summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Buddy Antics - We Love Our Buddy!

Buddy, our comedic Border Collie, certainly keeps us entertained.

I love to watch him, especially from the secrecy of the inside of the house. He goes about his business with conviction unknowing that he is being me.

Buddy playing 'footsie' or rather 'pawsie' with Cricket

He travels about the yard here and there; always looking back to make sure that Jake is following. Jake is slow and showing signs of his age; but, he always follows.  Buddy and Jake are pals.

Buddy crouches down at the board fence to sneak a peek at the cattle standing only feet away; his face indicating his most current question, "Should I chase those cows?"

Occasionally, Buddy still does BAD things ie. playing with the door mat and digging holes in the garden, but this behavior is decreasing as Buddy matures - thank goodness!

This is your door mat?


If we are outside, Buddy is rarely without some kind of a stick in his mouth - always at the ready to play a favorite game of FETCH. If Buddy is not chasing (birds), he is fetching. Buddy has been known to retrieve as many as four sticks at one time...meaning, he returns with four sticks. Now, that is a mouthful. Buddy does not want to miss any chances of playing.

The two-stick carry.
Oops...did I say stick? I meant any item that Buddy can put in his mouth becomes the object of his fetching...a log, a 2 X 4, a tennis ball. And, that tennis ball...a Yellow Delicious apple has become a substitute at times. After all, a Yellow Delicious apple looks like a tennis ball.

A 2 X 4....well, it works!

Tennis, anyone?   What do you mean it is an apple????

Buddy keeps sticks strategically placed around the yard. He is never far from grabbing a stick at a seconds notice to be at the ready. He then gives us a look with his compelling eyes - just about forcing us to play with him.

And, we always do.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Whittling Away at the Lengthy To Do List

Over the weekend, Glenn went to move his logging equipment to a new site. But before he moved the loader, he decided that it was time to clear old storm damage off my old, split rail fence.

Old storm damage refers to the many branches, limbs and trees that fell over on my decorative fence during; not one, but during two different storms.
May 7, 2011 storm damage (part)

The first storm occurred in May.  Glenn was out-of-town, so I had to muster what ability I had...I mounted the tractor and pushed as much of the debris off the road to the edge  creating a path wide enough to allow the passage of a vehicle. When Glenn got back home, there were so many other chores/jobs to do that said storm damage remained along the side of our dirt road.

Then, we had another storm the end of July which resulted in more branches falling on the already branch-covered fence. A large tree, located just feet from the fence, took a direct lightning strike and 'blew up' - sensational, but very messy.

July 30, 2011 storm damage

The pile of debris piled higher. My fence was barely to be seen.

Finally, yesterday, Glenn got the itch to clear the now dried branches and limbs off the fence - the job made easier with use of his loader.

Even though there is still a little bit of clean-up left, the majority of the debris has been lifted off and placed along; yes, the side of the road.  The clean-up revealed about 8 broken rails.  Glenn’s solution is to remove the broken rails and replace the damaged section of the fence with the rails now comprising the end sections.  The overall length of the fence will be shortened, but the fence can now be seen and enjoyed. 

Quick, I need to cross that item off the To Do List before we have another storm….

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Horse in My Yard

This morning as I was wandering about the house, I glanced out the nearest window (my normal routine) and saw Ember in the yard (not my normal view).

My first reflex was to start screaming for help from the horse people in residence.  I was running around looking for Glenn. I ran to wake Becky as she spent the night, comfy and cozy in the guest room until I rudely woke her up, that is.

The bigger question, was Ember the only delinquent? After all, we have three rams, three bull calves, and a llama in the same paddock.

I ran (not walked) from window to window, from the safety of the inside of my home, to assess the situation. Calves in, sheep in, llama…where is the llama? Oh, there she is - safe and sound. Gate...wide open. Of course...Ember sees an open gate, she feels obligated to go through it - not being rebellious, just curious.

Glenn sauntered over to the window, calmly watched Ember, and said, 'Humph.' He was in no hurry to run outside and get her back into the paddock as she eyed several of my dormant perennial plants.

And (if you recall from a recent blog),  the only good horse, to me, is one that is on the opposite side of the fence. Ember was on my side of the fence this morning.  Fortunately, I was still inside the house.

