Friday, May 31, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Flash Flood

As we got closer to home the clouds were getting darker and heavier. By the time we got home it was really coming down. Foolishly we stayed in the car for a few minutes; we could see the boys were in the shed and no sight of the minis, so we thought all were good.

When we got out we ran for the porch. Got soaked anyway. The dogs didn't want to leave the stoop, preferring to wait. When they did venture out the mulch on the back side of the shed was floating. He realized there was water coming through the basement door - the sump pump failed (again)! and the window-well was full of water, like an aquarium, again. ARGH!

The downspout was clogged with Maple helicopter seed pods, and the sump pump had clogged on debris in the staircase. Luckily we have two wet vacs!

Crisis averted. Cleaned up quickly, back to our real life. As we are sitting in the front room he noticed that traffic was going slowly down the hill. Could a bicylist be out on this wet afternoon? Out the side window all you can see is tree trunks, so I looked out the bedroom window, noticing that the roadway was BROWN - uh oh.

I got my muck boots on and walked down through the pasture. Water was up over the bridge, cars were stopped on both side of the creek.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hot and Humid

Serious summer weather showed up this week: Hot and Humid. Brought with it the flies, too. The boys have their masks on. They are sweating in the field.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Stink Bugs

All of a sudden, like literally overnight, we had an invasion of Stink Bugs in the house. Hundreds are dead and dying in the upstairs bathroom and bedrooms. The bathtub drain is clogged with their carcases. Max enjoys eating them. Ugh.

I am capturing the errant bug in the kitchen or living room and depositing them in a jar of soapy water. This kills them quickly. When there are too many to handle we're vacuuming these pests up.

So far this year I have not seen a single native variety of Stink Bug, only these imported non-native pests.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Birds, Hold the Bees

Saw a Scarlet Tanager! In the park! So exciting!!

While in elementary school, our class was informed that the Scarlet Tanager was extinct in the wild, only residing in zoos and picture books. Decades later I saw one in the high tree tops in the woods. That is

one of the benefits of riding; your horse watches were their feet step, leaving you to look, listen and throughly enjoy your surroundings. Now, I'm always watchful for birds that I know are out there.

On the way to work this morning, on the side of the road, saw an Oriole!

In the pasture we now have a pair of Red Winged Black birds. I really enjoy seeing them, too.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Sara, the farrier, came out a little before 8 a.m. to do the boys. When she left we had to try out the new shoes!

We parked at Marriottsville, lots of cars at the trail head, lots of folks out and about. A biker told us there was a bike race at McKeldin, so we didn't go through the park in that area.

We saw lots of folks, bikers, hikers, and riders, on the trail. We headed to the Woodstock Inn. I tried to pick a route that was in the shade, as the day was heating up in the bright sunshine. Also tried to pick a path that crossed the river at broad, shallow locations because the rains had made the water fast and high.

Right before we got to the Woodstock Inn, a large group of riders were coming around the river's bend. It was our friends, with their kids, just having left the restaurant!

We chatted for a while, but went on to the tavern, which they had just left.

The large Magneto - pulling railroad spikes and metal plates, dumping into a box car. Sounded like a cross between Jurasic Park and feeding time at the zoo. Both boys were very alert to this horrific, repetitive noise. When we got close enough they each could see the magnet's head pull up the debris, raise up and drop the load into the box car. We let them watch the routine several times.

I dismounted at the bottom of the hill and walked up, KC was actually hiding behind me. We crossed the tracks, right next to the box car and crane assembly, and he was fine walking next to me. We hitched them up nearest the door and even when the crane moved closer to them, they continued to rest, relaxed.

Because we had parked at Marriottsville and the creeks were high, and some crossings were blocked, we ended up coming from the park onto the roadway, but a bridge away from the trailer. I stayed with the boys while he walked across the bridge and retreived the truck. We unsaddled next to the road, and neither one of them acted like this was somehow out of the ordinary.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Barn Swallows

Finally, the barn swallows have returned! Because of the late start of spring, they missed their usual return date by a couple weeks. I haven't noticed them roosting in the barn, but they are swirling overhead, darting in and out and flying low over the fields.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rain Rain Rain

Going through a rainy stretch, but the temperature is mild. We ended up getting a good soaking, which we needed and everything is bright green. The lawn needs cutting and the Orchard grass is getting long, lush.

I want to use the electric fence to make a small corral for the boys, move it to random areas for them to eat that grass. Skip looks longingly over the fence in that direction. I'm sure he's reminding me that we used to have the corral set up, letting them eat clover after work for an hour or two before the barn arrived and the minis took over and everything changed.

It was a dark and stormy night. The boys spent the night in the barn because they wanted to, didn't have to ask them twice. I closed one end of the barn aisle that was taking in water from the wind gusts.

The rain is getting soaked into the ground, but there are some wet spots here and there.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saturday Adventure

For some time, too long, he's been wanting and planning on purchasing a used tractor to keep at our small farmette in West Virginia. We rarely go there because of the new farm, but still pay the minimum electric and the property taxes. He thinks this is a waste of money, but we really don't have the time to get up there because of the mowing requirements and lack of amenities.

Extremely isolated, have electric but no plumbing, there is a pump in the spring head, but no WiFi or cell coverage. We no longer have a trailer on the property so we can't really spend the night without the living quarters trailer unless we dry camp. And that has been the dilemma all along.

Like the riddle with the Fox, the Hen and the bag of corn, we couldn't get the tractor there to mow and do maintenance and also bring the living quarters trailer. Everything was more complicated. He wanted to have another tractor and mower already up there, in the barn.

After searching for months and months, false starts and dashed hopes, he finally found a tractor, a Case International with mower deck and a tiller. In Harrisonburg, Virginia. we started out early, an hour and a half drive, then took nearly two (2) hours to get the implements and tractor on the flat bed. O boy.

We immediately went to West Virginia. Along the way, close to our place he saw something fly off the flat bed. At the same time it hit the roadway a truck ran it over. We stopped where we could along this two-lane by-way and he couldn't see anything missing from the trailer. We proceeded on our way, stopping at the South End Grocery.

Some things NEVER change, and this place hasn't in twenty years. We left without any purchase, just like the last time we foolishly stopped there. Apparently you have to already know the employees to get any help, and we don't, so we left, again. We stopped at the Lost River Store, where they were selling pulled pork and the parking lot was busy. It was well worth it.

He mowed until 5:30 p.m. He does like the tractor, it needs some work here and there, but will be a reasonable addition to the farming enterprise.

We took inventory of what still needs done at the place: complete the electrical work from the barn to the shed row stalls; install more boards, which are on hand, complete the fronts of the four corrals and cut some fallen trees down. Another of our apple trees had heaved over, covered in blossoms but laying on top of the picnic table. Level out the sand base in the corrals. Install lighting system, on hand, to the corral rails.

On the telephone pole there are several flood lights. One of the light assemblies is encased in a huge bee hive. Not more than 12 feet off the ground, looks like a paper lamp shade. No bees.

Friday, May 3, 2013

First Friday in May


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~~ Wendell Berry

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day!

After raining for two and half days we finally have a sunny day! Started out wet, but the temps are delightful, hope that the weather stays just like this for the whole weekend.