spring greens at Mountain Glen Farm

spring greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hip, Hip, Heron


After two days of below freezing temperatures, I was happy to see a bit of warm-up.  After all…it is spring.

Look at this…doesn’t that fence look pretty - newly stained.  I did not do it, but I am sure glad this project has been started again.

 
 
 
I began work on this task a few years ago.  I still have my black-stained work clothes waiting for my return.  Last year, I had good intentions of trying to finish another section of the fence. But, I just could not muster up enough incentive to return to this task.  Now, we have a helper who has begun to tackle the job I left behind. And, I am so grateful. 


Quite frankly, I would rather be doing other things…like walking with the dogs and be on watch for the return of my heron. 

 
Today was that day - hip, hip, hooray!

 





As I neared the pond, I kept a watchful eye, like I always do, on and around the pond. Then, all of a sudden, the heron gracefully rose from the dried cattail clump and flew low above the water across the length of the pond to the dam.  There he landed and watched me.  And, he watched the dogs.



 

I was thrilled to have him back and overjoyed to watch the heron’s measured flight.  I slowly proceeded closer.  As I crossed that invisible line of safety between the heron and myself, the heron took flight in my direction and continued on past on out of site.  No matter, as I know I will see the heron frequently throughout the spring, summer and fall.
 

 























My attention was now drawn to a pair of Canada geese who remained floating on the pond. 

Last week, I watched these two lay flat, as if hiding, on top of the water.  They looked like they were dead.  I had never witnessed this action before even though Glenn informed me that it is characteristic of their survival tools.

 
The dogs ran around to the far edge of the pond to where the geese peacefully glided causing them to take a short flight to the middle of the pond, to a more safe location.  Their honking was loud and obnoxious. They, in very direct terms, let us all know that they do not like being chased.
 
 
 

Glenn is not a fan of geese as they are really messy birds. Personally, I enjoy watching them along with the many other pond happenings.

 

Are little goslings in our future?  I would expect so if these two stay around any longer.

 

And, if Glenn has any say, these geese will soon be looking for more friendly environs in which to hatch their family.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Busy, Busy...Spring


The extremely busy season has begun.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Spring has arrived!

 







The daffodils have begun to shine as their yellow bonnets bob in the breeze. The bluebirds are out in droves. Bird chatter is again common. The pastures are transitioning from tawny to green.  And, I relish each and every sign of the season!
 

 



I was busy throughout the winter mainly inside trying to go review, organize and downsize my stash of life’s treasures, project supplies, and you name it…I probably have it.  I made a good dent.  But, I still have more to do.

 

Now, the weather has improved and I want to be outside as much as possible.  And, that is a good thing.  The gardens need a whole lot of attention.

 

the island behind the tree is a mass of overgrown shrubs
and undesirable vines
with help, I decided to start anew - cut back the forsythia and dogwood
shrubs down to the ground, reducing the size of the flowering quince
and cutting back the red maple - I am hoping the shrubs will resprout...
The perennial beds that I worked on last fall are not too bad.  All they need is a quick once over and they are in shape.  Those that I did not have time to get to are quite a mess.  The weeds are already problematic -thick and established - ugh!

 

So, I go out and work one section of garden at a time having fun and feeling much satisfaction when that particular area is neat and clean. The next day I move to another section.

 

It is the perfect time to get my gardens in order.  Not only is the weather comfortable when working, but most of the perennials have not started to grow yet.  I have plenty of room to walk around pulling and digging the unwanted vegetation out without trampling the desirable plants.  I am also cutting back all the dried and dead stems from the plants that will soon begin their new flourish.

 

Of course, this ideal time will not last very long… a few days, perhaps.  So, I have to be determined and really stick with the garden chores for the present.  The more I can accomplish now, the easier the gardening task will be for the entire growing season.

 

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Becky's Puppies




Recently, I mentioned that Becky is caretaker of seven puppies orphaned by the passing of our Great Pyrenees guard dog, Avalanche, just two days after giving birth.



Those puppies are healthy and growing thanks to Becky’s patience and attention.



Unfortunately, one female pup was being physically irritated as the other puppies used her to satisfy their nursing instincts. 




Becky and I tried to create a protective armor out of an old sock…actually a sock that I was wearing at the time.  My offering was not much of a sacrifice, though, since the sock was ready for the rag bag.



