Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 12-17

“So, whatcha been doin’?”

You meet up with a friend somewhere along life’s way. After a greeting, they ask the fateful question.

They’re waiting, head slightly cocked, with an encouraging look on their face, as you try to come up with something, anything that may have happened to you since you last met.

Surely you’ve done something interesting… Maybe something impressive?

Time is ticking.

The silence gets awkward.

Just say one thing…anything…

After casting about in your mind for what seems like an eternity, you smile ruefully and say the only thing that comes to mind. The one thing you can say with absolute certainty.

“ah, well, you know…not much…same old, same old…”

…and that my friends, is exactly what happened with this post.

I have been scrounging around the deepest recesses of my brain for something, anything, of interest that happened around here this week.

…and it’s pretty much “the same old, same old…”

It’s the time of year when we’re up tidying up and restoring order, thinking ahead to next season.

snowy morning at the barn

End-of-the-year data entry looms large. The daily battle with the elements begins to include frozen precipitation, or the preparation for it. So, our weather watches become even more frequent. The seed catalogs start to pile up, awaiting our big planning session. But, there is not much actual work going on. The productive days of the harvest season seem a distant memory.  

out the office window
(yes, I am SUPPOSED to be working)

The animals aren’t doing much, either. Except registering their complaints constantly. The ewes are hungry…or bored…so they eat. And, eat. They are getting more rotund with every passing day as they await the arrival of the lambchop crop of 2018. And, I think the hens’ feet are cold.

choreographed chickens

The only one who seems to enjoy the weather is Gus. He finds the cold air invigorating and the breezes bring unfamiliar and interesting scents.

It’s cold and windy and there just isn’t much to report as we approach the beginning of Winter.

view across the way

Last Saturday’s snow is a just a memory. Although traces of it remain in the shadiest spots. Several snow squalls have blown through during the week, but they didn’t amount to anything. There have been too many grey, dismal days that make it hard to concentrate.

dreary day on the farm
(it looks like snow)

But, those dark days just serve to make us appreciate the brilliant blue skies and the amazing sunsets. Not to mention the sunrises. 

December skies are gorgeous!

birds at sunrise

red at night...

sunset over the barn

early morning

morning chores

Don’t think I am complaining about the down-time. It’s nice to have things move at a slower pace, to change up our routine and get things in order. And, it’s fun to visit with the grand-boys. This week I got to stretch my imagination with one, go on a shopping adventure with another and receive countless smiles and snuggles from the youngest.

little guys
 BIG personalities

But, other than that…


Same old, same old.

Now, if Gus had written this post, it would have been much more interesting and action-packed. He would inform you that he worked incredibly hard in the past week. He protected us from countless intruders. (most of which will never be identified…or verified, for that matter) 

Monday was an especially trying day.

He spent the entire day patrolling and barking. And barking some more. The humans told him to hush countless times. 

But, the threat was real, people. 

Just look!

Gus found this incredibly worrisome

A tree-trimming crew spent the entire day cleaning up the neighbor’s driveway in anticipation of winter weather. Chainsaws were whining away as the wood-chipper whirred loudly.  In our defense, we (the humans) couldn’t see them until they came up over the hill in the early afternoon.
 By afternoon, he was tired
He had to lie down by the truck and keep his barking vigil

With them gone, he could relax for a while…

But, then sometime after dark, two enormous boxes appeared at the top of the drive. Their arrival was heralded with furious barking. And, occasionally, their presence would catch him unaware and he would bark some more.

It was a long night.

that's a lot of egg cartons!
In the morning, the Boss went to retrieve the gigantic boxes…which proved to be the new supply of egg cartons. On top was a gift for Gus.

I don't have the heart to tell her he doesn't like these cookies
The Fed Ex delivery-woman is doing her best to make friends with Gus. (but, he’s having none of it…cookies or no) When she stopped by the next evening, the barking/cookie scenario played out once more, even though I was present to act as liaison.

After all that activity, Gus still had energy run races with Tess, the cat. At least I think they’re racing, he knows he is not supposed to chase cats. Although, she seems to go along with his shenanigans, I am fairly certain she has some sort of complaint.
dog/cat race
look at her face
(I think she's calling "foul")

His night-time patrols are especially active this time of year as the deer move through looking for forage. Daytime naps are interrupted by marauding squirrels, those pesky crows and odd smells wafting through on the breeze. 

It’s hard work being Gus.
he did take the opportunity to make some "snow-angels"

or would that be "dog-angels" ...or "snow-dogs"?

And, it’s a sad state of affairs when the dog had a more interesting week than I did!

But, I’m afraid that’s it from here.

As I’ve said before, NO news really is GOOD news. It means everything is running smoothly. Good stories generally include some sort of disaster or mis-management. So, boring is better. (at least that’s what I’m telling myself)

I was not exaggerating about the sky...

...this was this morning at chore time...

I hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

today's glorious sunrise

Thanks for stopping by. Come “visit” us again real soon.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 12-10

It should come as no surprise that things around here are unlike things elsewhere. I mean, did you read THIS?  Not only are we somewhat “unusual”, the topics of conversation can be unique, to say the least.

Believe me, I get some odd and random texts/messages that would cause great consternation if sent to the wrong address.

And, sometimes they even take me by surprise.

