spring greens at Mountain Glen Farm

spring greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Happiness




Today's special moment...seeing the Bluebird of Happiness!

Be HAPPY, it's Spring!


Friday, March 18, 2016

Fire on the Mountain


 



Well actually, fire in St. Mary’s Wilderness.
 
Yesterday while cleaning up my garden beds I looked up and saw a ton of smoke coming from the mountain area known as St. Mary’s Wilderness.


 
I called Glenn just to let him know.  If he was still working for the U.S. Forest Service, he would be out on that mountain trying to suppress the fire.  He indicated that he was glad he no longer was involved with fire duty.
 
The smoke continued as the fire climbed up the slope.
 




At night, the actual glow of the fire could be seen from our side yard looking in a northerly direction.
 
I looked out the window several times during the evening hours. 
 
Yep…still burning!
 






Today, the fire is not only still burning, but it is increasing in size.

 
This morning I looked out and saw what I thought was fog rising above the location of the South River.  Glenn corrected my thought process and told me that was smoke from the fire.

 
Glenn opines that the USFS probably decided to let the fire takes it course.  The terrain is very rugged and there is not much to damage in the Wilderness. 
 
And, rain and snow (yes, I mentioned the dreaded ‘s’ word just as we have been enjoying amazing weather, sunny and warm - the daffodils are beautiful and the fruit trees fruit buds are quickly expanding - both could suffer major damage resulting in limp blossoms and a much reduced fruit crop come fall) - is forecast for the weekend. Unfortunately, a late snow/freeze for our part of the country is more typical than rare. 
 
No problem.  I have plenty of indoor chores to keep me more than busy.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

First Butterfly Sighting of the Season

For the past few days I have been seeing a single Lepidoptera drift past me.  I know it cannot be the same Lepidoptera each day, but it is the same color and the same size.
 
I have seen it in the yard, down at the pond, and in the pastures between both.
 
Today, this lepidopteran actually landed.  I was able to get a better look and delight in the happiness of the deep orange.
 
Checking my Golden Guide of Butterflies and Moths, I decided that this specimen was an Anglewing butterfly.  I am guessing it is more particularly an Eastern Comma.


 
Whatever this butterfly happens to be named; the reality is that it is a beauty to enjoy.
 
And, I do!

In With The New ?

Our old ‘Green Acres’ tractor (1965) has just been replaced by a newer model.
 
The new tractor (1995) is still old, still sporting patches of rust and some dents and…
 
it can still be called our ‘Green Acres’ tractor.
 
Just keeping it simple…

the bushhog was part of the purchase deal

 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lambing In Full Swing


feeding time











Lambing is well upon us at Mountain Glen as can be confirmed by the almost constant vocals coming from the well-fenced pasture area next to the chicken house.  The ‘baa’ing, which sounds more like ‘ma’ing, rarely stops.  There always seems to be a little one in search of its mother ewe especially when that little one is hungry, and sometimes when that little one gets separated from its mama which happens often when the lamb falls asleep and the ewe keeps wandering as it eats.  The lamb awakens to find it has been temporarily abandoned and cries out to be rescued.  Mama ewe quickly returns to her baby.

our only black lamb of the flock to date
 
Most of the births to date have been twins.  Twins are typical for a ewe.  A few single births have occurred. These usually come from a much older ewe.  So far, we have had no triplets which makes us happy because it is difficult to keep that third lamb alive.  Either the mother ewe rejects that third lamb or we remove that lamb from the ewe and try to keep it alive by bottle-feeding.  A ewe is ill-equipped to feed three lambs as she only has two teats; thus, a triplet’s survival is challenging.

this ewe is ready to explode
 
The other day Glenn announced that a ewe was lambing.  I rushed out to the birthing area.  There is something special about actually observing a birth in progress. 

 
The ewe was definitely laboring.
 


I watched as the first little lamb slid out.  Within minutes, the lamb was up on all fours wobbling around its mama.  A few minutes later, a second lamb followed.   A few more minutes and the twins were looking to have their first meal.  All was well.







 
Glenn would return later to check on their progress.   And, Snowball regularly checks on their safety.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Happy Day


The bird world explosion has begun this week.
 
The early morning chorales, so typical with the arrival of spring, have begun in earnest. The music is varied and so happy.  This happiness is contagious as it easily crosses over to the human side…at least, it brings me much delight.

 
 
 

 
Robins, mockingbirds, blue jays, cardinals and bluebirds fill my yard.  Sparrows, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, and mourning doves continue to gather at my feeder.  Bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, crows and meadowlarks pepper the fields.  Woodpeckers rat-a-tat in the woods.  Heron, Canada geese, Mallard ducks and tree swallows frequent the pond. 
 


It is extremely difficult to capture one meadowlark in a photo...but two - what a treat!


Buddy loves to chase the geese.
Of course, he never catches them as he never goes more than a step into the water.

As added interest, the occasional visits of such birds as groups (I frequently see a solitary flicker, but a group is rare) of flickers pecking the ground, starlings swooping through the air in artistic waves and landing in nearby treetops for a respite, and goldfinches increasing brilliance at the feeding station.
 





Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Making Lemonade - Nana's Irish Pub


Last week I accompanied Glenn on a farm-related errand.  He went to look at a used dump truck which was located approximately two hours north of our farm.
 
The day was sunny and enticed me to leave the farm for this small adventure. 
 
