Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another Day At The Farm...

We decided to take a drive out there last Saturday. I took a few pictures here and there, and then mostly sat and chatted with the owners. Had a great time too. Spring is slow this year, and so is the process of getting a closing date. But then, I'm not noted for my patience...

Not exactly a banner day, weather-wise. It was cold, blustery, and threatening rain, and it did rain buckets late in the evening and overnight. But the grass is greening up and spirits are high around here.  BTW, we did talk about the office, which is that old mobile home near the garage, and it is definitely staying. A deal between friends with mutual benefits to all. 

I am so eager to get out in that garden and work. I told the current tenant (elderly father of the owner) he was welcome to plant potatoes there again this year. I will have at least some veggies, so it will be shared space and produce, as well as a joint effort. Win/win all around

There was a cheerful clump of yellow daffodils in bloom over by the milk room. The floral version of a hello wave.

Ongoing work to clean out the barn was the order of the day.

Looking across the lower part of the side yard, between maple and crabapple branches. Yep, that's the nearest neighbor's house.

Looking toward the road in the side yard. Yeah, there's a balloon in the magnolia. Must have blown there from another yard.

The forsythia bush was in bloom. Mine are here too, where they line the roadway, offering summer privacy and in winter an airy veil between traffic and house. I grew up with a forsythia bush in the front yard, one of the first heralds of spring in the shrub world. Nice to have one everywhere I live, a connection with my childhood. I recall my mother moving the one in our yard from across the driveway to where she could see and tend it. She was always the independent type, and at 77, still loves to putter around the yard.

A closeup of what I am now sure is a magnolia tree/bush. Look at the size and amount of buds! It will be stunning in bloom. I'm hoping this is one of the purple flowered ones, the buds showing petal tips look rather dark to me.
Whatever it is, we will love it.

This is a pretty cabin in the neighborhood. Some nice homes here in what used to be a cornfield on the north side.

Another home seen through the brush. I'm told we have very good neighbors. Always nice to hear that. I have a very good neighborhood here too.

A male robin sang his heart out in the red maple tree between house and barn. The blossoms are just amazing this close!

Just a quick shot of the wild border to the property.

A male English sparrow on the upper left shares a tree with three cowbirds to the lower right. There was another robin in there somewhere too, which I could hear but not pinpoint. So nice to see some familiar birds. My mother has several bird feeders that will be making the trip with her. Feeding the birds year round is another one of her hobbies.

Another shot of that overgrown little garden. I do want to reclaim that for Ma.

One of the fruit trees on the north side along the border. They all need some pruning TLC.

I'm told this little tree is a pear and it bears fruit.

A third fruit tree I spotted in the border hedgerow. I will trim around these and see what I can do to salvage them. I intend to plant more.

Out behind the barn, the cleanup goes on. That's the property's well in the foreground.

A nice shot of the house from below. I've been picking out exterior paint colors, as that's one of our goals this year. I'm leaning heavily toward a deep, rich brown. Found a shade the other day called 'Chocolate Chip'. How perfect is that for me? LOL

The stacked stone wall by the barn. I love the layered colors and textures.

An opportunistic woodchuck made a secure entrance beneath granite slabs behind the barn. That guy (or gal) is going bye-bye because woodchucks are a walking mouth and stomach. I want to find a use for those big slabs anyway.

A robin hunting the lawn area between the driveway and garden. There's just something I find reassuring about having bird life around.

I had to get another shot of those daffodils, they are just so darn pretty! That's a clump of iris to the right, and as I recall they are the old fashioned type with smaller flowers, tall white standards (upright petals) and purple-blue falls (drooping petals). We'll see how good my memory serves me when they actually bloom! I will be bringing some of my own iris with me. I have some small yellow shaded off-white ones here that came from the house I grew up in.

The milk room (AKA my potting shed) was open. Right now I am told it does not have electricity, but it does not look hard to wire, and there is a service panel inside.

On the far end of the barn, they at least stood the door back up, and you can walk inside now. I did. The cleaning is an ongoing process.

The door isn't hung yet but it at least gives you an idea of how it will be positioned. That wall does look kicked out, but it could just be an optical illusion. It doesn't look that bad from either side or from the inside. I can just picture cattle or horses walking down that bermed ramp.

