June 2008


I was responding to an email from a friend and ardent blog reader, and decided that email would be a perfect blog post!

Two posts ago, I wrote about the demise of the old house on our property. It was the “victim” of a practice burn by a local fire department. Folks were wondering how the garden made out in the aftermath!!

So far, so good, as they say! The pile of rubble (formerly the old house) stopped smoldering the first day. The firemen said it could last up to 3 days, so I guess we were lucky!

The charred smell still lingers, but with last night’s heavy rain, the odor is not quite so pungent.

My corn plants are scarred from the fire, but still growing. Where the flowers were, I guess the charred dirt and grass will be like fertilizer – I may just cover the area with topsoil. I can’t rototill it, or the peonies may never come back next year! I discovered the first Queen Anne’s Lace back there, that was just out of reach of the fire’s heat. I have been looking for some to transplant, so I am glad there is one that started here and survived!!

A local guy came by to check out the tin roof and metal debris left over from the fire- he is willing to haul it away, which will save the husband the hassle. Before that happens, I have to go out and cut a few bedsprings off the old bed frame to make a vase or some candle holders. I saw those cute ideas in a magazine – you take a coil, and invert a glass insulator into the coil, and you have a primitive flower vase! I already removed a handle off an old faucet to use in a project -out of the fire, comes new life – so to speak!!! Nothing like “dumpster diving” on your own property!!!

Yesterday, Mr. Green Jeans (aka-the husband) was building a rock wall for the front garden along the porch. He made several trips across the river with the Kubota, and each trip filled the tractor bucket to the brim with some cool, backbreaking mountain rocks. He spent the afternoon, putting the puzzle wall together – no one could help him, because he had a vision of how this was supposed to look! What that man can’t do…………….

I had planned to get out and plant the mint that has been languishing in my garage for way too long – yet, again, another day goes by without that being accomplished!! I also have some dill, arrugula, and lemon basil that needs to be put in a pot or in the ground, and some more tomato cages to buy.

Right near the site of the fire, is a tall tree, around which a real grapevine is growing! I am so excited to have actual grapes!!! Next year, I wanted to put up a trellis for the grapes. I was hoping the vine wasn’t damaged, one vine is a little charred, but it doesn’t appear to be the main trunk. And, those grapes literally go to the TOP of that tree!! The main vine has hugged that tree as far up as it can go, and of course, the grapes growing at the tippy top of the tree are, wouldn’t ya’ know, the largest ones!!! I am going to have to get  a REALLY BIG ladder when those babies are ready to be picked!!

Our second nest of baby cowbirds are starting to leave the nest. I came across one of the babies sitting on a fan in the barn the other night, conversing with his fledgling nestmates! He looked like Kramer from Seinfeld, with just a few tiny down feathers left- protruding out of the sides of his head! I tried to guide him out of the barn, but he flew onto the saddles, and then looked like he might hop behind some other stuff, so I retreated, and let him figure it out on his own! I have a vintage birdhouse on the inner wall of the barn now – so maybe next time, some bird will decide to use it, instead of the space between the stall walls! The son has decided that the one outside wall of the barn makes a great partner in playing a solitary game of tennis- or racquetball! As a result – no bird houses on that wall!!!

Yesterday, while mulling over the events and non events of the day, I made a GREAT pitcher of iced tea. A while back, I had purchased some loose tea from Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room (see a previous post on that adventure!) and decided to make a blend of the Buckingham Palace and Raspberry tea leaves. I brewed up a mixture, got out my favorite thrift store find vintage etched crystal tumbler, put some ice in it, and fresh crushed mint leaves- and it was GOOD!!! I must make another batch today!!!

 

Enjoy these pictures and engage in a game of  “Where’s Waldo?” See if you can spot the tadpoles! These are the ones who were NOT sucked up in the firehose the other night!!! The large ones are bullfrogs, and the small ones are peepers or tree frogs.
Thanks for dropping by, and enjoy the rest of your day.
As always, all is well at mountain Meadows tonite!

 

Write the title to your own memoir using just SIX words!!

Post it on your blog (if you don’t have a blog, just post it in my comments)

Link to the person who tagged you

Tag 5 more blogs.

Summing up my life, in just 6 words, if more difficult than I thought!!! Less is more, of course, but in my case, 6 is NOT enough!!!  I will be mulling over 6 word titles for days now!!!! I’ve already come up with 3 or 4! If I come up with a better one, I’ll add it to this post!!! Thanks, Patty- my brain needs more to think about!!! LOL

“Been There, Done That, FINALLY Here”

The old house on our property is no more. After months of waiting, the fire department had their new piece of equipment to test out. There were two trucks, and one of them weighed 38,000 pounds.  The 750 gallon tank was emptied, before driving up to the old house, so as not to ruin the “lawn”! But, even without the water weight, the truck managed to sink 6 inches into the dirt, and had to be pulled out by our tractor! A little embarrassing! The firemen took the truck down to the river, to refill the tank, sucking up all the tiny fish and tadpoles I’m sure!!!

