summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Friday, April 26, 2013

Certainties of Spring

There is always one never-fail certainty of spring…it is always super busy!  I never keep up with my chores, inside or outside.


Also, the natural changes are fast. If I do not take a look-see daily, I just might miss a nuance of the season… a breaking bud, an obscure flower in bloom, the grass turning  to green, a plant surfacing through the soil to begin the cycle of growth over again…I look forward to being able to observe every single change.


 Also, the birds are happier as attested by their songs which get prominently more frequent and more joyous.


Also, our cow babies and sheep babies are born.  Each one so different in coloring and character and each ach one so cute!


Also, the sun’s position changes in the sky.


Well, there are many more certainties of spring than I first realized.  Spring is busy, but it is also an awakening, a birth, a growth, a change…spring keeps my life very interesting!


Yesterday, I observed a ‘new’ bird at my feeder…gorgeous

Rose-breasted  Grosbeak (male)

And, shortly thereafter, I (much by accident) came upon a pileated woodpecker. Within mere feet,  I was so excited, I could not steady  my camera - ugh…but, I was up the most up close and personal  with a magnificent  bird that I would have never thought possible…ever!

Pileated Woodpecker (female)

I am grateful to have ‘good’ in my life.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Timing Is Everything

I just returned from closing up the chickens for the night.


I’m excited.


The yard is at dusk…the sun had set and the crescent moon was fairly high overhead.  Darkness had not fully arrived.


My left peripheral vision noticed something in the sky.  I looked.


Flying towards me was a couple of herons.  I just adore herons.


Their flight was smooth, quiet, and deliberate.  Their heads high, long legs straight back - characteristic heron.  I hoped that they were a breeding couple.


I watched as they crossed my path and continued into the woods.  They entered the woodland below tree top level; thus, providing a gauge to their flight height above my own.


I could see them meander through the trees without missing a beat.  And then, they were gone.


Timing is everything.


The moment…magnificent.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring in Full Swing

Yesterday, when I went out for my garden walk, I noticed a big change from the day before.  Every shrub, tree, perennial had broken bud…overnight.  The entire garden had come alive!


And, as always, we are behind in every chore - the norm for us.


I still needed to trim my grapevines.  This task should have been done much earlier in the season, or even in last season.  So, that is where my day begun.  Trimming the grapevines is a tricky affair. That is one reason why I put that particular chore off, and off, and off.  Grapes are produced on the previous year’s growth.  Cut back those particular vines too much and no grapes, or a scant amount, are produced. Yet, I needed to make sure to cut back sufficiently to aid the growth of large, juicy grapes.  Now, I have to wait to see the results of my vineyard skills.


With rain in the forecast, Glenn and I decided we had better get the potatoes planted in the garden.  Potatoes could be planted as early as mid-March, but if you recall, we were still having snowstorms at that time this year.  Perhaps, I could blame Mother Nature for our tardiness with this undertaking. Glenn had purchased 5 pounds of seed potatoes from the local coop at least two weeks ago.  I had sliced the larger potatoes. They sat on my kitchen counter so that the cut end would harden before planting.  This usually takes one to two days. The potatoes did not get planted.  The potatoes sat on my kitchen counter for over one week.  They were starting to dry up.  They needed to be planted.  Finally, we got them into the dirt. Also, we had a five-gallon bucket full of sprouting potatoes; leftovers from last year’s harvest that we did not get to eat.  We planted those as well. Potatoes planted…check!


Next, we inspect the sheep and cattle.  We check on the progress of the lambing and calving constantly.  The newborn lambs are so cute.  To date, we have two sets of triplets. Sheep only have two teats, so sharing is mandatory with triplets.  The ewes and lambs were comfortably resting in the shade of a cedar grove.  Occasionally, a diminutive ‘baa’ was sounded.  The lambs’ color ranges from pure white to pure black with every kind of mottle between.  One mama ewe and her three babies were off from the rest of the flock.  Glenn decided to move the foursome back to the group.  The easiest way was for Glenn to carry the triplets and the mama ewe would follow; of course, loudly voicing her concern.  Once moved and lambs back on the ground, serenity returned. 