A shot of the edge of the pond taken from the driveway near the end of the barn. There are buds on the brush, a lot of which is Japanese bush honeysuckle and multiflora rose, both very invasive species of plants here in Connecticut. We want to do some clearing of that this year, and I plan on planting more environmentally friendly plants to replace some of what we remove.

A look toward the back of the lot from about halfway across the property. That far line of trees is about where it ends. The trailers and equipment will be trickling out. It is a big task clearing out a property that has been home and business for so many years. The three trailers on the right are parked at the loading dock.

We talk about this fireplace often. The kids gave me a cast iron Dutch oven with a wire bail for my birthday so I can attempt to cook over it. You bet I will! That crane swings out so you can tend the pot.

We had just left for the day when the owner called and said he was on his way over. We turned around and drove back, and there was a deer in the field who did not really budge when I got out of the car. She was very photogenic...

...and totally unconcerned about us, even as I crept closer. The fresh green grass had all her attention.

How good that must seem after such a tough winter.

I didn't want to bother her, but she didn't seem to mind posing for me.

Only when I stepped off the edge of the driveway did she look up. The tail is still down, so she is just being wary.

She is still a good long ways off, near the edge of the pond. If you look closely, you will see she has company.

Yeah, that's another deer to the right. Amazing how easily they can be camouflaged in the brush. I couldn't see the second one until I viewed these pictures!

And then like ghosts, they both melted into the brush and disappeared from sight.

Up by the house, more daffodils were out. That area needs a good cleaning up, and we will have to be very careful around that meter. But those vines must go. There is a clump of asparagus planted in there, for some unfathomable reason—the dead frond stalks are laying down in front of the daffodils.

By the other entrance, which also faces the driveway, is a holly bush and behind it what I believe might be remnants of a white lilac. I know there used to be a big white lilac bush there, before the new clapboards went on. Those clapboards by the way, are all local pine that was cut and milled on a nearby lot. The window you see is in the attic stairwell room. Down on the right between step and daffodils are some day lilies. 

This is the front of the house, and you can see how close it is to the highway! I think I want a fence there, if we are allowed to put one in. It would be safer for mowing, weed-whacking and other outdoor chores. 

More daffodils and day lilies in the grass.

I'm thinking this might be an old door stone. That is right outside the middle room window, and inside, it does not look original. It is the only window with no sill. So I suspect this was once the front entrance to the house, changed now that the country highway is so busy. Those are day lilies peeking up around it.

A really nice shot up the highway. This is a lovely, scenic area of farms and country homes. There is a campground right across the street, and a much larger pond.

I found a clump of lily of the valley by the corner of the house, and I knew who planted that. My dear and sadly missed friend Bev, who originally bought this place back in 1966, told me she loved lily of the valley. There are day lilies to the left, and I am not sure if that other stuff with the yellowish buds is leafy spurge (a pesty, invasive weed) or creeping phlox. Time will tell.

I thought you might also enjoy some closeups...

Mr. Robin in the red maple tree. You can tell the males from the females at this time of year if you look closely and compare. He has a bright red chest and underparts, and his head is black. The female would be a lighter rust color, and her head is more dull brown than black. The males sing and display for courtship reasons and to advertise their virility and ability to find a good nesting site. Females are duller for recognition purposes and so that they can hide easier when laying and sitting eggs. See? You learned something today! LOL

Those irresistible bright yellow daffodils again. How can you look at them and not feel like smiling? This shot would make great desktop wallpaper.


Mr. Robin out hunting...

"Oh deer!"

"I'm afraid I couldn't help pigging out!"

"Do you think the color green makes my butt look too big?"

"Naw—life is too short to worry about things like that!"

As I wrote on the blog this morning, the sky is yet again overcast, and it's cool out. But the birds are all singing, and a woodpecker up back is providing percussion on a dead stub somewhere out in the woods. The breeze is fresh and moist and smells of woodsmoke, wet soil, and burgeoning life in buds and new shoots pushing out of the ground. Here and there is a light haze of yellow green where sap has risen and little leaves are unfurling on the underbrush. Life stirs again in the forest around me at my backwoods home of almost 29 years now, just as it does on the old farm we will soon move to. Spring is a happy time full of the promise of a new beginning. And it's a great reminder for the heavy heart and weary soul that no matter what our sorrows, how cold and dead the world seems, life comes in cycles, and every harsh and dreary season of death and freezes is followed by a new chance to start over.

Go on your way, with peace and joy,

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