There was an attempt to save my flowers from the flames by foaming the back of the house that faced the garden and the flowers. It looked like snow in June- very impressive!!

Then, the fire was set, and was a good lesson to all who came to watch, how quickly a small flame can take over a house! The smoke rose high into the sky and left ash at the neighbor’s farm.  The heat was intense, and all was under control. But then, a small part of the tanker truck broke, I’m not sure of the details, but the result was no more water to control the flame. They did the best they could, I lost my mind for a bit and had to leave the scene!!! I am not even a fan of woodstoves, so a fire this big with no water was a little disconcerting!!!!

With no water, the foamed side of the house did not burn as planned, so all my flowers were lost, some of the corn was singed, and about half the tomato plants lost. One little eggplant that was growing, was literally cooked on the front half. I think the corn may make it, and hopefully the flowers will come back next year. Thank goodness the peonies were done for the season!!!

Any critters that lived in the house apparently made it out safely, or at least I hope so. The only one seen, and not by me, was the 6 foot resident black snake who leapt out the upstairs window. He apparently survived,, didn’t see any remants of him anywhere.

The pile of rubble smouldered all night – I could hear popping thru the night as canning jars exploded and who knows what else. I did not get a great night’s sleep! The grass and trees around the old house are charred, and it takes a while to get used to the view with no house in it.

Watching a fire this close, even tho it was a controlled burn, makes you realize how many things can go wrong, how hard the firemen work, and how dangerous it all really is.

We are appreciative of all the firemen did (particularly the guy in charge – who promised to bring me corn to replace the ones I lost!! )

All is well, at Mountain Meadows today, minus one house……………………

 

 

 

 

 

This is my favorite picture of the night. My son says this picture reminds him of photos taken by a European artist named Burzum, who apparently is now in jail for arson – he took burned the buildings that he took pictures of!

 

 

See March 10 post “The Old House”

Here are just a few scenes from the river and the fishing pond. The picturesque little pond  belongs to the neighbor, a great peaceful little fishin’ hole!

The rest of the pictures are different views of the river. See if you can spot the tiny fish and tadpoles in the water!

We had 4 inches of torrential rain a couple of days ago, so the little river was high and moving fast! Surprisingly, it was not cold, knee deep in most places, with an occasional deep pocket. We have seen a river snake, having recently shed his skin on the bank, 2 pair of cedar waxwings, who favor the riparian lifestyle, and showed no fear of me, taking turns zooming in front of me, and perching barely 15 feet away. I scared a deer (and she scared me) right out of the shallows behind a bush. When she made it to the other side of the river, in only a few powerful bounds, she was very vocal in her dislike of that “fright”! It is rare to hear deer “speak”, but you won’t forget the sound once you hear it!!

The woodpeckers I hear every morning, are still invisible, but tapping away very near the riverbank.

I did take several videos of the rushing water – very soothing, but unfortunately, the blog would not upload them! It can be so mesmerizing, just staring at the ripples as they move on by, especially if you are standing right in the middle of the river!

 

Well, we are awaiting the local fire department – they are FINALLY coming to do a practice burn on the old house on our property. Its former owner has already driven down our driveway for one last look, altho he says he won’t be present for the burn. He is in his 80’s and remembers the day he moved out of the house in 1952! It was first his parents house, then his brother’s, now inhabited with wild things- who will be making a fast exit tonite!

Check back in a few days for pix of the burning!

Again, all is well, and hot, at Mountain Meadows tonite……………

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been working on my garden for some time now. Rather, the husband has been working on it – setting the posts, running the wire, building the fence, installing my vintage wire gate, and getting the hinges on it to move again!  It is 100′ by 40′ – probably a little overly ambitious for the first time out!!

We “decorated” the wire fencing with fanciful aluminum pie plates, both vintage and new, hubcaps, and all things shiny and loud, to deter any  critters who might want to come and snack  on my veggies!  We are embracing our newly rural selves! The fence is solar powered electric, altho we have yet to turn it on. It seems, so far, all that we have done, has worked to keep out all but the birds! The birds immediately moved into the new little bird house and keep my garden free of bugs.

 But, at some point, after all that work, we will have to turn on the electric fence. Hopefully, I’ll remember, when that time comes – because the husband says, if I touch the wire, it will feel like I got hit with a baseball bat!

