14 April 2016

Small Miracles

On this day in 2009, one of those small miracles of life on Planet Earth happened in the bedroom, much to the relief of Gypsy Girlie who was at the point of bursting. She was in great discomfort for more than a week before giving birth; she moaned frequently and it was heartbreaking to hear, knowing there was no way to ameliorate her pain.

She had come to the farm late one cold afternoon in February, so scrawny it wasn't clear she would survive. What she knew, and no one else did, was she was pregnant. For weeks she downed kibbles like there was no tomorrow, gaining weight until her figure was normal - but still she chowed down. She grew larger and larger until everyone realized she was soon to be a mother. On April 14th, over about five hours, she gave birth to five kittens, three females and two males, four orange and one dark smoke. They were christened Buster, Fred, Beatrice, Annie and Tadpole. Poor Girlie was thoroughly exhausted.

12 April 2016

A Cents of Community

Floyd takes care of its own, in exemplary ways. Last weekend, there were two good times which raised monies for good causes: the annual Empty Bowls and a special very local dinner.

Empty Bowls is an long standing project by local potters and soup chefs to raise money for a very deserving cause - hungry children in the community. For $20, you select a stoneware bowl made by a local potter and then select a gourmet soup to fill it (I chose West African Peanut Soup). The proceeds allow school kids to be sent home on Friday with a backpack of food so they will not go hungry over the weekend. Hundreds of people attend raising thousands of dollars. There is also a silent auction with locally crafted items. Yours truly was fortunate to be the high bidder on a set of fancy nesting Shaker boxes by local artisan Don George.


The other fund raiser was for a neighbor, right down my road, just eighteen years old, who needs a liver transplant. Various forms of insurance will pay for most of the direct medical costs but the family is below the poverty line and this money will pay for the numerous out of state trips to hospitals and allow the family to stay in a nearby motel while Kaytie has her surgery and recuperates. It was held at the Falling Branch Methodist Church, conveniently located at the end of the road, with singing upstairs in the church and dinner downstairs in the basement. It was a fine opportunity to visit with neighbors, eat some home cooked cuisine and just plain have a old-fashioned sort of good time. There was a silent auction here, too, and Mr. Fuzzy brought home a loaf of sourdough bread and a pecan-caramel cake. Those notoriously tight farmers donated over $5,000 for the family's needs. Charity begins at home and you couldn't get closer to home than this; God bless them all.

06 April 2016

Winter - Spring - Winter - Spring - ?

Eastern Redbud

"And if I belonged in this place it was because I belonged to it. And I began to understand that so long as I did not know this place fully, or even adequately, I belonged to this place only partially. That summer, I began to see, however dimly, that one of my ambitions, perhaps my governing ambition, was to belong fully to this place, to belong as the thrushes and the herons and the muskrats belonged, to be altogether at home here. That is still my ambition. I have made myself entirely willing to be governed by it. But I have now come to see that it proposes an enormous labor. It is a spiritual ambition, like goodness. The wild creatures belong to the place by nature, but as a man I can belong to it only by understanding and by virtue. It is an ambition I cannot hope to succeed in wholly, but I have come to believe it is the most worthy of all."
         Kentucky author Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House, page 169.

From The National Weather Service today: " By the weekend...we will see temperatures 15 to 20 degrees below normal...which equates to a hard freeze. Freezing temperatures are expected each morning Saturday, Sunday, and Monday...and Sunday morning we are looking at lows in the teens in the mountains and 20s elsewhere! That is really cold for April!!! And...there will even be snow showers in the mountains..."

Its hard to speak for the fauna but the farm's flora are certainly confused about timing their flowers and leaves because of the wild swings in the temperatures here. Monday the high was 70F, sixteen hours later, the sunrise temperature was 28F. This morning it was dead still and 29F, which killed the just opened leaves of some trees. The peonies have rocketed up from the ground in the last few days and are certainly very tender. If the forecast is correct, it will plunge to 24F (-4C) Saturday night. Every bucket and empty flower pot on the farm will be inverted to cover peonies, hydrangea, dicentra, day lilies, rudbeckia, columbine, roses, etc., with hopes of no lasting damage. 

The entire winter was a chaotic mix of unusually warm and unusually cold weather, swinging back and forth like a pendulum. Nonetheless, there seems to have been relatively little winter damage and some flowering trees, especially the cherries and eastern redbuds, are extraordinary in their floral displays now. There have been winds of sufficient strength to bowl over highway signs but thus far, the flowers and trees have been tenacious enough to retain their glory.

Here are flowers from around the farm, taken this week. Enjoy.


Lilac about to open