Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Paddock Phase Two - Removal of the Sumac continues

Thomas’s leg gets impaled by a very sharp branch - he pulls out the branch and all seems good until we realize that there is still a large piece broken off in the bloody mess that is left in his leg, below the knee. I was totally cool about handling this situation, until I felt the piece of foreign debris… it felt like bone. He tells me it is sore but really doesn’t feel that bad, but I suggested we maybe should visit the doctors to get it removed, they would at least numb the area so they could either cut or dig out the wood, but no, he choose scissors, tweezers and some hydrogen peroxide - he would do it himself. Several yowls later he asked for my help, at this point I am seriously nervous because this damn thing would NOT come out (and it still felt like a large splinter of bone attached to his flesh, because if I pulled on one bit, the leg would follow). I’m now green. Tom is screaming to get it out but also screaming when I go anywhere near his leg. We call the doctor. I am now wondering why I didn’t follow Steve’s advice and move to a nice little house in suburbia where doctors and hospitals are plentiful… Our doctor is full for the day and she suggests the Hospital and A & E anyway. “I’ve got it! Get the Tweezers NOW”! he demanded, as I hung up the phone and grab at the tweezers and then pull like hell, he screams some more and finally this very small piece of wood, maybe four millimeters wide by six long comes out, “it felt much bigger when it was in my leg”, I smiled and agreed with relief that it did look much larger indeed, before we got it out. Why was I made to be so calm and collected with blood & guts of animals and totally useless with two legged forms? if they belong to my own family, then I am just about completely bloody useless to them.

Fawn in the garden

Blue Jay, when I don’t have a camera… red cardinals (again, why no camera)?

The arrival of Marmite… the coolest & most dead looking cat but what a hunter she is. We think she is perfect (this coming from a known cat disliker only proves how incredibly cool she is).

I think I am learning the art of ‘Patience’ - it has eluded me for the past 39 ¾ years but I am realizing that even if I push myself, the machinery and all that goes with it (more so the land I am working) - it is still going to take a great deal of time and will only change when it is ready to. Having said that, the garden here is quite magical, when one flower finishes blooming and starts to die another new form takes its place. This has happened repeatedly since the end of May and gives me no end of pleasure. I have so far only added an Azalea (which J keeps jumping on) and Rhododendrons.

Thank you Billye for naming the Jimsonweed/Devils Trumpet/Datura Stramonium - only I can grow a field full of Hallunicagenic weed that is highly toxic to livestock... at least I am learning 'what NOT to grow'?

Holy crap the hugest spider just walked out of the stove top (must remember to use the stove on occasion to overcome this problem). I do wish I had more interest in the food department, more so the cooking of said food. I so miss watching Steve cook and generally make total ciaos in the kitchen, seeing him relax and enjoy what he is doing, smelling yummy smells, having my hand slapped for stealing something before it is ready, seeing his contentment and hidden pride when it turns out so beautifully. I do love his cooking. I do miss his mess.

I’m giving up smoking in one 50g Golden Virginia packets time (about a week). Can not wait to see how long it takes for the silent comments I think to become vocalized and heard by the people they are intended for, for once. Luckily for me, I like being a hermit.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Falling over falls

(Photo 1. Murdock from the front garden)

Autumn is definitely on her way, the leaves are just starting to change and at last, it is getting decidedly cooler. We spend our days working outside and preparing for the onset of winter… I am getting calluses on my calluses. If I ever get an interview, I will have to hide my hands in my lap, or wear gloves?! (Love, I promise to remedy this prior to your return, or maybe I’ll hire a gardener while you are away. To save my hands...)?!!!

Tom has dammed up the stream so we now have a pond and a ‘salamander & frogs hotel’ which is a pile of slate rocks and stone which they do appear to like. It looks great and will hopefully look a little less ‘excavated’ by the spring. He has had an amazingly long summer holiday, which as I recall started at the end of May and will finally finish next Wednesday the 8th September when he goes back to school ; - )

(Photo 2. Brown Eyed Susan front garden wall)

(Photo 3. 'Hotel' & Pond by TAB)

Murdock hike, hummm lets see, it started out well. Tom and I fully kitted out with hacksaw, axe, giant pruners, water, food etc. etc. We managed to get about halfway up, found a spring & stream and then came the thunderstorm from nowhere, a tree hit by lightening, then a very speedy decent by all! Exhausted, we were only 500 feet from the house and poor Tom crashed through the fallen tree, fell and knocked his head, bloody ear and head. All in all a pretty exciting day, Tom is fine, of course and since then we have managed to clear the fallen tree and make a ‘safe’ and clear pathway to the base of Murdock. We are ever so slowly starting to tame the wildness that is our home.

