In my part of the world, winter is fast giving way to spring, albeit without a fight. Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen record setting rains, followed by a brutish cold snap. Through it all, flowers bloomed here and flowers bloomed there, and not just our winter friends, the camellias. Though they made their appearance in town, out in the country, the only ones missing from the party are our daffodils and paper whites. The wonder and beauty of flowers, of course, is the ability to take a snip, or two, and bring that wonder and beauty inside, something I have been able to do every day this winter, which is truly a blessing. Anyway, to celebrate another morning of freezing temperatures, and in eager anticipation of spring, I present a collection of some of our winter flowers taken out, and about, at the Hall.
The rains came and came and came some more.
These are some straight up facts.
- 00.07 inches per hour
- 04.37 inches per day
- 04.42 inches last 24 hours
- 11.26 inches this month
- 12.27 inches this year
The tree frogs are enormously happy…
We keep horses, specifically quarter horses. Growing up, my only experience on a horse was as a young boy, dressed in western gear, and led around a ring at a fair. My wife is a most accomplished rider. Among her many achievements, early in our marriage, she trained horses for the track at her aunt’s facility.
So, horses are a big part of our life here at the farm. Horses eat. In fact, horses eat quite a bit. One of our main challenges is keeping them fed, especially in the winter, especially in the wake of a nasty multi-year drought, which plays havoc on our non-irrigated pastures.
Traditionally, we fed our boys (all our horses are geldings) square bale hay. Of course, this meant one of us had to make a run to the barn at least twice a day, sometimes more. Now, there is nothing wrong with strolling out to the barn, other than it does start to consume a day away.
As a result, over time, we started using round bales, which allow the horses to eat when ready, pretty much all the time. The downside to the round bale is the waste. Horses eat. Horses eat and pee. Horses eat and poop. Horses do not mind doing this on and around the hay bale that they have hoofed apart in search of the most succulent grasses.
I hate waste and I love the internet, at least for conducting obscure research. Someone out there actually did a study and found the best way to feed a horse with minimal waste is to use a cinch net, which is what we now do.
I have a large family, which includes a single mother sister that lives in the same town as me. My parents, much older, made the drive down here to help her out during this season, leaving behind a brother and a couple of more sisters in our hometown.
The modern day family, being what it is, affected by divorce orders, visitations, and all manner of legal this and that, means that today is when this branch of family gets to celebrate.
Beef tenderloin will be the star of the show, though I am not entirely sure what is going to go along with it. One item I can confirm, since we live in the south, my sister is bringing a grits, cheese and mustard greens concoction that promises to be a perfect accompaniment.
We will drink. As a family, we rather enjoy that. Every year I put together a batch of eggnog that includes rye whiskey, rum, sherry, and brandy, along with heavy cream, eggs, milk, and sugar. As pointed out in an earlier post, my eggnog has a definite effect on my photography.
Our youngest son, with help from the mistress of the home, put together our table arrangement. Soon the fire will be crackling. Cold weather really is coming. Laughter will fill the air and life will be good.
Before anyone makes any type of snarky comment, we are not having a salad, so there is not a salad fork in the place setting. Yes, I checked my etiquette.
Looking at the photo, it appears slightly askew. Blame the photographer and blame the eggnog. Regardless, Merry Christmas to all and I hope this season finds my gentle reader living a life filled with much peace and love.
Goldie Hen died just the other day. She was somewhere in the seven plus range, a good age for a hen. Goldie represented our next to last link with our old home, 4601. Now, all we have left representing the old guard is Clarabelle Poodle. Oh well, it reminds of that last soldier standing bit. You know the fellow who gets the bottle of whiskey when the last of his comrades receive his final marching orders.
Goldie probably died of a crop infection, which adversely affected her gizzard, which caused her to go septic. If I was any better of a gentleman farmer, I could have figured such a thing out before her systems went all haywire.
Her passing makes me think of course of my own. Such a short time we have, who knew? Enjoy the moment and keep looking for the unusual, I guess.
Finally, my wife is an insanely avid photographer, 20,000 or so, and counting. All those photos and I could just find a couple of our little hen. She was a great friend and a boon companion. She leaves behind some mates, of course. Gallus will have to take the reins of lead hen. I am sure she is up to the job.
Raised Catholic, my parents made me go to Mass until the age of thirteen, which I think was about when I had Confirmation. A dear friend of mine raised Catholic as well, always talks about the “ethnicity” of our faith. “Being Catholic,” she says”, is in your blood, inescapable, and unalterable.”
Nevertheless, this Sunday, like most, finds me out conducting my chores, freeing chickens, looking in on horses, and strolling toward that wonderful reward, the Sunday paper.
Now, where I live, the Sunday paper is a mere trifle, inconsequential fluff. Since it is no New York Times, I can be done with it in five minutes or so, leaving me plenty of time to contemplate further chores…
Theoretically today is a big deal day, all 12 – 12 – 12, and what not. Here at Totem Hall, the rains came and came. It is that particularly cold late fall day that only the South can produce, damp and grey. It also reminds me that I need to send in my L.L. Bean duck boots for repair.
My memorable project for the big 12 – 12 – 12 is to construct a weather station so that I can know exactly just how cold and damp, or, come summer, just how hot and dry, I really am. Well, that and I need to write a dozen or so thank you notes before the day is out for a birthday not too past.
Given the outside gloom, I thought I might add a picture of a flower or two, all fall/winter blooms. A gentle reminder that, yes, down south we do get colors during the shortest of months.
Really, has it been 4 years? My how time does slip by, especially when you are not paying attention. There is a new look to the rather old, but underutilized, site. We call our place, Totem Hall and I am enclosing a couple of, well, a couple of totems, spiritual guardians, and protectors, of our little domain.
Really, 4 years, who knew?
Merriam – Webster defines a gentleman farmer as a man who farms mainly for pleasure rather than for profit.Since I live on a piece of land too big to mow and too small to farm, that is a definition I am not prepared to quibble over, not yet anyway.
I am enclosing a picture of Totem Hall from sometime in the Fall of 2007.We had just laid down the slate for the walkway.