Glenn put on his jacket (the temperature dropped from the 70's of yesterday to below freezing this morning - that was a shocking change), slowly shuffled in Ember's direction, and led her back into the paddock; closing and chaining the gate behind her. His comment on his return was, ‘I didn't leave that gate open.'

Ember back home in her paddock...where she belongs!

Glenn is famous for leaving gates open. I should be accustomed to such...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another Gorgeous Day ?

As I finally made my way outside this morning, I felt like I had just stepped out into the tropics. The sun was bright; the temperature was warm, more like hot (70 at 10:30 AM); and the overall feeling was balmy, almost beachy.  I actually thought I heard a seagull nearby.  (We have had seagulls in our area before, so that thought is not outrageous.)

I discovered another clump of sunny daffodils in bloom, and I even saw some weeds in flower - the blue mimicked the color of the sky. 

Another gorgeous day, except…

Eastern Hemlock leaning to the right in the wind.

Two hours later the sky had greyed, the wind blew fiercely (wind gusts predicted to 45 mph), rain started to fall.  The weather forecast had added tornado watches to our immediate area.  The temperature was due to drop into the 30’s.

A gorgeous day?  Perhaps,…not.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

First Flower

Our recent snow has almost completely melted.

The music from a Carolina Wren caught my attention early this morning.  Then, a bright sun rose above the mountains.

I watched a myriad of birds (Blue Jays, Cardinals, Sparrows, Red-bellied Sapsucker, Mourning Doves, Chickadees) empty the feeder - just the excuse I needed to get outside and enjoy, what turned out to be, a spring-like morning.

Snow-challenged, but looking good....
After a few quick chores, I walked about the garden assessing the status.  I came upon the first flower (garden-variety, that is) in bloom - a bright yellow daffodil nodding its bell-shaped bloom - an anomaly for the season; but, certainly a welcomed surprise. Next, moving toward the flowering quince where I noticed a pinkish tinge.  A very few blossoms, on the peaked side due to the recent snow/cold, have opened.   In fact, a good portion of the buds have turned brown as a result of the undesirable weather, short in duration, but effective nonetheless.  I am hoping that the remaining flower buds will eventually open to the usual varying hues of passion pink - a definite show-off among the hints of spring green.

Then, I remembered reading about snowdrops in the Susan Branch blog today.  I have a small clump of snowdrops.  Sure enough, they are in bloom - normal for the season.  They are such a delicate, pretty and detailed little flower.  As I crouched down to take a photo, placing my eyeglasses on a small tree stump next to me, I got in as close as my camera would focus.  Getting back into a squatting position, I noticed that I was joined by Onnie - sitting on my glasses to boot.  Onnie is a lightweight, thank goodness - all fluff and no fat.


Notice my glasses under Onnie's derriere
I could not pass by Ember without giving her a few rubs to her head. (For those of you who do not know me well - petting Ember from the opposite of a fence is about as close to horses as I get.) SweetLips watched but was not waiting in line for attention - even though she is getting more comfortable with us, she still maintains a safe, get-away distance.

Good Morning - nope….GREAT morning, yep!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pasture Improvement

Glenn took the opportunity of yesterday's snow day to over seed the pastures with clover.

The light snow cover was valuable in two ways. First, as Glenn broadcast the clover seed, the snow provided an obvious record of the pasture he already covered as tracks from his 4-wheeler offered the beneficial evidence of territory completed.  Second, as the snow melts, the seed sinks into the soft earth, where it stays waiting for ideal germination conditions.  Proper timing for the seeds to germinate and grow will be provided by Mother Nature.

Many times, farmers are afforded with easy, less expensive alternatives to many tasks, when they choose to work with nature.

Another one of those win-win situations….

Monday, February 20, 2012

Snow Day

The plummeting snow, starting  Sunday afternoon and continuing through the late evening hours, accumulated to approximately one half foot on our farm.

 Waking up to our first real winter wonderland of the season, I quickly took a look out from one window, then moved onto the next window for a different view.  Each and every vignette was beautiful.

The winter sun created plenty of deep, dark shadows among the blinding, white snow pack adding to the overall depth of each scene.

The birds left millions of tiny foot prints under the feeder, which now stood near empty after a feeding frenzy during the dusk of the prior day.

Cattle and sheep crisscrossed the pastures, leaving a network of tracks, as the flerd searched for easy grazing.

Jake moved from spot to spot in the soft snow making, not snow angels, but snow puppies.

