summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A First...Even For Me

Today, I am viewing bees feeding at the bird feeders. The birds seem agitated at the invasion of what has been THEIR territory.  When the birds land on the feeder, they quickly leave upon noticing all the bees.  They steer clear realizing the imminent danger. The ‘birds and the bees’ are not collaborators; and, would do well to be thought of independent of the other.


Grant you…it is 62°, warm enough for bees to be buzzing, but I have never seen bees near, at, or on the feed at my bird feeders.  As the air temperature increased as the morning moved into afternoon, so did the number of bees.


After their initial attempt at feeding, the birds decided to stay away all day.  The bees had complete control over the bird feeders. 


I was buzzed several times as I walked more than 25 feet away.  I did not need to feel the sting, the unpleasant and enduring sensation, which I have experienced many times in my past.  I, as well, sought refuge away from the feeders.

How many bees do you see?
What the heck is going on?  I am stumped.  I do not consider dry, cracked corn or grey-striped sunflower seeds as tempting ambrosia to a bee.  Evidently, this late January day, it is since flowers are absent.


Any other explanations out there?




Special Birthday Wishes go out to my dear and long-time friend, Chris…CELEBRATE !

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Garden...Game On

Intellicast states that it is 40°, but feels like 34.  I beg to differ with either of the two figures.  I just came inside with frozen hands after being out a mere 30 minutes.  And, yes…I was wearing gloves.


Today, I was able to get Glenn to help me in my garden.  He used the weed eater, with blade attachment, to trim my perennials.  The weed eating saves me days, maybe even weeks, of labor. 


The majority of the garden trimming is usually a spring chore, but I always fall behind if I wait that long.  I have to decide if I prefer winter interest in the garden beds to getting a jump start on spring clean-up of the beds.  This year I am trying to stay ahead and I am hoping my plants do not suffer for my eagerness.  I will find out come March and April.


The negative side of Glenn helping out is that he does not take as much care as I desire.  A weed eater in Glenn’s hands gives him license to mow anything down in sight. Each plant needs specific care.  Some plants need to be trimmed at a height taller than others; but, according to Glenn, the plants are all trimmed at the same level…ground level.  And, to make the process more exacting, some of the daffodils have already broken through the soil.  DON"T CUT THE DAFFODILS!!!!


I walk as close as possible, staying a safe distance from flying debris, to Glenn to yell, above the engine clamor, specific directions.  Sometimes he says he hears me, others times I think he just ignores me.


But, I put up with the iffiness (I love to make up words) of his technique to save my time and my extreme muscle soreness; hoping that I will be able to finely trim each plant adequately  when the growing begins.


I reiterate… being ahead in the garden game is huge! However, truth be told, the garden always wins!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fighter Jet

Late this afternoon, I noticed a plane flying, what I thought, was straight up into the sky.


I called Glenn to the window and he said it was flying at an angle; sharp angle, but angle none the less. 


A few minutes later, my curiosity got the best of me and I grabbed my camera hoping to get a better look via my telephoto lens.


While I was trying to focus in on that plane, this fighter jet past through my field of vision. 


Neat…I was finally able to get a shot of a fighter jet that has eluded me for years ; they are faster than my reaction.


Note: This was the third fighter jet that passed directly over our farm today.  I tend to feel safer knowing those guys are in my sky, even if they are only on a training flight.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cold Weather Barometer

I rarely check the current or daily weather conditions.  What I do not know, I do not ponder.  Unfortunately, today, I looked on my favorite weather site, Intellicast.  The air temperature was 8 ° and the site indicated that it felt like 8°; no wind chill…great!

Three hours later, I noticed that my birdfeeders were empty of feed, but not of birds.  Actually, I had a crowd: mourning doves, sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers and juncos; all looking for breakfast.

So, I bundled up in my winter garb and took the few seconds to fill the feeders. 

Even without the knowledge of that Internet weather report, I knew it was very cold because as I walked on the cement-like ground passing by my rhododendron shrub, I saw that the thick, leathery leaves had curled; what I call ‘sucked-up’.  This curling is normal for this plant during cold temperatures; the colder the air, the more curled the leaves become.  I have seen the leaves curled to the thickness of a lead pencil.  Thank goodness, today was not THAT cold.

Getting back into the house, I decided to check the Intellicast temperature for my location again; a balmy 16°.

Still, my rhodie’s leaves remained curled all day.

My favorite temperature gauge? You guessed it…my rhododendron shrub. And, I get my best view from the office window...inside in the warmth.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back To Baking

I got the itch to bake some bread today. 

Yesterday, I saw a recipe pop up while I was looking for an au gratin potatoes recipe on the internet The recipe was for Oat Bread. Hmmm, that sounded tasty.

I printed the recipe.  As I read over the ingredients and directions, my mind made my personal adjustments.  For the most part, I know enough about bread making to know what I like and what works.

Late in the afternoon, I finally had the time to make bread.  I mixed the ‘new’ ingredients, kneaded, proofed the dough, and baked the loaves.  I used my secrets during every step of the process.

The bread came out of the oven ‘picture perfect’.   Of course, the most important measure is taste; so, no prematurely patting myself on the back.


Glenn arrived home just as the bread was cool enough to slice, butter, and eat.


And, eat we did. 


I am not putting myself on that pedestal of baking excellence, but,…we ate one entire loaf, the largest of the two, in about 30 minutes.


