~ home sweet home ~
Just yesterday, the weather report said three days of absolutely beautiful! Today, tomorrow and Wednesday are supposed to be warm, sunny, bright and, totally, un-February.
Today is rainy, chilly and absolutely not clothes hanging outside to dry weather so no laundry today and not even thinking about it. January and February have been bone crushing exhausting and mostly spent on the road, tending to business which, for the most part, is almost caught up. The South Carolina Cherry Grove condo was made ready for Canadian snowbirds (hi John and Rosie) and then for the season ahead. The website has yet to be updated but VRBO is, mostly, updated.
In between trips, it's been farm work with time taken for drinking in the beauty. I never want to allow myself to be so busy that I forget to take time to enjoy this moment. Recently, my brother asked if I remember something and was surprised when I said, "No, I've got maybe half dozen memories of the last three years. For the most part, it's a blur." That's what grief can do to a person's mind and body; it can wrack you with such emotional pain that you simply lose huge swaths of time. Never let someone force you into how you should respond, what you should do after the death of a loved one. Thankfully, due to God's mercy and grace and the positive actions and prayers of many, I was able to come through to this side mostly whole. It takes as long as it takes...
The dogs and I did a pasture walk to clear out the water trough, pick up trash and take photos. Please note, all the work was done by the one with actual working thumbs as the dogs are moral and love support only. ahem.
This photo was taken from the far corner fence line, in the alfalfa field and the house is seen, barely, in the distance, to the left of Morris Knob (at about 3400 feet, the tallest point in Tazewell County), where the copse of trees stand.
On the upper hill, hay needed to be set but I have to wait until the afternoon sun has come 'round and heated up the stable door lock so it can be unlocked. (Ain't nothing ever easy, is it?) It's difficult to tell but the tractor is on a slight hill, facing downward, so I always raise the front end bucket to offset the weight of the 1100 pound round bale being picked up behind; the tractor is in 4-wheel drive for added security. I spend a lot of time thinking things through in an attempt to do my part at preventing accidents but pray and rely on God to do the actual preventing. Although, as Daddy says, "There's no such thing as "preventing an accident". I believe he's right, basically, it's just an oxymoron. So, I spent a lot of time thinking about safety and then following through.
With the tractor in reverse, I floor it, just a tad, to shove the rear spear into the hay bale. For me, this is a tricky part...the three prong spear has to be in the right places in order to pick up the bale and you can see snow on the ground so it's a trifle slick. The three prongs are one on top and two side by side below, somewhat forming a triangle.
Usually the round metal hay ring is frozen to the ground and I'm beyond the point in time where I could physically break the ground hold then move the feeder. The round feeder weighs close to 250 pounds so the tractor is put to good use by using the front bucket to lift the feeder and break the ground hold.
Before putting the ring around the hay bale, I remove all the twine that was used in baling the hay. Others have told me they don't remove the twine but all I see is a vet bill should the horses eat the twine and it gets wrapped around their intestines. It takes all of a minute to accomplish this step, lessens my anxiety and is safer and healthier for the horses.
Once the ring is broken from the ground I, physically, lift it from the ground
then walk it so the flat side is toward the hay bale
and drop it over the hay bale.
The last step is positioning the ring so it's even all around making it easier for the five horses to eat.
The dogs help by providing entertainment...Daisy on the left, Sadie in the middle and Sam on the right...chase, jump, bark and generally have a high ole time. Sometimes I join in and then we all take a toes up on the pasture to enjoy heavenly scenery.
And in the "whoever said God doesn't have a sense of humor department"...you might remember when, first of January, I was bemoaning the fact my wood supply was, dangerously, low. To some folks I mentioned I wanted a supply of black locust because it has the best BTU's of any wood around here, burns cleanly and leaves few ashes. I also mentioned that to God but on the next to last day in January, I figured He had other plans for me. ... Until I remembered Charlie's son had a small business selling wood. In nasty weather, on the last day of January, B. and his friend, delivered a load of wood, directly to my back porch! The wood rack had three pieces of spongy, sorry looking wood.
While the young men were working, I asked, "I'm not good with wood but that looks like oak, is it?" B. stopped working, turned to me, looked me in the eye and said, "No ma'm, it's black locust we cut out of a fence line about four years ago so it should be plenty dry. We really appreciate you buying wood from us."
I started laughing, raised my hands to the ski and said, "Thank you, God!" The young man grinned and looked at me. I said, "First of January, I asked God for a load of black locust and, honestly, figured He'd forgotten but this proves me wrong! I bet there's laughter in heaven right about now." (Truly, I know God doesn't forget but sometimes it's easy to confuse myself.)
I ordered three more loads and will, probably, order more before summer. I like having wood stored in the barn; makes me feel like I've got a hold on winter before it gets here next year. This young man is impressive! He shows respect by stopping his work, looking me in the eye, listening and responding with beautiful manners. Several times he said, "Thank you for buying wood; we really appreciate it." Pick me up off the floor! Charlie, you and K. have done a fabulous job; I love this boy...may I have him, please?
Using the Polaris Ranger and an old metal bed spring, I drug the yard to distribute horse manure. Lightly has been allowed to graze the yard and her manure means I don't have to spend money on chemical fertilizers (as if!). Next time, I'll use the tractor as this job was a bit too hard on the Ranger. (Daddy John did warn me...)
What's on your back porch?
If you've surmised my computer woes are over...they are, at least for the here and now but who knows how long that will last? For a lot of years, there have been no computer problems but, since October, that's changed. Hopefully, I'll have a spell where I'm able to visit around so act surprised when I show up on your blog, although, it'll be slow going for a while. Yesterday, I dropped a ladder on my right hand and the pain level is such I'm forced to go slow; thank God my hand isn't broken.
Blessings ~ days of beauty ~ safety ~ round bales of hay ~ dogs ~ black locust wood ~ another day above ground ~ I'm ready to go but I'm not homesick ~