And, adventure it was.  We were met by the seller about 15 minutes out from his property.  The drive made many turns down many back, graveled and dirt roads.  We finally arrived at the subject vehicle where Glenn began his inspection.  The only problem, and biggest problem, was that the truck would not start due to supposedly dead batteries.  It had three. The owner told Glenn over the phone before we even left home that the truck was operational…right.
 
Glenn was not to be put out.  Against my better judgment, he retrieved jumper cables from the back of my car and connected them to the truck.  No luck.  The truck had no life.  And, I worried about my car being used to start a fairly large truck.
 
All the while Glenn was trying to get the truck to show some sign of operability, I was reading.  Since I cannot read with my glasses, I took them off and placed them smack dab in the middle of the driver’s seat where Glenn would see them.  He did not.  As I was immersed in my book, Glenn made a quick move into the car and sat right down on my glasses.  He never felt them.  On his egress from the car, I realized what had happened.  I found my glasses in a twisted heap - ugh!
 
Now, I was unhappy and aggravated.  I called Glenn back over to the car and informed him that it was time to leave. That piece of garbage truck was not going to start. We left as we had arrived recalling all the correct twists and turns of our approach, only in reverse.
 
At this point, Glenn decided to recoup the day, for me, and drive all the way home on Route 11 and not via the Interstate.  I love Route 11, so the trip improved immensely.

 







We reached Route 11 at the town of Middletown where it was lunchtime and we were both hungry.  Glenn left the eatery option up to me.  That is not a decision I usually like to make, but this time it was easy.  We were passing through Middletown when I spotted a place called Nana’s Irish Pub.  I fondly remembered the great meals when Becky and I made our trip to Ireland several years back.  Glenn was not along for that trip.  So, Nana’s Irish Pub it was. 
 
 
 
 
 
 


The Pub was located in an old bank as evidenced by the obvious safe’s door as a focal of the dining area.  The cozy interior was welcoming with exposed brick walls and warm wood.  As we saw prepared food plates pass our table, we knew we had made a good decision. 
 
I talked Glenn into the Traditional Irish Breakfast and it was exactly as I remembered from all the breakfasts I relished in Ireland.  I chose Taigue's Delight. And a delight it proved to be.  Each bite was delicious and oh, so flavorful. We left stuffed and with a small take home box to enjoy the leftovers later.

just like the breakfasts Becky and I enjoyed in Ireland - yummy!

there are three sausages under that delicious onion and apple topping - the Irish Soda Bread is 'to die for'
 





Nana’s Irish Pub certainly turned our disastrous farm errand into a positive.
 
So, if you ever find yourself in Middletown, Virginia, I highly recommend that you patronize Nana’s Irish Pub.  Your taste buds will thank you.






Belle Grove Plantation - just south of Middletown
We did not stop this trip, but we  have visited this grand plantation house several times over the years.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

2016 Lambing Season Starts












Now, the lambs have begun to arrive. 
 
Fluffy and snowy white twins romp with glee alongside their mama ewe.  Mama displays a bit of pride as she shows off her little ones to the rest of the flock. 
 
Many more lambs are due during the next month.
 
The coyote watch is even more important during lambing season as these small, vulnerable creatures are easy pickings for even a single coyote.   Regrettably, coyotes travel/live in packs.  So, not one coyote wants to eat, many coyotes do.
 
Every defenseless ewe or lamb is in danger. Hopefully, our guard dog, Snowball, is ready to protect.
 
GO Snowball GO!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

And the Calving Begins

scratching an itch






Calving season for 2016 has begun.
 
 

Mountain Glen’s first calf was born without incident on February 16th.  As Glenn likes to say, the calf ‘hit the ground running’.  In other words, it was a fabulously successful birth. This first birth is on the early side, but then again, the heifers (young females who have not yet had a calf) were exposed to the bull sooner than the cows because their cycles are still more irregular than proven cows and they sometimes need the extra time, extra cycle to conceive.
 
The second calf was born on February 26th with quite a different scenario. 
 
The young heifer struggled for hours in labor.  Glenn decided it was time to intervene and called his expert help in time of crisis, Becky, over to help.  They walked the heifer up the hill into the barn lot and secured her in the head gate. 
 
What Glenn discovered was that the calf was not in the proper presentation for birth.  A calf is born head first with both front legs facing forward alongside the head.  This calf had one leg facing forward in the proper position and one leg bent backwards.  This calf was never going to proceed through the birth canal.  At this point, Glenn thought that the calf must be dead.  Still, the calf needed to be pulled out of the heifer.  Glenn donned a 24” long plastic glove and went in.  Glenn tied a rope to the backward facing leg and while he pushed the calf back in, Becky pulled on the rope to straighten the leg.  Once the leg was turned forward, the calf easily and instantaneously slid out with the next contraction.
 
Surprising, the calf was still alive and looked to be well considering its somewhat unconventional birth.
 
The heifer and calf were left alone to rest and to bond, but were looked in on from time to time.
 



Happily, mama and baby are just fine so they were able to rejoin their contemporaries within the day.  This heifer is a good mama.  She feeds her baby well and she watches over her baby as a decent mama does.  Yesterday, Snowball was curious and walked a bit too close to this calf.  The mama immediately chased Snowball back to a safe distance away from her baby.  That is what we like to observe from all our mothers…a firm dedication to protecting their young.
 
Two down (or should I say out) and 40 to go.