Friday, October 24, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
In the past, we have used our vintage stock trailer for moving more than just our livestock.
Remember the tires, hay, and lawn mower?
Today, we added another item to that growing list of how we use our stock trailer.
|Glenn moved some cattle yesterday, so there is a fresh layer|
of manure on the floor of the trailer.
We took our stash of aluminum cans to the recycling center…all 240 pounds. That was quite a load. And, we included 7 old batteries and a 3’ section of smashed downspout in the trip. We thought that downspout was aluminum. It wasn’t. It was another metal. We earned a whopping 17 cents for that piece of downspout. Still, better than taking up space in the county landfill.
|half of our stash of cans|
The cans had been piling up in our basement for years. We repurposed old paper feed sacks to store the cans. I smashed almost every can by hand…actually, by foot. I developed quite a technique. First, I step down in the middle of the can, crush the left side down and then crush the right side down resulting in a very flat can. And, a flat can takes up a lot less space. Just imagine if I did not smash our cans - yikes!
Now, we need that can-infested corner of the basement for another upcoming project. The cans finally had to go.
We also recycle plastic, glass, miscellaneous paper, tin cans, and newspaper. All that stuff really accumulates fast. But, I truly believe in reusing/recycling wherever possible. Again, remember, I am a pack rat. If I can reuse/recycle something, I will. And, I will save it until I can use it.
And, I am so glad that the trailer can be multi-functional, too. Of course, a person has to be able to overlook that perpetual manure odor.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
|the color of sunshine is so warm|
|Canada geese try to get into formation|
|And, Autumn color continues to cover the ground, but only for a short time...|
these bright, bold reds and golds soon turn brown and crunchy...I like crunchy!
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
Thursday, October 16, 2014
After the rain stopped yesterday, I took a much anticipated walk. As I neared the pond, I slowed and watched carefully as has become my habit. If around, I wanted to be able to see the heron before he sees me. The water was calm and the surrounding area quiet. I did not see any birds, let alone that heron. Then, suddenly, the magnificent heron flew up and over the water, slowly gaining height and was soon out of sight. He outsmarted me again. Of course, having three dogs at my side does not help me with my stealthy steps or my planned surprise.
This morning, I covered my same tracks as from the previous late afternoon. Again, I saw no birds in sight. Sammy ran ahead, plopped into the pond, and that heron quietly rose and flew steadily away.
Where exactly does that Great Blue Heron hide?
I continued down to the pond house and sat on the deck for a few moments. The pond being desolate of wildlife, I would continue my circuit. As I was leaving the pond house, I looked across the pasture and noticed a large, grey mass in a cedar tree. On closer inspection, I discovered my heron. He remained perched in that tree as he preened his feathers.
I watched that heron through the lens of my camera for at least 30 minutes. This was, undoubtedly, a lucky day for me. Then, I decided to move on. As I walked off the dam and made my turn to head down the fence line toward the small leafless walnut tree, where I often see a kingfisher, I caught sight of another heron alight. This heron looked to be a miniature form of the usual pond visiting heron. In moments, that mini-heron flew to the shore of the pond and as quickly left to fly to hide in a well-leaved tree situated next to the tree where the first heron sat.
I did not get a good enough look to fully identify this minute heron, but I did see it long enough to ID it as a heron.
WOW! Now I have a couple of herons to keep watch for enjoyment and Glenn has a couple of herons to curse at for eating his pond fish. I am not particularly fond of the fish.
Then, Glenn mentioned that without his fish I would not be seeing any herons.
Hmmm...a kind of Catch-22.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
We received about 3.2” of rain during the past few days. I accomplished a lot of reading and piecing.
The rain stopped during the day. I just had to get back outside because…
the sun came out to reveal another glorious, glowing autumn day.
|check out all the color variations|
|one of our fall calves - black South Poll|
|rotting persimmons - the bees love them!|
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The rain continues to fall.
The wind continues to blow.
And, the colorful autumn leaves continue to abandon their summer strong hold plummeting to the ground. Here the color changes even more quickly, soon, to a muddled brown.
The clouds and mist clear momentarily to reveal a dramatic color transformation to the forested mountains rising up beyond our farm. My hope is that this weather pattern will clear before the peak of the season arrives.
We still regret not receiving this abundant during the height of the growing season. Yet, we are thankful that it is has not come during the cold of January with this moisture resulting in feet of snow.
There is always a positive side, to most every aspect of life, to appreciate.
Monday, October 13, 2014
For the past several weeks, I have been witnessing the annual Monarch Migration one butterfly at a time.
On my daily walks, I would observe a beautiful Monarch flying past me. Five minutes later, another solitary Monarch would fly over. Another five minutes, another. This occurrence would be repeated regularly day after day.
These butterflies would not land. They would just continue fluttering by until…
One day, one of these magnificent Lepidoptera finally lighted upon a sporadic thistle plant and I was lucky enough to be able to observe this colorful creature for several minutes…almost an eternity as watching butterflies goes.
This particular butterfly did not seem to be in as much a hurry as all the others proceeding.
I was thankful that this Monarch had a bit of sense to ‘smell the roses’, Canadian thistle in this case.
And, I had that same sense, too!
Sunday, October 12, 2014
We had more rain today. Actually, a heavy overcast day with a mist now and again, a ‘chill to the bone’ kind of day.
