Voyeurism II – Nov. 8, 2019

In March 2013 when I was just beginning to blog, I did a post that I have revisited to read many times. As the trees have lost their leaves for the most part, the week of several hard freezes at night beating down the underbrush, our hay field having been brush hogged, being able to see the deer, turkey, and occasional coyote reminded me of the post. Though much of my archives are trapped in the ether, never to be seen again, I had some of the early ones saved. I am going to revisit parts of it here.

     The overcast weather brings the wildlife out into view.  The week has brought a large flock of wild turkey repeatedly out to forage the hay field for bugs and seed.  Each late afternoon and often early mornings, a herd of deer seemingly materialize from the edge of the trees, one at a time to graze in the same field, and a doe with her twins from spring frequent the area around the barn each evening. They seem to know that we are safe and do not flee when we are out around the house and going over to deal with the chickens. They raise their heads, look in our direction, and return to grazing on the still green grass.

 With the pups indoors and the lights inside kept low, we can sit and watch them.  When there is snow cover in the woods you can see them as they move among the trees before entering the field.  So far we haven’t had more than a sublimation snow shower, but may get a little early next week. At this time of year, the deer coats are dark and when they are still, they are perfectly camouflaged in the trees.

It is currently deer hunting season in this county. Bow season ended and black powder season is active. This time of year, I don’t like to walk our property or the country road off which we live even wearing a blaze orange vest and hat. Too many hunters are afoot and though we have our property posted, that is not always a deterrent. Our familiar neighbors are respectful of this and if a wounded deer from a non kill shot crosses over to our farm, will ask permission to look for it.

We always worry a bit about our dogs during hunting season. Ranger, the mastiff is apricot color. He is a 200 pound dog and though he isn’t built like or moves like a deer, we don’t want him to be mistaken for one. Shadow is a German Shepherd and moves farther afield, though usually staying on our farm, but with the abundant number of coyotes/coywolves/coydogs in the woods, we don’t want her mistaken either. The alpha we see most is as large as a German Shepherd and is black. As a result, the dogs get much more supervised outdoor time during hunting season.

Each season here on the farm brings different aspects to enjoy. The spring budding of trees, the young bunnies and fawns. Summer is haying, gardening, and enjoying the beauty. Autumn brings bright leaf color and and cooler weather. Winter, the voyeurism, warm fires, and hot cocoa or tea while wrapped in a hand knit shawl or a warm quilt.

Olio- 8/6/2019

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

I arrived home yesterday morning, having left son’s house at 6:15 a.m. when he and grandson left to catch the vanpool for son to go to work and grandson to begin another basketball camp hosted by the University coach. We had the vet due at the farm about an hour and a half later. The big guy can no longer load and unload and he needed a couple of vaccines and a snap test. Since she was going to be here, we had her look at the German Shepherd who has a lump on her snout and also needed the snap test done. Both dogs are heartworm free and the cytology on the snout lump showed no infection so we are on watch mode there. The big guy loves most people, doesn’t mind the vet, seeming to enjoy the extra attention. The German Shepherd is skittish as they can be and has to be on a leash and wearing a soft muzzle for most of her exam, but she allowed the attempt to draw fluid from the lump without too much squirming.

After that visit, I felt like I had already done a full day so we went to town to run errands and get lunch only to find that a huge area housing many of the non fast food places were experiencing a power outage that ended up lasting well into the evening. We decided to get a bit farther away from there and stopped at Zaxby’s. The clerk at the counter looked like either a recent retiree or soon to be retiree. After taking our order, he said, “I guess I could give you the senior discount.” We didn’t know they had one and I quipped, we certainly are eligible. He smirked and said, “I bet I have a year or two on you, I will be 61 in September.” Well, I couldn’t resist letting him know that I have more than a decade on him and hubby stating that he was older than I was. That made me feel good for the day.

This morning, we set out to get a newspaper, chicken feed, and dog food, and they were just putting out fresh produce at the community store. I know it isn’t local nor organic, but my tomatoes aren’t doing well, so we purchased a 25 pound box of tomatoes to bring home. After several hours of standing coring, peeling, chopping, cooking, and canning, I no longer feel young. I got about 2/3 of them done, cored the rest and put them in the freezer to finish with some from the garden tomorrow. My water bath canner holds 6 pints or 8 half pints. The first batch was herbed tomato sauce and ended up with 8 pints, so two were packed in wide mouth jars and will go in the freeze, the other 6 were canned. Batch two was pizza sauce and there was enough to fill 9.5 half pint jars, 8 were canned, one will go in the freezer and the remaining quarter pint fit in an open jar of pizza sauce in the freezer to be used first.

The remaining tomatoes will probably be made into spaghetti sauce and a few half pints of it cooked down to more pizza sauce. We do enjoy homemade pizza with my sauce, local mozarella and local Italian sausage.

Daylily season if my favorite flower season. Of the dozen or so varieties, this one, call Sear’s Tower, given to me by a friend, is the last one blooming, the rest finished a couple of weeks ago.

The old timers here, have a saying that every day of August that has fog will produce a snow during winter. I am not superstitious, if it were true we would never get out this winter. This is the 6th of August and we have had dense fog every morning so far.

Once the fog cleared and I was standing at the kitchen sink dealing with tomatoes, I looked out to see a flock of 8 Tom turkeys grazing across the back yard.

The broody Oliver egger won’t give up. I have tried cold water, isolating her from the nesting boxes and other hens for 48 hours and nothing has worked. This is the third time she has become broody this summer, stopping and laying for a week or so then going back to broodiness. I give up. I guess she will give up eventually, I take eggs many times a day so she is sitting on empty nests. I think this fall, I will purchase 4 Buff Orpington chicks if I can get them and raise them over the fall so they will lay next spring and not try to raise more than that, they will provide enough eggs for us. In the spring, a small flock of Freedom Ranger or similar meat birds that grow to full size in only a couple of months will be purchased and raised separately from the egg laying hens. The cost of pasture raised chicken at the farmers’ market, since we have the facilities to raise them, makes it worth our time and effort.