The amazing thing about it all, is watching things grow. How a tiny dot of a seed, can hold within itself, all that life! A seed has the ability to open its it ‘shell’ and sprout forth greenery and fruit to feed, needing only the warmth of the sun and a little water to do so. A homely, gnarled, tuberous root can be cut out of the ground, and with proper care, be replanted to turn into a beautiful, majestic canna with a huge wonderous flower! How something so simple or so ugly can, thru the magic of nature, literally blossom into something so amazing!

Working the earth, and planting the seeds, gives one a connection to times past. I wonder about the real farmers, who lived our land generations ago, planting in the same  soil I am now. Those same little seeds were really important to them. The farmers watched for the rain, as I find we are now doing! It gives a new appreciation for where our food comes from, and how it wasn’t always as easy as running to the supermarket for dinner!! At the rate prices are skyrocketing, growing our own food seems like  a pretty good idea now!

Former owners of our land, must have had a great garden! We are only just discovering things that have been there for years. There are at least 2 peach trees, rhubarb, lemon balm, and even grapes. There was a potato patch down by the river, in the flood plain- we will work on that one next year!

This year, in our first real attempt to work the land, we are growing hay, the first round bales already cut and stored away. The vegetable patch  has several varieties of corn, way too many tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, eggplant (with the first tiny  purple eggplant growing by leaps and bounds!), honeydew and watermelon, zucchini, shallots, sweet potatoes, and pantry potatoes. Pantry potatoes are the ones that start growing in your pantry, when you don’t really want them too – so we planted them!! We’ll see if anything comes of them!!!

We also have strawberries, blackberries, rasberries, and a wide variety of herbs. We even tried some carrots in a porch planter – the ground is so hard and rocky, I’m afraid carrots in this garden would be misshapen at best!

It never ceases to amaze me, what life is hidden in tiny, unassuming little seeds.

Well, time to do the nightly check on the garden and the horses.

All is well at Mountain Meadows tonite………………………………

 

There is nothing prettier than the sky at dusk, especially when the clouds diffuse the setting sun’s rays.

Rain was imminent, the air was heavy, a slight, ghostly mist was rising from the paddocks. The horses were peacefully grazing, the obnoxious fly onslaught of the day easing up as evening approached.

The geese flew over, heading toward their night roosting spot, and swallows, swifts, and bats became the evening’s aerial acrobatic show as they darted about in search of their evening meals.

The few early lightning bugs flashed sporadically in the distance, and mourning doves cooed from the safety of their hiding spots in the junipers. If you were really quiet, you could actually hear the river as it rushed by, the ONLY thing that was in a hurry on this lazy, hazy summer night!

The hounds start their evening chorus, sending word to all the neighboring farms that they take their night watchman jobs very seriously!

The deer cautiously venture out into the open- the draw of the freshly mown hay  is too much to resist. They are ever alert, their white tails in constant motion, in case they need to use them to  warn of danger and propel them back into the safety of the woods. Soon, they will have babies in tow, tiny spotted mirror images of themselves.

The cows join in the evening serenade, with an occasional bellow, that sounds more heartrending than joyous!

After a final check on the barn – gates closed, stall guards up, feed barrel covered, lights out, and barn door latched, it’s time to meander down the shale strewn path back to the house.

 

All is well at Mountain Meadows tonite………………………..

When we first moved out to the country, I started shopping at the little corner grocery for the paper, bread and eggs.  The eggs were local, from free range, happy chickens, and it seemed like a healthy thing to do. Plus, I am supporting the local farmers. The clerk would ask me from time to time, if I’ve ever had a double yolk egg- I never have – in my whole life!!! Eggs purchased in a chain supermarket, will never have a double yolk, so I never had one. I did notice a difference in the quality of the eggs. The local eggs are so much better than the ones from the supermarket. They might still have a little chicken poop on them, or the occasional feather…………! Their shapes and colors are rarely uniform.

Then, one morning, lo and behold, I cracked an egg – and there it was – my FIRST DOUBLE YOLK!!!!

Of course, I took a picture!!!! It was a good day!!!

A couple of weeks have passed since that momentous occasion, and my last 6 cartons of eggs have ALL been double yolked!!! Two dozen eggs literally weigh 2 pounds!!! I love it!! My urban son, was sure that the chickens were on steroids – why else would they have these kind of huge eggs??!!

I checked around, and it seems that young chickens have a tendency to lay double yolked eggs. If anyone out there has a clue as to why this happens – please let me know!!!But, for now, I am enjoying my brown shelled, ovoid wonders!!!

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