(Photo 4. Gateway from lower pasture to Murdock - home of the Hornet Monster Nest)

Since then, Tom has been stung by a Bald Faced Hornet - lower arm to elbow swelled like a balloon. Our doctor (via phone) said it was still considered ‘local’ swelling, so nothing to worry about, ice and Antihistamine - she is the best doctor we have had in ages, straight to the point, no frills and not a great deal of bedside but you always know what you need to know and are not left curious. We both look like we have been in the wars, cuts, scratches and many bruises - it’s a pioneer thing.

(Photo 5. Hornet Nest in gateway, two feet long)!

The Pie has started his hill work, every other day for half and hour or so. We have permission to walk and ride through our neighbors fields to the north, which has a clear path into meadows that then access the woods (hoping to reclaim our own route in the near future). He has been on spectacular form and has settled in so well. New farrier is a good fellow, shoes have stayed put and no lameness, now we just hope he comes back when scheduled...

(Photo 6. View from Lower Pasture South)

J has managed to eat all but one of the pears from the tree. Tom got hold of two before she did, brought them into the house, offered me one which I ate, J then stole the other from the kitchen table right in front of us! Tom swears he would have eaten the other, if J had not, but I have my doubts. Next we have apples to collect from behind the house - the others, backing onto Pie’s paddock will have to wait until we can clear a path to them through the bramble bushes (most likely, a NEXT year task).

(Photo 7. Weasle & J enjoying the shade)

(Photo 8. View from gateway south)

I finally have my NY State driving license (which means I am NOW legal to drive unaccompanied in NY state. Enough said)…. Thanks to dear M. who came with me, talked me into calmness (I was a wreck), drank coffee’s and gave me a good heads up of what the examiner was like. She suggested I drive like ‘Miss Daisy‘, which was the perfect advice. When he asked me what I thought of driving in Germany, I said “oh they do drive rather fast” and tried to sound convincing, which he clearly believed and approved of. It took maybe fifteen minutes from start to finish, a three point turn, parallel park and that was it. I didn’t even get out of third gear. Feel a complete pillock for getting so stressed about it now, as it was the easiest and fastest test I have ever taken!

We were given tickets by the Saint Jacque’s family to attend the Washington County Agricultural Fair in Greenwich, which was a great day out. They had every imaginable animal on display, including a barn full of Draught Animals, to include some magnificent horses that made the Pie look small, Oxon and some other giant looking cow types (you see, I have a great deal of learning to do on this subject), pigs, goats, sheep, every bird imaginable and some not so imaginable. Tom enjoyed ‘trying out’ all the tractors, gators and farm implements, noting which ones he felt we really should get (which was most of them). He tried archery, which he did well at and was then treated to some new arrows for his bow. We have almost agreed on getting a Gator (this varies from day to day: a Tractor or ATV or Gator ) with a dump body & winch, a brush hog that tows behind BUT this has to wait until I am actually a paid employee of someone, somewhere. We ate Candy Floss and Fried Bread Dough (yes, I know it sounds disgusting but it tasted magnificent, covered in powered sugar, to sop up ALL the oil) and went home thoroughly exhausted, again.

We think we have a raccoon living in the dairy barn… a pile of empty boxes, all inside one another, tied in a big black Breckland Council Bag (thank you Breckland), found ripped to shreds ….. to be continued. Pie found a Praying Mantis, Tom captured it:

(Photo 9. Praying Mantis by TAB)

Next, we experience ‘Fall’ and all that goes with it….the stunning colours of autumn and the Hunting Season starts...
(Photo 10. The next project, transformation of this bramble boggy mess into grassland).

Can anyone please identify this plant below? It grows to 4' in height, smells of peanut butter when you pull it up, single root, prickly seed pods. Has a single flower, white turning purple flute, similar to the Morning Glory but more angular. Have been told it is in the Nightshade family, but can not find any information on it at all.

(Photo 11. Monster weed, grew with avengance after land was disturbed)