Tag Archives: autumn color

He came and conquered – Nov. 2, 2018

The day after our mower quit, the hayman returned with his big tractor and 10′ mowing deck and made short work of the rest of the big south hay field.  The spring bales are still there, but he said his young helpers were going to come pick them up and cut up the downed tree and the dead standing tree, leaving us with part of it for our winter warmth and enjoyment.  His return allows us to delay the purchase of a new mower deck until spring, the old one to be sold off as parts and scrap.  There is probably a farmer out there with the equipment and skills to weld on some plates on the deck, rebuild the trailing wheel support, and put on a new blade.

Our county is noted for it’s rocks.  The joke around here is that the county’s main crop is rocks.  You can mow an area one year without an issue and the next year hit a rock where the soil settled or the frost pushed the rock up just enough to clip the blade.  It is hard on the blades and the play in the blade then hitting the deck housing is hard on the housing.  Brush hogs are workhorses, they take a beating keeping the Autumn Olive and blackberries from the edges of the fields and mowing tall weedy hay.  They aren’t neat finish mowers used on golf courses and large lawns.  Our mower is more than a decade old now and wasn’t a heavy duty one in the first place as our tractor is only 28 hp.


The farm looks so neat right after the haying or fall mowing.  One benefit of our smaller tractor and smaller deck is that we can get much closer to the rock piles scattered throughout the farm, keeping the brambles from escaping out into the fields.  Since our deck is no wider that the tractor’s rear tires, if they clear without hitting rocks then the mower deck clears also.

In the couple of days since I was mowing, the woods turned autumn colors, almost overnight.

IMG_20181031_091451  IMG_20181102_082537

The top picture was two days ago, the lower one a zoomed one of the same area.


Two maples, one wild, one planted.  The wild one in back is huge and turns a beautiful shade of golden orange, the planted one a vivid yellow gold.  As you see, both have lost about half of their leaves already as have most of the other trees in the area.  The wind storms of the past few weeks have stripped many leaves before they turned colors.  Soon the woods will be bare and we can voyeuristically peek at the wildlife in the edges of the woods as they seek nourishment from the evergreen scrub, acorns and other wild nuts that have fallen.

The fields were done just in time for several cooler, rainy days.  We have yet to build a fire this year, but maybe we will this weekend.  Maybe the sack of frozen tomatoes will get cooked down into sauce and canned or frozen as sauce.  Maybe a good book, some knitting or spinning, and for sure, lessons for a new spinner.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever the weather.


Sunday eve found Son#1, Grandson#1, and me motoring back to Northern Virginia.  The original plan had been to work on the scaffolding and sharpen knives on Saturday, deal with the meat chickens on Sunday, and have some hiking or other recreation on Monday, Columbus Day, and then I was going to take them home.  Friday as Son#1 was preparing to leave work for home and then the bus trip here, he realized that he wasn’t off on Monday, but Grandson#1 didn’t have school.  Plans changed, we accomplished the Saturday and Sunday plan and took off on Sunday eve for their house.  I spent two nights there to provide care for Grandson#1.  Leaving for home early this morning and encountering much semi traffic and intermittent rain, I decided to take a non interstate route home, at least most of the way.

The route was a beautiful drive, though it took about 90 minutes longer and I drove through a few very severe storms.  The route took me through a good portion of the poultry raising parts of Shenandoah.  This is why I humanely raise and kill my own chickens and buy our turkey from a local free range farmer.

This is one of hundreds of poultry “houses” along the route. The sign that I tried to capture said, “Absolute no trespassing, no visitors.”

This is what the inside of a “free range” building looks like. Photo from the internet, source unknown.

A poultry processing factory, it covered about 2 blocks. The entire town smelled like death and stench.
One of half a dozen trucks I passed going to the factory, each with 120 of these cages so low the turkeys can’t stand in them and each cage holding about a dozen turkeys.
The birds beaks were clipped so they couldn’t harm each other.  This is grocery store poultry.

On a more pleasant note, though the rain was intense at times, part of the route paralleled the Maury River.


The leaves were beautiful, the river sometimes well below the road like the picture above and at other times it was only feet from the edge of the road.  It was a certainly a prettier trip than the interstate, but the trip expanded to 6 hours instead of the usual 4 1/2.  Was it worth avoiding the semis?  I guess it was, but I’m glad to be home again.