Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's About Time For A Farm Update!

Things have been very busy here around the farm. Renovations are ongoing, but S-L-O-W-L-Y. I haven't taken too many pictures lately, because I've been busy as a bee—first with writing, and then my son's wedding, and lastly with trying to get a garden going and cleaning my tool shed, AKA the milk room on the barn. My helpers have been gathering my gardening tools and supplies and kind of tossing them in there willy-nilly, to the point where I can't move around or find anything. Add to all that continual shuttling of belongings from our old homestead to this one as well as attempts to ease the overcrowding at that other house. The recent purchase of a big camper that was on the  farm property already will help with that. It makes a nifty apartment and guest house and is already occupied. So you can imagine how nutz this spring has been!

And now it is summer, and it feels it too. Yesterday and today were in the upper 90s and sticky. Ugh, I hate this weather! With no AC, the house is miserable by afternoon. The fans are blowing hot air around, and my lovely sunny yard is like a blast furnace. We could use some rain, and cooler temps.

The garden is going in slowly. I am way behind. I want the rocks out of there and there are hundreds if not thousands of them, from pea gravel size to two fist's worth big, with the occasional piece the size of your head. They are gradually filling up a small gully up back that is not a vernal pool and makes mowing treacherous. 

So here are some random pictures of Winter 2011 turning into Spring 2012 at the farm...

"Oh. hi peoples, this is Ariel The Wonder Dog. I am snug and safe from the cold and the coyotes in my polar fleece lined day bed. Winter is tough on small dogs who have to dig mice out of the snow, so at night I sleep with Mom in the big bed. Mom is a terrible cover hog, but don't tell her I said so!"

An amazing late November sunset.

An abandoned bird nest in the Autumn Olive brush down by the block building, all crowned with berries for the holidays.

At the far end of the barn the dreaded strangler of trees; Oriental bittersweet, garlands an old railing.


One of the most amazing sunsets I've ever photographed, it looks like it's from an alien planet. This was early December.

Jumping ahead, a picture of our pal Roger Stegman from sometime before his accident. He'd found a new hat and wanted to show me. His recovery goes on, but it is slow. We miss you Roger, get well soon!

An early April wedding that took place right here on the farm! My #2 son Brian wed his sweetheart, DIL Stacey on the 6th anniversary of their first date. That is our good friend, Rusty Lanzit, who officiated as JP. So happy!

The second of two receptions at the campground where Stacey's family spent many a happy hour. That is her son and my now official grandson Ben on the left. He was celebrating his 8th birthday that day too. Much love!

Blackbird singing in the tree across the road, proclaiming that winter is now over!

Ariel out for a walk with me.

We've got mallards visiting our pond. This drake seems to be quacking up about something. 

We seem to have the bachelor pond. I've seen the females fly in but they don't stay. The drakes do, and since they don't help raise their little ones, they hang out here, dabbling and swimming. Our pond is a mere 4 acres, half of which is marsh. The upper end is deeper. I'm betting their families are across the road in the 10 acre pond paradise.

A redwing blackbird finds something to sing about amongst the cattails.

The nesting season was upon us and everyone was staking out territory. New green growth shot up and buried those old dried out cattails from last year. We have redwings and grackles all around the pond.

Across the road, a redwing male preening for the ladies.

A peachy sunset in April.

Lee acting as Ariel's press agent. "No pictures please! Paparazzi, go home!"

If only life could always be this peaceful and serene...

On a rainy March afternoon, Ariel and I stepped outside, and there was a coyote again in the big field! I ran back for my camera and it watched us, pacing back and forth while Ariel barked nonstop and I snapped pics. The light was bad, the distance too far, so these shots are hazy.

It's a lovely animal with those markings, but also a deadly one for young deer and small pets. They do not seem to fear humans. Ariel is always on the leash or tied near me. We never let her out there alone.

That stance tells me the coyote is guarding something. I'm betting there was a den up back. We have found rabbit and other animal remains around the property. One was killed not more than 50 feet from my door!

One of my holiday gifts to myself was this nifty mesh sunflower seed feeder in the shape of a snowman. The birds seem to love it and rain runs right through it. I've gone through a fortune in seed. That is a Tufted Titmouse in case you were wondering, a very common year round resident bird. Hey—I didn't name it!

I did mention that the sunsets here are magnificent. This was shot in March. I love the barn roof silhouette.

I couldn't dream up color combinations like this! You can see a little rime of snow that hadn't disappeared yet. It was not a very hard winter.

The first daffodils in bloom, up by the house. At their feet the shoots of common orange daylilies that have buried their old foliage and are in full bloom now in June.

My domicile. This year, it feels like home!

A chickadee on a mesh ball feeder, one of three such feeders in the yard. These are very popular and I only paid $4.97 for all three! Ariel loves watching the birds through the windows and she will bark if she thinks there are too many or they have been there too long.

A brilliant patch of moss we spotted on one of our walks. This is between the lower driveway where the truck turnaround was, and the pond.

I love my other house in the woods, and thought I would never leave it or feel content anywhere else. But this little old farm has really captured my heart in a way I can't describe. It is one of the happiest, most cheerful places I've ever lived in. Everyone seems to love coming here, and we host most of the holidays and have plenty impromptu dinners and picnics.

I gave a couple of little clumps of forsythia to my dear departed friend Bev and she planted them here. They are still thriving, and it's just one more way I feel close to her.

A lonely clump of daffodils on the other side of the pond, perhaps replanted by a squirrel.

The marshy lower end of the pond.

The big white lilac bush between the house and barn, where another mesh ball feeder hangs, and now a niger thistle feeder as well. A male cardinal came to call. They are common here and not all that easily spooked.

My winter feeder setup, I had suet out well into April because the nights were still cold. The green feeder holds mixed seed. A male brown headed cowbird is sitting there sunning himself.

My magnolia just before it got hit by a hard freeze. All the blossoms turned brown. It tried to rebloom, though more sparsely, but those also got frosted. It was a disappointing season for it, the weather got too warm too soon, and then turned cold again.

It is easier to say 'my magnolia' this year, because it feels like mine. Bev planted it, but it's in my yard now. I think she'd be OK with that.

Across the road, the bigger of three weeping cherries in bloom before the frost got them.

Like a bird on the wing, my heart soars with the clouds when it's spring...

The second crop of daffodils down on the wall between the house and barn. That area is a weedy mess right now that I'd love to have time to clear out.

Our pond at sunset in May.

A buttercup in the lawn, which was spangled with them in mid-May.

A doe grazing on new grass in the big field. We see deer here often.

Imported and invasive honeysuckle down by the block building. We had  plenty of it at the other house too, but that variety had yellowish tinted blossoms. This one has a soft pale pink I find delightful. Only small amounts of this on the property so far.

A male house finch on the feeder.

One of my more successful attempts to catch a chimney swift on the wing. They move very fast!

The swifts nest in the big chimney to the fireplace and we hear them fluttering and bickering all night. Ariel has finally gotten used to the 'fireplace birds' and will only bark now if they are extra noisy or they come too far down the chimney.

Not a clear shot of them because they move too fast, but these are swifts circling above the chimney in evening.

They had closed for the day when I took this pic, but where we cleared out a snag of vines around a telephone pole, some kind of little white flowers popped up. I have yet to identify them.

Wild white campion is all over the place here.

Wild cherry blossoms in the hedgerow. I often see butterflies in them.

There is just something to look at in every season!

Most enlightened doggie, Ms. Ariel says, "Doggone it, we've run out of pictures to share for now. Do come back again!"


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