I had uncovered a solitary rose still growing in my garden the other day. I had not seen a rose all growing season due to the thickness of the weeds. Weeds seem to flourish with or without rain. But, over the past few weeks, I had been attacking the weeds and I was seeing significant progress.
|weeds gone, bricks straightened|
|pre-weeding stage (see photo above), about one week ago|
When I came across that perky pink rose, I immediately drew my nose to the petals. I was not disappointed. That small rose was filled with scent, sweet and euphoric.
I went back to that rose this afternoon. I needed a jolt of nature’s perfume.
The rose stem was broken, the flower was hanging over and the petals were storm worn. I finished snapping the stem from the plant. I took a whiff. The magnificent scent was still present, so I brought that wee rose into the house and placed it into a small vase where I might get a few more days of fragrance.
|even the zinnias were a failure this summer...this was my best, and almost, only zinnia of the growing season|
I surveyed my sugar maple before returning inside. This tree never fails to rattle my color senses. The leaves always blaze red in the fall. Regrettably, the rain continues to cause turmoil as the brilliant leaves fall to the ground prematurely.
Autumn always passes much too quickly for me even with the best of weather. I cannot lose one moment of the season.
So, I spend much of my time just looking. Looking.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
There has been rain, off and on, for the entire day. In fact, the entire week is forecast with rain.
We are finally getting the moisture that we craved, and had been denied, all summer. So far, the total rainfall from one day is more than we had captured during the entire summer season. But, we take rain when we get it. Fortunately, there is still time for the late season growth of the pastures. And, the cows and sheep are happy grazers.
A rainy day, like today, is perfect for reading a good book while curled up under a cozy quilt. And, that is just what I did. My current read is by Rosamunde Pilcher. She is a new author for me, of The Shell Seekers fame. I am enjoying each work of fiction because each one, to date, has been set in England or Scotland and I am always reminiscing about my fabulous trip to that area taken in 2006 with daughter Becky.
Yesterday, it was rainy, too, but…
We took a full-day road trip up to Pennsylvania. Glenn needed to pick up parts for equipment repair and was in the vicinity, within an hour’s drive, to pick-up tire chains for his skidder. Shipping charges for the chains justified the trip with change to spare. Those chains added 1000 pounds to our empty pick-up bed. I was sitting in the truck when the crate of chains was lowered, by forklift, onto the bed. I felt the front end rise, and thinking…was I safe?
Between the two business stops, we enjoyed the wooded hills of the Pennsylvania countryside boasting beautiful fall colors. The roadways were busy, though. I do not think there was one stretch of road where we had been the only vehicle. Most of the time, the roads were busy with traffic. I am not use to a lot of vehicles and I felt more like being in an urban setting that a country one. And, that is one reason why I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
We did pass an apple stand, Ridgetop Orchards. Our recent purchase of local Virginia apples had been consumed, so we decided to replenish our supply with Pennsylvania ones. We have not had a great tasting ‘golden’ in three years now, so it was time to make a change. This time Glenn chose Jonagolds over Golden Delicious. I chose Honey Crisp, again.
|Jonagolds - Glenn's pick - he likes the taste and the smaller size|
I had tried Honey Crisp for the first time earlier this season. I had never even heard of that variety of apple prior to this season’s first apple purchase. I found my new favorite. Move over Pink Lady. Of course, Pink Lady is a very late variety and will be ready in about one month. I might just change my mind again when the Ladies are harvested, but for now, I am a convert to the Honey Crisp.
The Honey Crisps are just like their name suggests; sweet, crisp and crunchy. The apples in this half bushel are huge, about 12 ounces each, and a meal unto themselves. Yummy…with juice dripping down the sides of my mouth…napkins are required.
Honey Crips…where have you been all my life?
P.S. Ridgetop Orchards offered several heirloom varieties that I have never seen available elsewhere: Banana, September and Smokehouse. We were able to sample each. The Smokehouse came in second, for my taste buds, after the Honey Crisp. There was also a Candy Crisp variety that would be mature in about 2 weeks…darn, too late for me. Anything with ‘candy’ in it has to be tasty.
Near Fishertown, PA…I highly recommend a stop at Ridgetop Orchards.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
The bird of the day is the American Goldfinch.
This morning, as I passed by the livestock stock tank near the pond, I saw several goldfinches sitting on the edge of the concrete tank. I thought they were drinking the water.
They were actually pulling out the green seaweed-like plant growing around the edge of the tank. And, they looked to be eating it, too.
I can only assume that said plant was tasty as more goldfinches joined the feast.
I think I will pass on this food item.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Today, Becky hosted a farm tour for a couple of home-schoolers and their Moms. This was her first farm tour.
|Becky with her first ever farm tour group.|
The kids were so cute, well-behaved and seemed interested in the day-to-day operations of the farm. They were especially fond of the animals.
The tour started at our farm. While waiting for others to arrive (they never did), Nathan played fetch with Buddy. Mia spent her time trying to train Sammy to sit. Mia was quite successful. I was impressed with her technique.
Becky took the group down to inspect the cattle and sheep, and then then went to the pond to feed the fish.
Then, they followed Becky to her farm to see the pig operation. There they were also able to feed the pigs apples, windfall, Becky had collected earlier from my apple trees. Like most of my garden, apple production was a disappointment this season.
My loss, the pigs gain.
Farm tours…I think Becky is up to try another.