The ‘fix’ lasted exactly 15 seconds…so much for our bright idea.





 
 
 
 
 
Our second option was to move that little female into her own box - a kind of solitary confinement, but one for her benefit.  She did not mind.  And, within a week, her soreness healed and she rejoined her brothers and sister. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Then, Becky asked me to do the feeding one afternoon.  Becky was going to be out-of-town and would not be able to do the mid-day feeding.  Reluctantly, I agreed.
 
Since I had never fed the puppies before, Becky left me detailed directions, pre-mixed formula, washed bottles and nipples and, of course, seven hungry puppies.
 
I gathered all the necessary paraphernalia and headed for the puppy tub.  One puppy was outside the tub while the others were cozy and cuddled under the heat lamp.  All were sleeping.  I did not want to wake them, but one must have heard my arrival and sounded the alarm for the others to wake and be squeaky. Seven little puppies can be quite loud and vocal especially when their tummies are empty.  I filled the small bottles, placed a puppy on my lap and offered the nipple. Once that puppy had downed two bottles, I again filled the bottles and grabbed puppy number 2.  I made a mental note of each puppy that I had fed so that I would not feed one puppy twice and completely overlook another hungry puppy. 
 
I managed to get all seven fed with a bit of formula pooling over the prep area where my pouring was on the messy side, on my pants (no poop or pee, though) and all over the puppies' faces. 
 
Fortunately, all seven pups got fed and all seven survived until Becky returned.
 
I sure am glad that I am not the one feeding these puppies multiple times per day over several weeks.  Not only is that task time-consuming, but the formula is very expensive. 
 
These puppies are going to be very highly-invested mutts.
 
When do these little critters start feeding themselves? 
 
Soon, I hope! Then,...
 
Puppy anyone?
 
 
 
Note:  The puppies have grown and have moved out of their cardboard box and into a large rubber tub that is normally used as a sheep water tank.
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring Time Lamb Time


Spring time is lamb time and today was certainly a spring-like day as well as a lambing day.

 




The day was sunny and warm with a slight breeze - perfect for any outdoor activity.

 

The farm’s primary outdoor activity was the robust start of the 2015 lambing season.

 

We had a few lambs during our early/abbreviated or winter lambing season, but today was what I will call our ‘official start’ to the 2015 season.  And, the ewes were busy.

 

Lamb total…11.  And, as always, they are all are soooo cute!

 
twin one





twin two
My favorite twins are from a ewe that had spent a lot of her late pregnancy on her back with all four hoofs in the air.  When Glenn saw her for the first time, he was sure she was dead and decided to attend to her later.  Later proved that she was not dead, she was only stuck on her back unable to roll back over to her legs.  Glenn saved her and after a short acclimation, she  was back to her old self.  Within days, she was on her back again.  And, again, Glenn saved her.  This ewe was an odd ‘goose’ as we had never experienced this situation in any prior lambing season. This afternoon, this ewe had two lovely babies... the first a mottled grey and the second a mottled light brown.  I love color!
'No, that is not ewe...that is guard puppy, Snowball.'


All lambs are doing well, eating a lot, and already running around the pasture with their mamas in hot pursuit.

 

I wonder how many new babies tomorrow will bring?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring?


Yesterday, as I went out onto the deck to shake out a dust cloth (yes, I do try to clean occasionally), I was greeted with a light balmy breeze.  Could it be???  Could it really be spring? It sure felt like spring to me.

 

By the late afternoon, I was antsy.  I had to go for a short walk to enjoy this change in the weather.  The almost 2’ of snow accumulation from last week was about all melted from the past few days of continuous rain. It was drizzling again.  But, I just had to take a few minutes to stretch my winter-weary legs despite the mud, the mud, and the even more mud.

 

I put on a sweatshirt to keep dry.  I tucked my camera inside the sweatshirt to protect it from the rain.  As I stepped out the back door of my house, the dogs immediately sensed what was happening.  They were going for a walk and boy, were they excited…overly so, I might add. We stopped to retrieve Snowball from his ‘lamb watch’ duty station.   Glenn had sold the majority of the lambs earlier in the week, keeping back only three for Becky’s Barnyard lamb (as in meat) sales.  So, Snowball was eager for the extra exercise and added interest since his guard dog responsibilities have greatly decreased at the moment.

