March 2009


Be sure to visit my  other blog to become a ‘follower’ and enter the Spring Giveaway!!!! If you like gardening, poetry, tea, and spring, you’ll love the giveaway!!! Drawing will be on April 1st!

http://artfullyooglebloops.blogspot.com/2009/03/spring-giveaway.html

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All is well, and still dark out, at Mountain Meadows this morning……….



I have a long list of to-do’s today!!! But, a quick visit to my blogs is always a must before the actual day starts!!!

Yesterday was a peaceful, warm Sunday. We started the day by rescuing a starling who somehow got into the basement woodstove. The workmen swore to me, when the house was being built 2 years ago, that the chimney was securely capped to prevent this from happening!

The bird might have been in there for 2 days – or found a way to come and go. The husband just had wrist surgery, so he couldn’t climb on the roof to check out the chimney (and heights are not my thing – so you KNOW I’m not going up there!) He set up a safe trap against the stove door, and went outside to try and figure out if the bird might have gotten in another way. While all this was going on outside, the bird flew into the cage inside!!!

I took the starling out the back door and set him free – he was apparently none the worse for wear and he soared across the field to the safety of the trees! Good thing we had not lit the woodstove again!!!

Yesterday’s warm weather drew everyone to outside activites!

I planted my pansies in vintage pails, and some rosemary in the garden, while the husband painted some kind of salve on his flowering pear saplings. Over the winter, the deer had rubbed about half of his 36 trees – and  he was hoping that having wired them earlier and now applying this ‘paint’ would save the trees.

I took the horses out for their first greens of the season. Their paddock is always the last to grow, while the fields all around them turn a rich green – tempting and teasing them from over the fence! The grass is always greener, you know…………..!

I brushed the horses while they were grazing – still lots of winter coat to shed! The “old man” has 4 inch feathers on his legs in the winter! Note to self: don’t wear black while brushing horses – no matter how you try to position yourself in the breeze, the hair will ALWAYS find a way to adhere to your clothes!!!

Next on the list was mixing the horse feed. I am weaning the horses off the commercial food and making a blend of  a locally purchased and healthier feed with the commercial. So, dolly in hand – I dragged the 100 lb bag of the good stuff and the 50 lb bag of the old stuff and mixed them in a covered bin in the garage. That now sits next to the bin of feral cat food, which sits next to the cracked corn for the deer, and the wild bird seed!!! And let’s not forget the plastic tubs of plants waiting for warmer weather so they can be planted outside. No cars in MY garage as you can tell!!!

On yesterday’s list was – construct jumps and trotting poles for the daughter. That has been moved to today’s list – along with hanging the bird houses! Those are the fun things – the other things on the list run the gamut from go to the dump (ugh!) to go to the bank to dropping off resumes. Go, go, go, go, go……!!!!!

I guess that’s what I better do – or nothing will get done, done, done, done, done….!!!!!

All is well and busy, busy, busy, at Mountain Meadows this morning………

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I have mentioned in previous posts about the mice in our barn. They started out being cute, and have progressed to being a nuisance. I still leave little treats for them whenever I feed the horses (I know, I know…!)

They would be in the barn, whether I fed them or not – at least I don’t have rats – like the barn we last boarded the horses in! It’s just part of living in the country. This winter, we will try to encourage them to live elsewhere tho!! It probably won’t work!!!!

Occasionally, I will find a dead mouse or two, and will take them out to the field, or bury them.

But in recent days, I have found 3 mice, several days in a row, floating in the horses’ water buckets. Eeew!! Apparently, they run along the rails, see the hay  that falls out of the horses’ mouths floating in the water pail, and assume, quite wrongly, that that will help them walk on water!

So, in the interest of science – I have always had an interest in bones, and how things are put together.  These 3 mice were not carted off by any critters as a snack, so I decided to use them as an experiment.

