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Late Summer Ramblings

August 25th, 2009

The mornings have been crisp and cool, and autumn is right around the corner.  Just the right temperature for getting work accomplished outdoors… which I keep adding to my list.  “I should really be working on that…”  I muse as I wander around admiring the landscape.  The days are still warm yet and this day lily is the last for the year… a solitary figure among the hundreds having already bloomed in July.

day-lily

The young boy found this little guy along the driveway.  This is the last milkweed plant we’ve seen around the house, and this lucky monarch larva found it all to itself, perhaps being one of the last around here as well.  Could its luck continue to become a beautiful butterfly that migrates south for winter?

monarch-caterpillar

The rich green colors of summer are still with us, and everything feels so much closer and well, cozy perhaps compared to the open landscapes of winter.  Rain came through one afternoon last week, dappling the pond with raindrops, and breaking up the reflections of the trees on the surface of the pond.   The old Burt Dow Boat is still hanging on…  and I like filling it with petunias every year.  Behind it I planted a river birch which will overshadow it one day.    And to the left a small austrian pine grows- hopefully to provide a screen and some protection for the bees behind the picture up the hill.  

summer-at-fox-haven-pond

Several of the oak trees have died, and the big trunk/log laying in front of the rowboat has been cut up.  The boy and I moved it up the hill behind the barn this past weekend,  round-by-round in a bucket of the tractor.   We missed one… probably more than 100 pounds, and it rolled down the hill making a big Splash! in the pond.  The boy loved that, jumping and clapping, and I still haven’t figured out how I’ll get it out without getting wet.  I may have to give it a name as it floats around the pond…  now where did it go?



A Cool Morning in August

August 12th, 2008

There are few things like coming home.  The familiar, the comfortable, all the sights and sounds and… the work to do!    We’ve been blessed with cool weather this summer, and for being almost mid-August it’s amazing to see the grass and landscape so green.   In years past the grass would be brown and not require cutting by now.   But it’s beautiful in the early morning, especially with the air so cool and refreshing.

I walked down to the pond and enjoyed watching the wisps of fog move gently across the warmer water.   What is it about mornings that I love so much?  The quiet awakening of the day?  The promise of things to come?  I really don’t know, but its always been my favorite time of day.

The pond on a summer morning

Our little apple orchard seems to be doing well, meaning that the trees have received enough water and the deer haven’t chewed them to pieces this summer.  That may change quickly in the fall, but for now I’m spraying deer repellant around the leaves and base of the trees to discourage the deer from browsing.  The next plan is to wrap the trunks and install some fencing to protect the little trees.   We even have a few apples developing still, the first for a small apple tree planted two years ago.  I’m not sure who will get to eat this apple first, us or the deer… but it looks pretty good!

Home grown apple

For now it’s time to catch up on chores (and writing and reading too).  It was interesting to be without internet access for much of our trip the past two weeks.  Sure I missed the convenience and instant information available, yet it brought back awareness of simpler times and was kind of nice to just “be” if that makes any sense.  More to ponder, but while I do the garden is still producing a bunch of tomatoes and cucumbers, and even a few beans.  It’s about time to put up some pickles again too!

Too Much Rain

April 1st, 2008

An incredible day of rain yesterday. We’ve never seen the pond as high as it was, or the amount of runoff coming from the upper pastures.  There’s little anyone can do when you receive 2-3 inches of rain in as many hours.   The pond is now totally brown colored due to the runoff.  It filled up at least 2 feet higher, over the banks.

On a whim, I took the young boy out for a walk in the downpour to show him all the water.  Of course my amazement was not the same as his… he was amazed at the miniature rivers of water everwhere, and the large puddles to splash in.  He smiled and shouted with delight at the water, and said he had never been so wet before.  Fortunately it was 65 degrees, and warm enough to enjoy.   He stood by the spillway, with water flowing through pipes, and gently over the top of the grass.

The Pond is full!

The spillway let the water flow down through the woods.  All the creeks were filled and roaring with water. 

Water flowing down the spillway

The news tonight stated that this is the most rainfall we have had during March and the first three months of the year since 1897.   Will the summer still be too dry and near drought like the past two years?  The contrasts are amazing.  I’m ready for a little warmer (and less wet!) weather.  It’s time to get ready for planting, and a little more work outdoors.   But the weather patterns go all across the nation- the Cardinals, Yankees and Toronto BlueJays openers have been rained out.  It’s time for a change.

… Smile when you’re spinning round and round
Sigh as you think about tomorrow
Make a vow that your gonna be happy again

It’s all right in your life, no more rain…

                                                      Paul McCartney, Too Much Rain

At the end of the day the sun glowed brightly under the clouds, still with storms all around.  The landscape was cast in a beautiful yellow glow.

Sunset after rainstorm

Water, Water Everywhere

March 19th, 2008

We’ve had so much rain the past few days that many areas have flooded already.  I started wondering where Noah was building the ark yesterday…  Some of the smaller towns have evacuated people temporarily, and the larger rivers may not crest yet for a few days. Let’s hope the water doesn’t rise too fast. We received over 3-4 inches of rain this week at Fox Haven, so everything is very soggy and muddy. At least the water table will be strong going into the summer this year.

We do sit up fairly high, although a large watershed drains into the pond.  We’ve never seen water crest the dam, and I hope I never do.  But it was within a foot or two yesterday, and the water rushed out the spillway to the side of the dam and down through the woods.  Today it’s all colored brown and muddy.

Here’s a picture of our “rain gauge stump” under the water for half the day yesterday.  Today it’s finally back a few inches above again as the water drains.

Pond stump under water after heavy rain

Compare the picture above to this one of the same stump!  This is our “Old Man in the Stump” and in August last year he was quite dry. Hopefully we’ll have a little more rain through the summer this year.

Old Man in the Stump in August

But not everyone minds the rain and high water.  These wood ducks enjoyed playing all around the shoreline, but kept a wary eye out too!

Wood Ducks on Fox Haven Pond

Bluestem Around the Pond

February 24th, 2008

I’ve taken pictures of Bluestem before, but I really appreciate the color against the snow.  In the past I’ve cut the grass around the pond in late summer to keep it trimmed looking.  This year, I cut more carefully and allowed the Little Bluestem to really grow.  Turned out to offer beautiful color to the landscape as well as erosion prevention.  I don’t know how agressive Bluestem grass is, but it seems to grow very well here.  If it helps stablize the pond bank then that is another plus.  Somehow I just enjoy it’s natural look.

Little Bluestem grass growing around the edge of the pond

We’ve enjoyed some new snow this morning, but the temperatures are rising fast.  Time to clean up some woody debris around the property, but everything is by hand.  It’s just too wet and muddy to drive any kind of equipment around the landscape.  We’re about 2.5 inches ahead of our average rainfall by this time of year.  That’s good, and maybe it will keep us ahead of the dry weather going into summer!

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