Summer is upon us! After a long dreary winter I thought to share with you a few of the things bringing joy into my life these days. First – the ponies! The herd seems to be fully recovered from the Long Ride (as much as one ever does) and last week I went to visit with them, camera in hand. I was treated to a 15 minute display, crazy running and circling and prancing, showing off how well they’re feeling. I think they are letting me know that they’re absolutely ready to get back on the road after their nice rest. They’re in a beautiful pasture right now, 6 miles from the house, they miss me and they’re bored. They’re also beautiful and sleek and brash and on the verge of getting fat!
Luna Jack was in the pasture across the way that day as she was a little gimpy on one hind leg. She’s better now and reunited with the herd. Saint George is her special person -and he’s never been a horse person before. It’s lovely to watch them together – her eye calm and her whole being relaxed in his presence. One of the goals while Gryph is here this summer is to get her going under saddle and I’m curious to see how the horse/human relationships will evolve. Saint Finehorn is still a bit miffed with Gryph that she was away from the herd for so long, snubbing her and making her work for every bit of pony love, but her jealousy overcomes that when Gryph goes to chat with Luna!
Spot has yet to have her kid(s?). She’s obviously uncomfortable with her swelling udder and not a day goes by that I don’t have to shoo her out of the house at least twice! I’m glad she waited for Gryph to arrive before kidding – but any day now would be good.
There was no shower in the house when I arrived and the bathtub has questionable plumbing (and leaks out through the floor onto the ground rather than draining into the septic tank). Saint George put in cut-off valves to help with the leak (easier than taking the outside wall off the house to replace the leaking bits) which meant that taking a bath required two trips out and around the house to turn the tub water on and off. As the weather warmed up it was time for a different approach to getting clean and I decided that an outdoor shower would be lovely. I dug a big hole in the red clay behind the house (clay doesn’t drain well). The dirt daubers did their best to help with this project – but even in their multitudes they’re quite small compared to the amount of dirt needing to be moved so I did most of the dirt moving myself.
The hole was bigger then a pallet by half a foot on each side and I managed to locate the water pipes (without damaging them). Saint George filled the hole with gravel from the municipal supply and his grandson Shawn came over to help cut and glue pipes and dig a ditch to lead the water away from the yard and into the woods. Once all was in place the pallet went down topped with plywood et Voila! A perfectly functional outdoor shower complete with hot and cold running water – and horse flies! (Any suggestions about the horseflies that don’t involve large amounts of poison would be most welcome.)
Another very exciting bit of news on the water front is the soaking pool. This is one of the things I promised myself on the ride when showers weren’t a luxury to be taken for granted (longest time between showers: two weeks) and the chances to soak in a big pool of water could be counted with fingers to spare! I’d been thinking of it in terms of winter and building a fire underneath to create a “Cowboy Hot Tub”. Winter came and went, but good things do come to those who wait and the longest day of summer saw a great silver circle rolling past the compost piles, Billy Taz’s goat pen, the kitchen porch and a few wooden boxes growing Cinnamon Basil and root veggies to a secluded place behind the house. Happy Happy Joy Joy!
Lately there hasn’t been much call for irrigating. The rain continues to fall with great frequency and the gardens are thriving. I’ve been told there will come a time this summer when that will not be the case and we’ll be watering dawn and dusk to keep vegetables alive and growing. One of the thoughts with the Pool is to use it as part of the irrigation system. It’s not great to water a garden with city water as it’s full of chlorine (my boss was having an impossible time getting his pool balanced until he thought to test the local tap water – the chlorine level was higher than his pool was supposed to be!) Chlorine does evaporate off quickly from an open pool, however and since refreshing the water frequently will make the pool nicer (and cooler) for bathing the plan is to irrigate from the pool. Hopefully this will turn out to be as clever as it sounds.
I’m now harvesting from the salad pallet I wrote about in the last blog post. The muskmelons are starting to flower, as are the bush beans. The six kinds of basil I planted are all doing well and bringing me much joy as they find their way onto the table. For example: Fox created a luscious salad by grating a cucumber, adding a bit of minced fresh onion, a generous handful of chopped Cinnamon Basil, tossing in a Balsamic vinaigrette with a pinch of salt and pepper – seriously yummy!
The woods and yard are alive with mushrooms, some of which are poisonous, others delicious and many yet unknown. Mushrooms tend to grow in the same place at about the same time of year. They grow from mycelium (threadlike webs of roots) like fruit from a tree and if I’m careful as I harvest they’ll be a great addition to the table as I get to know what grows here and when to expect them.
Gryph sent down a bunch of her paintings with a friend from circus school (thank you Carolyn!) and having them strewn about the house makes me feel that much closer to my dream of having an informal art gallery here. It’s an amazing feeling to be expanding out into the house after feeling trapped in one room for most of the winter. Room by room and closet by corner, discovering, cleaning, deconstructing, organizing – Saint George took a truck load to the dumpster this morning and as I type Gryph is painting a closet and Fox is sweeping the front porch. I’d feel guilty if I wasn’t leaving for work in less than an hour and my mom expecting to read this post with her sister in NC this evening!
This blog post is starting to feel a bit scattered and I’m running out of time – but mostly I’d wanted to share some photos and give y’all a general update in the midst of the chaos. Like a couple of weeks ago when we had a hail storm with high winds and the corn got knocked down – and then miraculously stood back up again over the next few days!
My parents are arriving next Wednesday (2.July) to help celebrate my 49th birthday and we’re planning a floor raising – and the re-creation of the dining room – over the week that they’re in residence. I’m more than a little terrified – jacking up a house!? – but also really excited. This will be their first time seeing my new home and meeting the menagerie. The plan is to have the dining room gutted before they arrive so we can dive right into the floor lifting, beam replacement, and, ummmm, I have no idea what else or how this is supposed to work? – not sure if that’s faith or a dangerous ignorance. Most of the way around the walls are no longer connected to the floors. It’ll be an adventure for sure and I’m really excited to share my current world with my folks!