Apologies for the long time between posts! Things have been crazy around here, between getting all the fields ready for planting, then the actual planting, and the mowing. Oh, the mowing. The grass grows unbelievably fast here, and I’m firmly convinced that the longer the grass, the more ticks there are. But on the plus side, I always see a ton of cool things during the 4 hours or so it takes to mow everything.
My favorite so far was a mama snipe and a baby snipe. She was hanging out in the orchard, and not at all happy to see a riding mower invading her space. I wish I could have gotten a better picture, but I didn’t have my good camera with me, and every time I stopped the mower deer flies attacked my head (more on that in a minute). I watched her lead her baby into the brush, and then she came barreling back out at me and tried to get me to “chase” her away from her nesting spot. It would have been adorable, had she not looked so genuinely pissed.
I’ve also seen tons of snakes, toads, and on one memorable occasion a bright green tree frog and a grouse while mowing. I try so hard to make those straight lines like you see in magazines, but sadly our yard looks more like someone mowed after a two-margarita lunch. I blame the toads. I don’t want to stop the mower to wait for them to amble across my path, so I end up just swerving out of their way. Butterflies too. I’ve actually left patches of wildflowers un-mowed, just because they look so joyful flying around them. Add to that the sunflowers that are randomly popping up near the bird feeders that I refuse to mow down, and ya… it looks a little haphazard.
I’m just happy that I finally figured out the mower has a brake. When I asked Gene why he didn’t tell me, he stared at me like I had four heads (I get that look a lot). We have a fairly steep slope in the front that leads down into a creek. I’ve actually had to abandon the mower and go get him to finish that section because I was afraid of losing control and driving straight into it. I’d get going so fast down the hill that I wouldn’t be able to turn the mower fast enough at the bottom. But now that there’s a way to impede my forward momentum, I feel much more in control.
I love being outside, whether I’m mowing or not. Now that I’ve mowed the walking trails, I’ll don my new bug hat, hose down with bug spray, grab my camera, and go on a nature walk. The flies here are unreal. And so very persistent. But I refuse to let them win, and dress accordingly. Gene got me some “tick-b-gone” insect repellent shirts that are eye searingly fluorescent, so ticks show up easily. And I tuck my pants into my socks, which keeps ticks from crawling up my legs (shudder). Although sometimes I forget that I did it, and it takes me an embarrassingly long time at the store to realize why everyone is staring at me. It doesn’t help that I have an affinity for bright pink socks…
I think my favorite thing about living here, despite all the obnoxious bugs, is that every single time I go outside I see something mind blowing. Like a mama deer with a just born fawn, baby robins, or an owl hunting. And lightening bugs! Our front yard looks so festive at night, with twinkling lights flying all over the place.
The other morning, I went outside and was greeted by the strangest grinding noise. It was loud. I couldn’t figure out what it could possibly be, until I looked over at the woodshed, and saw a squirrel gnawing on a piece of deer antler! I’m not sure if he was sharpening his teeth in preparation of defending himself against Chupa, who’s proven to be a mighty hunter, or if he just wanted some extra calcium. But either way it was super cute.
In other news, we got some piglets! I’d like to introduce Chief Big Ham and Porkahantas. Right now they’re in the barn, and tomorrow we’ll be fencing in an area of the pasture that they can roam in. I’m busily trying to win them over with treats, like bread, cucumbers bits, and watermelon. They’re very sweet, and I think once they get used to me they’ll enjoy cuddles.