A snow-capped solar, garden light looked like a gnome complete with pointed hat - pure white, of course.

Dog, cat, rabbit, and mice tracks traversed the yard.  Glenn said that as he walked to the barn, he followed  rabbit tracks and mice tracks.  Then , the tracks abruptly stopped at a place where he saw wing sketches  on the surface of the soft , snow cover.  I am guessing that some kind of bird had a tasty meal.  Dogs and cats are all accountable.

The pond flaunted its dreamy blue color,  surrounded by the clean, white snow.

 Every view was spectacular. 

But, I had to look quickly …the outside temperature was warming fast and the views were melting away into memories.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A New Bird on the Farm (55)

Early this morning, Glenn and I drove over to '55'. I wanted to get a look at the progress of the fence building project and I wanted to take a short, early morning walk. We were experiencing very light flurries, not the kind that worries a person of least, not yet.  I did make sure to wear my heavy down jacket, stocking cap, and knitted mittens.  I was prepared to stay warm and comfortable. 

Bluebirds darted here and there near the main creek. The flashes of bright blue certainly drew our attention amid the grey of the day.  I made a mental note to get some bluebird boxes constructed and installed.

As we neared the barn, I saw a small hawk (actually falcon) fly from wooden fence post to wooden fence post. I instantly noted the deep blue coloring. I immediately identified the bird from studying the Birds of Virginia Field Guide (Stan Tekiela)…

We were watching an American Kestrel - a definite WOW moment since this is the first Kestrel I have ever positively observed. I was prepared with camera in hand, but the distance was still too great for an up close photo. The nearer I inched toward this bird, the further away he would fly. (I have got to buy myself a telephoto lens soon - I am missing too many fabulous nature photos.) But, I took the best shot possible, hoping that viewing the bird in ‘playback zoom’ I would get some of the detail I desired.  I did.  Enough detail to verify that I was watching a male American Kestrel - very distinct color of blue wings and rusty back and tail.

I was not expecting such a wonderful find when I headed out the door. 

Wonders never cease…

Note:  It is afternoon and the snow flurries have increased in intensity and snow is sticking on the ground, and on branches…true winter weather has arrived in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

P.S.  Surprise to ME!  I just realized that I had a second Follower (I had only one Follower for so long, I never much looked at that side of the blog) and I also  had a comment waiting moderation, both from 2-10-12.

I apologize for my tardiness - something new (on this blog) is still challenging my abilities. I have much to learn.

Thank you both, and I hope you continue to enjoy my blog!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Maples In Flower

The maple trees are in flower - right on schedule (based on previous years).  This one is my silver maple - the one that resides at the corner of the house.  The blossoms look like a spring celebration to me.

And, tomorrow the weather forecast is calling for a snowstorm.

Mother Nature just loves to keep us all guessing...makes for an interesting life!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Old Silo

I like old farm structures - nothing says 'country' better!

So, when we recently purchased the property, named '55', the silo was a plus.

I am not a silo aficionado, but I do like to observe silos in my county as well as when I travel (which is rare) across the various parts of the country.  Each one is unique.

Silos differ in construction materials (tile, concrete, metal), color (white, blue, brown), and height (varying from short to tall).

Our silo has some little windows.

Each silo stands as an icon to the past and present lifestyle of dairy farming.

These are our neighbor's silos as seen from our side of the fence.  As you can count, they are big into silos.  After all; our  neighbor, Mountain View Dairy, is a real, working dairy farm producing not only milk, but they also make cheese - yummy!

Our silo is empty except for a few feet of old silage (feed) at the base and a few resident pigeons roosting at the top. 

Becky, feeling a bit rambunctious, climbed the rungs attached to the exterior of the silo. She continued to the top - 40 feet. (Glenn gave Becky a tape measure to drag up with her as he was curious to its actual height.)

A female runner jogging by, on the county road just feet from the silo, stopped to introduce herself as a neighbor and commented, ‘that frightens me’ as she noticed Becky ascend.  I responded with, ‘that frightens me, too’ as I was trying not to watch - the overprotective mother in me (a learned trait from my own Mother) kicked in with the notion that every activity is dangerous.  The three dogs from across the road ran over, followed closely and to be retrieved by their owners.  A truck stopped to allow the dogs to cross - a real bucolic ‘block party’.

Country kids will always be country kids, even when they are in their 20’s.