Now, that is the proof (pun, indeed) to a good loaf of bread!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The 'Unmentionable' Farm Product

A few days ago, before Thursday’s snow, when the weather was unseasonably warm - similar to an Indian Summer in the fall, only it is mid- January (What would this warm weather be called in January?); my friend Ann needed one of our farm products…not eggs, not beef, not lamb but MANURE!

Ann was in the midst of working in her raised beds in preparation for the upcoming spring planting.  Manure was essential.  And, we had a huge pile of the well-seasoned stuff just waiting to be spread on the fields at ‘55’.  I had offered Ann the manure when she said she needed to amend her soil.  There is nothing better than natural, organic, easy to obtain and pretty much free cow manure.



Ann arrived with her husband and her Dad, who is visiting, to get a trunkful of the dark, aged manure.  Jack, the family’s Golden Retriever, got the honor of presiding over the pile on the return trip home.

"Boy, do I smell something good!"
I saw Ann the next day and, as I anticipated, she had spread the entire truckload over her beds.  Ann is not one to put off a job to tomorrow when it can be done now.

Me…I am still in the process of putting away my Christmas decorations.  Spreading manure in my garden…check back with me in April, or even May.

Ann and her Dad talking to Becky.

Ann with her husband, Steve...better know as "Rockbridge Gothic".

Friday, January 18, 2013

More Snow


beauty...morning melange.

Early morning sun lighting the peaks of St. Mary's Wilderness

Color still exists in my snow-covered garden.

Note:  I took 150 photos this morning - the above is only a sampling.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January Wonderland

A January winter wonderland arrived today; beginning late afternoon and continuing through the early evening.

And, the results...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Winter Yard

This is my winter yard; no flowers, yet, full of color and texture...and, very interesting.

Still,  a delight to my eyes!

No matter the season, a walk around the garden is always comforting, always satisfying to my senses.

A definite treat for my spirit and soul.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Split Rail Fence Rx

My split rail fence, the shortest of two, constructed at the corner of the woods and pasture, at a curve in the farm road near the house, made with recycled and rotting rails, was damaged, yet again. Not by the usual storm, but by Glenn returning to further clean-up old storm damage.


I thought this corner was cleaned-up for good last time Glenn spent some time there; evidently, I was wrong.

Today, Glenn and Becky actually removed previous storm damage (lengths of downed trees, broken branches) which was taken off the road and piled along the road sides.  Additional broken and downed tree limbs were removed from the pasture.   Plus, Glenn decided to cut down the triple-stemmed yellow-poplar that was still standing, but dead as a result of a direct lightning strike during the last major storm (see blog 7-31-11 A Most Welcomed Visitor).  I did not know that tree was coming down; at least, not any time soon.

Glenn’s rational was to cut the dead tree down before it had a chance to rot further and fall over.  We use that farm road daily.  It was time to eliminate the danger.   I understand.  The logs were still solid enough for use as pulpwood, not lumber.  Nevertheless, some use is better than some waste.



Unfortunately, as good as Glenn is in felling a tree in his chosen location; he did not account for a bounce.  That tree bounced into my fence breaking the rails in one section of the fence.

This specific split rail fence has previously been repaired two times after two different storms.  All the useable rails had been used; recycled for the last time. There was no opportunity for another fix, another repair.


The only feasible option is to shorten the fence by one section; removing the damaged section which sits smack dab in the middle of the length of fence with the end section of rails.


So, my fence will be shortened from seven sections to six.  In reality, I guess this same fence can be shortened, if more damage occurs, until no sections remain. 

With Glenn around, that could happen quicker than anticipated.

Notes:  Blog site is still not allowing me to post photos - my apologies.  I hope the fix is found soon!

I was finally able to post photos...the temporary method only took two days to work - ugh!

In The Darkness

Last evening, I decided to take a short walk.  It was dusk; and, bad timing on my part since dusk quickly turns to night at this time of year.


I took the farm road through the woods thinking it would be easier walking; unfortunately, it was also darker under the towering trees.  The dogs were my only companions.  Sometimes, the cats follow along on walks, but even they must have felt it was too dark to wander in the wild wood.


Within moments, I was unable to see my feet.  Even on bright, sunny days, I watch every spot of ground where I place my feet.  I have this fear of falling; so, I try to be careful with every step.  Not so tonight…I would be taking chances. 


Nevertheless, I continued as the obscure calmness of the night lured me into complete solitude.  Buddy ran ahead and was out of sight and sound in a second.  Jake, even slower than I, kept pace just behind me.  I could make out just a glimpse of the white fur about his neck.  He crept silently.


There was no moonlight filtering through the bare tree branches.  I stood, surrounded in total darkness.  I listened.  There was not one sound, no leaves crunching from an animal in motion; no passing deer, no curious bear.  The forest was silent. What little fear I felt vanished.


I was safe.  I was revitalized.  I was at peace.


I will have to revisit this worthwhile sojourn again…soon! 


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Every Sunset Is Different

Here is a look at tonight's sunset....

Well, not quite...I cannot seem to get any photos to upload; that is one BIG problem. And, now I have been trying for two days...any suggestions?  After a bit of searching, I discovered that I am not the only one having this problem - thank goodness; makes the problem not my problem. I found a fix even before I found the suggestion for a temporary fix..I am getting good at this computer stuff. I can dream, can't I?
So, now, here you go...last night's sunset!
Still impressive...don't you agree?