In a somewhat macabre variation of Seth’s Dinsintegration Project (http://www.thealteredpage.blogspot.com)-sorry, Seth- I have created a mini ‘bone farm’ – Three Blind Mice Disintegration Project.

I will probably lose alot of readers today!!! :>)

I used to do science classes  for elementary school kids, dissecting owls pellets, and putting the skeletons back together. The kids loved it. So, think of this as scientific ! If these little mice are not carted off by some wild thing or feral cat, I want to keep track of their …. deterioration. A crow will probably snatch them before it ever gets that far.

Kids – do NOT try this at home!!!!

The mouse on the far right died 5 days earlier than the other 2

The mouse on the far right died 5 days earlier than the other 2

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Life goes on…………..at Mountain Meadows this morning………………


The last day of winter came and went – spring is upon us- altho it was 20 degrees yesterday morning!!!!!

I am getting excited about this season’s plantings!! I have visions of taking my produce to the local farmers’ market! I can’t wait til the market starts up in town – I go every Saturday to check!!! Not yet tho’. I want to find out the details of joining up!!!

Last year I canned and put up way too much stuff for us to use up. It was my first year canning and freezing – we are going on our third spring here at the farm. My jellies did get totally eaten, except for the persimmon, and a couple of jars of peaches, we are about cleaned out. The freezer is still a little crowded tho’.

I figured, I could probably offer homemade scones, aprons and tote bags,til the crops start coming in. It’s a thought – the mind is always working!!!!!

Our neighbor is using part of our lower property for a garden, that I will have use of also. Years ago, the former owners had one of their gardens in this spot. Since it is a flood plain (not that it has ever flooded there in recent times) the soil is wonderful and rock free! Perfect for growing potatoes and other root veggies. Remnants of the old fence posts from the original garden are still standing, and the neighbor has a backhoe, and has been working on clearing the land.

Potatoes are planted on Good Friday I’m told – that is 3 weeks away. Last year, I attempted potatoes and sweet potatoes in my own garden. I had success with most everything I planted. But the soil is sooo rocky (we live in Rockingham Co!), that it stunted alot of the potatoes that grew – and getting them out of the ground in one piece was difficult!!! Well, this is a learn as ya’ go process!!!

I am looking forward to having a great crop of lots of different taters this year. Judy, over at http://apronstringsandothertiesthatbind.wordpress.com

gave me a great hint for planting potatoes using old tires. Fortunately, or unfortunately, our property came complete with an assortment of old discarded tires!!!! Judy said to stack ’em, fill with good composted soil, add the seed potatoes, and fill the tires with dirt as the potatoes grow. When it comes time to harvest, all you have to do is remove the tires, and there are your potatoes – easy peasy!!! I’ll be trying that too!!!

Another cool thing about the neighbor setting up a garden plot, is the above ground root cellar he has, which I can use to store my produce. It is nothing fancy – just cinderblock, but maintains a temp suitable for storing the potatoes long term. It is 2 stories, built into a hill.

My garage is filling up with potted goodies, that we couldn’t resist buying, and now have to wait til the weather is suitable to put in the ground!!! This week I have to start indoors, planting all the seed packets I bought. I have several different types of sunflowers, 4 o’clocks, moonflowers (I found seeds for that, Lennie!) all different types of cutting flowers – one can never have too many flowers!!! I have a ton of different veggies, and have culled seeds from last year’s crop and flowers. My herb garden has reseeded itself – I hope, and will be bigger this year. I just love going out to the garden to pick my dinner and my seasonings!!! The husband just 2 planted pails of lettuce, and I hope to have more.

I just have to learn how to be a better weed picker!! LOL

There is no better way to pull yourself  out of the winter doldrums, than to dream and plan your garden!!!

Bird house gourds, anyone? I have 85 for sale!!!!Cut the top off and you have a great dried flower vase!

Bird house gourds, anyone? I have 85 for sale!!!!Cut the top off and you have a great dried flower vase!

Temporary planters filled with great soil, horse and chicken manure!