For weeks, I have been telling the Boss about this one hen. Every day she escapes. The exact egress point is yet undiscovered.

hen on a mission

I should have suspected something

And, every day, I find her wandering in the garden, clucking to herself as she scratches through the spent broccoli plants. I tried chasing her, but the grass has been slick with frost and my progress impeded by coveralls and chore boots. Apparently, my concerns for her safety were unwarranted, because her adventures continued. Since he wasn’t worried about it, and I’m not a big fan of chicken-chasing, I let it go.

As a matter of fact, the Houdini-hen was the last thing on my mind as I stood in the check-out line in town. To pass the time, I opened my phone. To find this…

What the heck?

It took me a moment to realize that it was a photo of eggs under broccoli plants. Okay…but, WHAT? WHY?

he even "winterized" the hen-house
With an eye to some wintry weather headed this way, the Boss was tidying the garden spaces while I ran errands. The irrigation tapes were removed, the temporary fence stored away, and the spent crops mowed. As he removed the irrigation tapes prior to mowing, he found a clutch of eggs. Seventeen eggs, in fact.

Now I understood. There was a real purpose to those daily garden trips. Ms. Hen had found a tidy little spot to deposit her eggs. (Now, before anyone gets concerned, those eggs did NOT end up in this week’s sales delivery…or any sales delivery) How and/or why she chose to walk all the way up there when there is a perfectly nice nestbox in the henhouse is beyond me.

Well, at least that mystery was solved.

But, there is a postscript to the story.

The next day, there she was…clucking along in the upper garden.

She came to the freshly mowed broccoli bed. She looked around, squawked loudly…turned around and headed toward the hen-yard.

headed back to the hen-house

…and she has not escaped since.

Thankfully, I can scratch hen-chasing off my to-do list!

All week, the forecasters talked about the “s” word. First it was going to snow. Then it wasn’t. Wait, it might…

it looked rather ominous

and then it didn't

I’m not a big fan of winter weather. Snow or frozen precipitation makes things hard on man and beast, but we really need the precipitation, so as long as we are prepared, it’s not usually an issue.

the misty full moon seemed indicative of changing weather

fallstreak hole in clouds
indicates ice crystals


This week marked the beginning of our “off-season” sales program. Saturday morning would find us heading to town to deliver the items that customers had requested following our mid-week email.
And, any sort of precipitation was supposed to start on Friday afternoon.

So, the weather became a prominent player in our plans.

At first it looked like a “classic I-81 storm”, predicted to slide up the Interstate and deposit the majority of the snow on the other side of the mountains. No, wait…make that I-95…and that track would take the storm even further away and it wouldn’t impact us. Then, the update…the storm was tracking further west, making it an issue again. Hang on…it looks like a miss…

The whole week went like this.

We couldn’t simply skip the sales. The whole reason we do winter sales is to keep some sort of positive cashflow during the winter. But, if the weather did turn, we would have to do something different…should we re-schedule? Surely, it wouldn’t be that bad…there was still the chance it would miss us all together…

The email was sent. The replies received. It was going to be a good week! We packed up the orders, all the while keeping an eye on the weather.


Until Saturday morning.

We hadn’t seen so much as a flake until we headed out at choretime. By then, they were flying fast and furious. And, we were back to wondering about our deliveries.

it's definitely snowing

I realize this sounds like much ado about nothing. But, our customers come from around the county to meet us in town for their farm products. Their safety is our utmost concern. And, then there’s the lane…

This place is not called Homestead HILL for nothing.

More than one person has made the turn at the mailbox to head up the lane and been daunted by the steep upward incline. We’ve heard “wow! You live on a mountain!” more than once. (believe me, you should have seen it before Neighbor paved it)

Needless to say, the trip DOWN can be just as tricky. Hauling a trailer filled with a full freezer and multiple coolers of eggs could be disastrous…particularly with snow and ice covering the surface.

Should we? Could we?

The Boss started to off-load everything into the Xterra, only to realize it probably wouldn’t all fit.

So, we were going to have to take on the lane, with the loaded trailer.

As we headed out, he wondered aloud if I should email the customers…I didn’t want to tell him that would be impossible---I was too busy crossing my fingers! (and I didn’t have the group contact set up in my phone anyway)

headed down

We made it to the main road with no incidents.

made it to the main road

The trip to town was uneventful and the roads there were clean and clear.
Byers Street in the snow
it's cold out here!

setting up for deliveries


all done!
All the customers came. The deliveries were completed without a single error. We headed back to the hill, (conditions were definitely worse out in the county) where we watched it snow for the rest of the day. I must say, snow IS prettier than rain. And, we really do need the moisture.

mbrk road in the snow
Mbrk looks like a Christmas card

getting back UP may prove tricky

Home again!

When it was all said and done, we only got about 3 or 4 inches. Certainly not enough to warrant days of concern. But, all’s well that ends well. And, we won’t be concerned with deliveries for another week.

But, Winter weather has arrived. Today the temperature is supposed to hover in the low thirties with wind gusts near 30mph. I guess we won’t have to worry about snow removal, it will all blow away. The forecast for the upcoming week includes more precipitation and frigid temperatures. So, Remy might just have to share her spot in front of the woodstove.

It sounds like a good day to make a pot of soup and hope that you are having a

     Happy Sunday! 

the first snow 
Thanks for stopping by. Come back and “visit” us again real soon.