The day was so pleasant and warm, the sheep and lambs so tranquil…I wanted to just lie back on the grass and spend the day relaxing with them.   Unfortunately, that would not happen today.


The cows were in the adjacent field with newborn calves or awaiting calves.  One cow was about to give birth as her water sac was already hanging out her back end.  Usually, the calf would arrive within the hour.  I wanted to stay and observe, but other duties called. 

a heifer calf arrived after we had left

Next...moving logging equipment from  storm clean-up in Rockbridge County to a new harvest site in Augusta County. 

The day flew by as chore by chore was completed.


The forecast was not wrong.  We received quite a rainstorm during the night.  An early morning look out the window put a smile on my face.  The sheep and lambs were scattered around the pasture, grazing contently.  All was well.


Now, the plants and WEEDS are really going to take off.  And, I will continue to be behind the entire growing season just trying to keep the weeds to a minimum.


The weeds always win.

P.S.  Today is Gladys Taber's (my favorite author) birthday - she was born 114 years ago.  Though no longer with us, her writings remain appropriate as the day she wrote them.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sure Signs of Spring...REALLY!

Twins - the black/white lamb (look closely under the ewe's belly) is nursing
 while the white lamb is resting.

Sunshine on a stem!

These hyacinths are so aromatic - one stem will fill my entire  kitchen with sweetness.

I took all these photos on a five minute walk in my yard this morning. I was reminded that I love color...fragrance comes in at a close second!

I can finally believe that spring has arrived.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Newest Edition


Arriving last night, just before midnight…eight South Poll cross bred heifers purchased from Bent Tree Farm in Alabama - home of the originator of the South Poll breed, Teddy Gentry of ALABAMA (the band) fame.

First breakfast at Mountain Glen Farm.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…they are not red like the pure South Polls, but when bred to our red South Poll bull, the offspring should be red.  The important aspect is the genetics.  


OK girls, smile pretty for the camera...
Note 1:  As you can see, one heifer continued to eat and did not want to line up for a photo.
Note 2:  Look at the is starting to turn GREEN! Spring???

These heifers are at least half South Poll and have been breed to a pure South Poll bull, so the offspring will be three quarters or more South Poll.  Then, when these 3/4+ South Poll offspring our breed to a pure South Poll bull, their calves will be considered pure South Poll and we have more pure South Poll replacements for our herd.  Simple.

It did not take long for the girls to settle in and get comfortable.

Becky did most of the driving, to and back from Alabama, even with our vintage livestock trailer fully loaded with the eight heifers weighing over seven thousand pounds in total.  Glenn proudly declares that she can back the trailer better (easier and more accurately) than he does. And, Glenn has been backing up trailers for more years than Becky is old.   KUDOS BECKY! 
Now, you know why Becky is Glenn’s ‘good’ farm help.  

And, I just found out that Becky ear tags her calves without help.  That takes guts…not only does she have to catch the calf,  but she has to wrestle the calf to the ground; and, while operating the ear tag device, she has to keep a watchful eye on the nearby  mama cow who is now pacing nervously because her baby is pinned to the ground.  Mama could easily charge if she felt her calf was really threatened. 

You would never see me doing that task!

NEWBORN UPDATE:  CALF # 4 ARRIVED AT MGF TODAY - perfect weather, warm and dry.    Becky is at calf #3 at the '55' farm.  Lamb one is still alone, but as frisky as ever! I saw him go airborne and jump on top of a ewe (not his mother) this morning just for fun.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Another Sign of Spring

Eastern Bluebird sitting on an ice-covered fence post. Ahhh...springtime in Virginia!

Yesterday's another sign of spring...NOT!
But, today yields a different story.  The weather was shirt-sleeved warm and perfect for gardening. 
So, I went out and finished clipping the old raspberry canes. 
One big job done...only a zillion to go!