteness.  This snow will be short lived though, as the temperatures are due to rise to the 50’s in a day or so.  A kind of ‘Indian Spring’ of winter akin to the more typical ‘Indian Summer’ of fall.



I will take spring, any spring, over winter any day. 



Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017JAN1

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Can anyone believe that it is already 2017? What happened to 2016?  For that matter, what happened to the 1950's, the sixties, the seventies....well, you get the idea.

My advice to all, and I seem to repeat myself advocating this sentiment quite frequently...ENJOY EVERY MOMENT!

Today, was a splendid day - sunny, mild and the perfect day to garden.  That's right...garden.  Yep, right here in Virginia.  The forecast is set to turn cold in a few days, so I thought I would take advantage of this sweatshirt weather to work on cleaning up my garden beds.  This is an on going process throughout the year, but having the weather to enjoy this task in January is a gift.

The dogs were a bit dubious, but soon took up their 'normal' place...by my side.

As the sun was setting, I took a quick inventory and realized I have a whole lot more cleaning up to do.  If not now, then later.  There is always later. 

I walked over to the white pine (planted by me about 20 years ago) growing at the edge between the lawn and the woods and filled my arms with the largest white pine cones I had ever seen. They were scattered on the ground under the tree.  I do not know what I am going to do with them, but if not in crafts, then as a pure natural decoration - sweet!

At dusk, I drove off to pick Glenn up at the new farm where he had been digging out an old pond.  He had drained the pond earlier in the previous year, as in 2016, with the hopes of it drying out enough to be able to dig out the slime and sediment that had been filling in the pond over the years and to get the bottom back to a deeper depth.  He got his track loader stuck in the slime yesterday and had to call a friend (Becky was not answering his SOS) to help pull him out with the farm tractor.  He was more careful today.  Now, the pond is ready to fill with runoff again.  Glenn will fence the pond off from the cattle.  After all, they have their brand spanking new waterers from which to drink. They do not have to muddy the waters.  The pond will be a wonderful wildlife magnet.  Coyotes are not allowed!

WISHING YOU ALL GOOD HEALTH,
MUCH HAPPINESS AND CONTENTMENT
THROUGHOUT 2017!

not exactly the Bluebird of Happiness, but it is a bird and it is blue....close enough!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS...PEACE ON EARTH!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Not Your Traditional Holiday Lights




Glenn had been planning to burn the broom sage in the pastures at the Jonestown farm ever since we had purchased the property earlier this year.  Broom sage is not a desirable vegetative species food source for our cattle.  Unchecked, broom sage will spread more and more throughout the pastures with each passing year taking up more and more space where the essential and more palatable forages should be growing.



This property, prior to our purchase, had been leased for over a decade.  Renters usually do not give much thought nor much attention to improving the condition of the pastures they are renting.  Thus, the quality of grasses and the overall condition of the pastures decrease over time.  And, the broom sage increases.



Last night was the time to begin the eradication process.  The fire ban had been cancelled, the wind was negligible, the broom sage dry and hands-on-help was available.  Let the light show begin!



The closest neighbor to the burn site is actually a professional fireman.  He was anxious to help, but when zero hour arrived, he was called into work.  His last words to Glenn were, ‘Everything should be alright.’ These are ‘famous’ last words or, at the very least, words often shared prior to iffy situations.



I had no plans to help or even to attend the fireworks.  I get nervous, anxious and over-the-top excited, and not in a good way.  But, I relented to take a peek and to take a few photos for our farm journal.



I arrived at dusk and remained for over an hour as the night sky darkened to black.  The flames were so impressive in the absence of daylight. A fabulous show.









The flames grew and traveled following the contours of the ground, hopefully, leaving charred broom sage behind.  The blackness glowed a bright orange as the fires burned…wonderful Christmas Eve Eve lights. 




After nine p.m., I was still waiting for the fire crew to return home, hoping everything was OK.



Well…



To make a long story shorter, the fire department arrived because a neighbor claimed his barn was on fire…Not!  The firemen were ready to jump the fence with water hoses in hand to put out Glenn’s beneficial fire.  A fire burning on our property.  Glenn promptly yelled that they better not put his fire out.  The firemen left.



Today it is raining.  The ground and vegetation are wet. 



The burning was perfect timing on Glenn’s part.  His plans do not always work out so ideally. This time all the elements of a safe and efficient burn were present and worked to Glenn’s advantage.



Glenn one, Mother Nature….