 

Advancing from the yard proper into the pasture, the rain stopped. Yippee!  A short walk nothing…I was taking my longer, down-to-the pond walk.  The dogs concurred with my decision as they rapidly took off down the hill ahead of me.

 

The mud was thick.  The pastures were brown.  The trees were bare. The birds were vocal in early spring song. The dogs were carefree. The pond was overflowing.  I was content in my old routine.

 







 Life is good.
 
 
Today was even more spring-like than yesterday. I took a walk around the yard to assess.
 
My big surprise was that my small bunch of snowdrops, a definite spring harbinger,was in full bloom as was my house-side silver maple tree.  I love flowers no matter how small.  These two are always so welcome because they are a sure sign that winter is almost, if not totally, over - hurray! 
 
 
Another not-so-great surprise was the condition of the yard.  The dogs had quite the winter party dragging sticks, many sticks, of all sizes and just dropping them helter-skelter over the lawn and perennial beds.  Then, there are all the rugs, rags, bones and trash they found amusing, then deposited.  And, add to the dog debris the gravel Glenn plowed from the road onto the grass - ugh!
 
a sampling of the dogs' stick collection in a small fraction of the yard - the entire yard looks very similar to this section
 
I have quite a clean-up to do before grass mowing time.
 
Fortunately , life is still good!
 
 


Canada geese couple enjoying our pond

Puppy Yoga




 
 
 
Becky took these photos in sequence as she was watching one of her puppies sleep...so cute!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Piles and Piles


 
Two days ago, we had yet another all-day March snowstorm resulting in about 8 inches of snow accumulation.  Fortunately, the day before we had an all-day rain which melted a good portion of the 18” of snow , already on the ground, from an earlier March snowstorm.

  
Sammy does not mind the snow - he looks comfortable taking a nap on top of the cold stuff.
 
My usual view of winter...from inside the house.
 


The upside is that we are starting the growing season with adequate moisture. 

 

As I write this blog, the current temperature is 1.  Folks…it is March in the south…the daffodils are usually in bloom at this time!  And, to make the situation a bit worse,  I left my winter chore coat over at my daughter’s house  a few days ago when I went to see the orphan puppies  (Avalanche died, which was unexpected, two days after giving birth) that she is caring for like a trooper.  I could not do it.  Did you know that you have to massage the puppies rear ends, for several weeks, in order to stimulate them to pee and poop?  That, in itself, takes great patience and that is certainly not in my nature.

 

So, I have been spending much of the past few months , hunkered inside, rummaging through my stash that I have been amassing over my lifetime, that is 60 years, to date.  Remember…I am a packrat and as such I have/had quite an enormous stash.

 

Yes, I indicated had.  I am quite proud of myself for actually reducing my cache of boxes and boxes of unnecessary ‘valuable stuff’.  I am nearing the end of the mountain of boxes warehoused in what was formally my bedroom soon to become my ‘woman cave’.  But, I had to organize and downsize in order to make room for what is to become a workable space for ALL my interests.

 

It has not been easy.  I had to completely change my way of thinking from one of saving for that proverbial rainy day to saving only what is necessary for my future.  Part of my life, literally, is now in ‘to burn’ bags or in mixed paper recycle boxes.

 

I even  amazed myself with all the paperwork I actually saved over the years…piles and piles of old newspapers that I wanted to review (I am still working on those piles daily, but I am pleased that I have perused and recycled over half - I am down to a 5’ tall stack),  my schoolwork, my kids schoolwork, files and files of notes from the many quilt shows and quilt exhibits that I coordinated some 20 years ago, thousands of magazines from  over ten different subscriptions, old mail that got boxed up from time to time in order to clear my desk, etc…whew! 

 

Now, being realistic, I could not throw away or recycle everything, but I made quite a dent.  After all, I am still a packrat at heart.

 

I am closing in on the end.  I have about 10 more boxes to go through before I can make the next move to set-up my work station and to get back to creating and having my kind of fun.

 

Well… there is still the task of organizing and downsizing all my supplies in my sewing room…maybe that will be a good chore for next year. 

 

As for the snow in my schedule, it was perfectly timed.