Temporary planters filled with great soil, horse and chicken manure!

Garden awaiting the tiller

Garden awaiting the tiller

Mr. Green Jeans and the daughter were pounding in extra support poles for the garden's electric fence.

Mr. Green Jeans and the daughter were pounding in extra support poles for the garden's electric fence.

Neighbor's above ground root cellar-the 2nd floor will be cleaned up for a wood shop

Neighbor's above ground root cellar-the 2nd floor will be cleaned up for a wood shop

Old boiler pot in the root cellar, that I do SOOOO covet!!! Can't hurt to ask!! :>)

Old boiler pot in the root cellar, that I do SOOOO covet!!! Can't hurt to ask!! :>)

Vintage cool - door to root cellar

Vintage cool - door to root cellar

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All is well at Mountain Meadows this Sunday morn, and dreamin’ of spring………

Well, it wasn’t exactly a tea break, but I took my new mug out to the barn, with the dog and the rakes.

I had just poured a cup of Yogi lemon pepper tea, and figured I would see if I could make it all the way to the barn without spilling it!!

I did, and put it on a fence post in the sun while I did chores.

I trusted my one dog, Sunman, to stay by my side and go to the barn without a leash. I told him we were going to look for mousies – something he loves to do – he hasn’t caught one yet!!! Like his owner, he is easily distracted- if a deer were to burst out of the trees – off Sunman would go in hot pursuit!!! So, he is not off leash too often, unless in a fenced in area, even tho we live in the middle of nowhere!

I did have to hold his collar when I escorted him thru the barn to the paddock – he doesn’t comprehend that chasing horses could cause him major injury!

So, while Sunman chased a ball and rolled in manure, I raked the rocks out of the front of the barn, changed water buckets and pulled drowned mousies out of the buckets – eeewww!!!

I would pause every now and then, to sip my tea, look at the mountains, and listen to the woodpeckers call to each other as their pounding breakfast search echoed off the hills.

It’s warm again today, the flies have defrosted and the gnats are hovering overhead.

The husband has 6 large planters ready to go – with aged chicken and horse manure, to start some of the planting. The planters are big colorful buckets from Lowes that have rope handles – so we can drag them in if a late frost appears. We have to go out today and roll up the plastic over the veggie garden to get it ready for rototilling.

The daughter wants to bathe the horses- altho it is warmer out – the well water is frigid – I am not sure that would be a kind thing to do just yet!!!

Time to go help the husband do some yard work – so I must step away from the computer – break’s over!!!

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All is well, with spring just over the horizon at Mountain Meadows this afternoon………………….


St. Patrick’s Day started off as it always had for me growing up in NY – rainy, damp, and overcastbut without the green cupcakes my mother always made!!!

The fog was thick on the mountain as I drove into town, but, by midday, the skies were clear and warm, and the leprechauns were sunnin’ themselves!!!

I had no green to wear, but found some properly colored jewelry!! If  you aren’t  wearin’ the green, ya’ run the risk of being pinched!

Afternoon tea was green – and served in a greenish hued cup, with my Belleek honey pot and plate showing the shamrocks!

My vintage daffodils c & s, with cute little serving tray, and my bracelet!

My vintage daffodil c & s, with cute little serving tray, and my bracelet!

My 2 Belleek pieces - so fragile I almost just want to look but don't touch!!!

My 2 Belleek pieces - so fragile I almost just want to look but don't touch!!!

Spring is definitely upon us – the killdeer have begun to scope out our driveway for their for their little rock nests. They invariably pick the most inappropriate place, that we have to discover and then mark with bright orange cones – so no one inadvertently drives over the nest!

The trees have tiny buds – I picked some quince to try to force some early blooms.

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Since the sun was out – I decided that along with the barn duties, I would brush the horses, and try on the ‘big guy’s’ new attire!!!

