Archive | April, 2013

Les Saisons

30 Apr

Another difference that I have noticed from living on the farm: the seasons are quite apparent.

The first signs of Spring could not be missed – the chatter of the birds intensified, the slight warmth in the afternoon was appreciated, we had a pair of mating eagles visiting us for days on end and the slow changes of the flowers, plants and trees were clear as day.

This was the first year that I can remember not pining for Spring to arrive – the Winter didn’t seem to bother me as much this time around. It probably has something to do with the gazillion ski weekends and the fact that I have two very active youngsters who seem to keep me quite busy and therefore, perhaps I just didn’t have the time to wish away Winter. In any event, despite the fact that I wasn’t looking for Spring, it was hard to miss it around here.

I think in the city our activities didn’t change as much throughout the seasons – we were not tied to the earth and weather as much as we are now. There are no zoos to hide out in or daily story times to partake in out here, so when the weather turns from cold and rainy to slightly less cold and slightly less wet, you tend to notice. No more rain gear for outside adventures – although the boots are staying put. 

My parents grow a pretty diverse and large garden, so the Spring means work. Seeds to sow, seeds to plant, greenhouse to clear out, weeding to do…you get the idea. We try to help as much as we can, but basically at this point we are only good for the consumption part of the equation.

Which brings me to my next observation – these kids are suckers for anything they can pick themselves and eat. They eat a fair amount of veggies in the winter, but the greenhouse full of leafy greens reminds me how much more they eat in the summer. I could dip spinach in honey and spread chocolate sauce over carrots and they will not touch them – but fresh carrots that they pick right from the ground? Gone in a second. Chard or kale leaves from the greenhouse? Eaten like candy. I have no idea why this is, but I am taking full advantage. We make daily trips to the greenhouse to munch and graze.

 

 

Here Kitty Kitty

28 Apr

In the city I did not to notice a huge difference in safety, security or activity when dusk turned to night. The street lights popped on allowing us to see almost just as well as during the daylight hours, the number of cars driving by didn’t slow down all that much (until much later in the night) and the daytime noises seemed to carry on save for a few bird tweets who settled into bed somewhere and the honking of the boats pleading for the bridge to open, now all docked and done for the day.

But here, dusk is a very different time. The hundreds of birds and their endless daytime chatter shack up for the night. The frogs take their place with their croaking harmonies. The owls may start to make themselves heard. Sometimes you will hear the yips of the coyotes. But mostly it gets dark. Really dark.

This is no jungle but their are plenty of creatures out there. And my mind has a nasty habit of grossly over-thinking what lingers beyond the illumination of our porch light.

Turns out, a cougar does.

Well, not exactly outside our house – more like on the other side of the property, acres and acres away. But still! Holy shit Batman.

A few weeks ago while doing barn chores, my mom noticed that one of the older llamas (one with an injured leg no less) was lying down way off in the wooded area in the horse pasture. All the animals usually come straight in during this feeding time so the lying llama was a concern. As she predicted, it was dead. Killed and dragged about fifty feet and “hid” under some brush. Classic cougar kill.

So we hooked up a night vision camera on the tree overlooking the general area and collected some photos of the cougar coming back night after night just around dusk to feast on her kill. She ultimately dragged the llama a few hundred yards, under a fence and closer to the wooded area behind said pasture. Cougars are beautiful animals and ones that you rarely see, let alone capture on film. Needless to say, we were all pretty amazed at the images.

While the cougar sighting wasn’t a shock – we know they are out there along with bears – it was a reminder that we no longer live in a predictable urban neighborhood.

We live in the wilderness.

Back in the Saddle Again

27 Apr

Wow, it has been quite a while since I sat down to write about our life on the farm…you may think that I am just way too busy but in fact, I got lazy. You see, we didn’t sign up to have internet in our cottage – so in order to check my email or browse online or post, I needed to walk a whopping hundred yards to the office to do so. I was pretty good about this in the beginning but then, well, I got lazy.

So, after nine months of living out here on the farm, I finally decided it was time to plug back in to the world wide web. I avoided doing so for a variety of reasons – but mainly because it’s a pain in the ass. And this exercise did fair any better.

I dialed up the phone company to hook us up, hoping that it would be a simple switch (the cottage has had internet in the past). Of course, this was not to be, but not for the reasons I expected.

This little town I now call home did not have any more portals for me to hook into. I had to have the poor guy on the phone explain this to me several times – no portals? So, you are telling me that all the people behind me that may move to this town or decide one day they want to be connected to the outside world simply cannot? Are you serious?

Yes, as he so patiently explained, indeed they cannot and either can you.

Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore. I guess this is one of the oh so subtle downsides to living in a small town.

In the end, I purchased a router extender to extend the service from the office to our house. Et voila, I now have the whole world in my living room again.

It feels good. It feels new and fresh. I can look something up in a click of a button again! Hooray for technology!

In any event, I hope this allows me to start writing again….so if you are still out there dear readers, I’m baaaaaaack!

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