The ‘old man’ is as furry as a German Shepherd – and brushing him pulls off wads of hair that the birds will be happy to have for their nest making!

I got out the shedding blades and gently worked it over him – pulling off sun ray like circles of hair. His shaggy coat makes him look alot older than his 26 years!

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They both enjoyed the brushing – standing in the warm sun, munching on hay, not a care in the world!

Then, it was time to try on the ‘big guy’s’ new duds!!! Got a great little refurbished old saddle, with pad and girth (thanks, Leah!), and a used breast collar that had to be enlarged for the ‘big guy’ (thanks, Saddle Doctor!). Between the daughter and I (mostly the daughter), we figured out how to tack him up! Being of the English/hunter jumper discipline, western  tack is something new. The big guy, Prince John, is a Missouri Fox Trotter, and was trained as a western style trail horse, but was found at a hunter jumper barn, after passing thru several owners. We are finally getting him back to what he knows.

I caught on to the neck reining thing pretty quickly – and I think I am going to like the western style- I think John breathed a sigh of relief- probably thinking, geez, she finally got it right!!!! LOL

John in his new duds!!!

John in his new duds!!!

With a few minor adjustments, and one more saddle strap for the back, and more practice on my part, we should be good to go!!! We are not going for style – recycled tack is fine with us!!!

Not that we go too far – I am not the best rider, and we just ride around our property, taking care to steer clear of the ever frightening cows, hogs, ground hog holes, and chicken house fans!!!

These horses, and I, have our forever homes, here at Mountain Meadows, and are just takin’ life easy……………………………

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All is well at Mountain Meadows at the end of this sunny St. Patrick’s Day……

……well, not really!!!! I’m starting this Sunday, as every other day – on the computer!!! Then, to the basement to plant seeds, and  start purging for the yard sale in 2 weeks!

As soon as it gets light, I have to run outside and check to see what the thump in the middle of the night was! It sounded like a large bird hit the side of the house or a window. But, maybe I was dreaming! I am not brave enough to go outside alone, in the dark,  to investigate the things that go bump in the night!!!

It is another dreary, misty day out. I won’t complain tho – we need rain, however minimal the amounts!!! Little sprigs of green grass are starting to emerge- haying season is supposedly 6-8 weeks away. My bulbs in the garden are starting to peek out. The horses are starting to shed.

Our resident wild birds are ravenous and early at the feeders.  In another couple of weeks, the hummingbird feeder will have to be dusted off and set outside. We had a new visitor to the feeding deck – a white breasted nuthatch! He and I came eye to eye, as I stepped outside to put down more seed. He looked right at me, and didn’t fly away. But then, discretion got the better part of his valor, and and he zoomed for the safety of the trees!! He has become a regular now- I guess the seeds are supplementing his regular diet for a while.

While at the local grocery the other day, I noticed alot of activity in the building behind. I was told they were hanging the hams. Turner Ham is well known in these parts and around the country. I had forgotten that this time of year is probably not a big favorite with pigs everywhere!  I think February is when the traditional  annual slaughter of the pigs takes place. I will have to dig out my book on local traditions and talk more about it at another time. But right now, the hams have been seasoned and bagged, and are hanging. They hang for about 2 months, until they lose 18-23 percent of their water weight. Then the inspector comes in, to officially declare them ready. Some people prefer their ham early and pinker, some prefer it aged more. I am not a big fan of  ham, altho I have been know to have a BLT on occasion.

I recently finished a great book – The Good, Good Pig- and try not to think about that book, when I taste the “B” in the BLT.  I’ve often thought I’d love to have a pig as a pet – highly intelligent, but they are ravenous, and rooters- and would frighten my horses out of their wits!!!

As usual, my brain has jumped from subject to subject, being of scattered mind! But it is now light outside, the fires need to be stoked, and I need to venture out and see if anything actually did hit the side of the house last night!!! I’ll keep you posted!!!

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All is well, and rainy, on this Mountain Meadows Sunday morning…….

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