Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Goodbye Garden

How amazing is it that one day you have 20 or so pepper plants loaded with all different varieties and the next day they are gone? Chalk that one up to a killing frost. The past couple of nights have brought Bee Haven Acres temperatures in the very low thirties....low enough to wipe out Summer's remaining produce and flowers. And so my day was spent removing old plants and weeding the vegetable garden in preparation for Winter slumber. What I experienced today was in stark contrast to just a few short weeks ago when the garden was teeming with plant and insect life. Today the garden was almost silent. Just a few bees remained - searching for just a drop of remaining nectar. But alas....no nectar was to be found. The frost had seen to that. While sifting through the weeds, I found several grasshopper carcasses. Their life cycle complete, the frost had gotten to them also. It felt almost eerie...the absence of life. However, I found that just scratching beneath the surface of the earth revealed tons of earthworms...protected from the frost by a blanket of rich soil.

I was not lonely in my labor, however. As always, my two closest friends remained close by my side...first basking in the warmth of the sunlight and then retreating from it in the shade of the asparagas. The wonderful thing about dogs is this...no matter what I suggest for the activity of the day, it is always their favorite thing to do. They are a constant source of enthusiasm and companionship.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Arrival of Autumn

We have had such unseaonably warm temperatures during September and October. As a result, the trees have held onto their green for much longer this year. Just within the past two weeks, however, have we begun to see our forest's colorful Autumn transformation. Autumn's chill finally arrived this weekend after three days of rain. We received at least 3 inches...which was enough to refill our pond to full. Saturday morning we arose to showers but by mid-morning were treated to blue skies and chilly Autumn winds. Our horses never seem to mind the rain and eagerly head to the pastures no matter what the weather. I cannot say the same for our goats, however!

Later in the day I saw this little fellow on our screen. It is hard to believe that I have never seen another one of these in my 50 years. I have no idea what it is, but it looked rather pre-historic. He was about 1 1/2 inches long and was keenly aware of my presence. Everytime I got close to snap a picture, he warily took a step backwards.....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bear Attack

All summer long we have seen the evidence of a bear's frequent visits to our garden. Several times our birdfeeders have been destroyed and the iron shepherd's crooks that hold the birdfeeders have been bent down to the ground about 90 degrees. We have crossed our fingers hoping that our beehives would be safe. Up until last night, the bears had stayed away from our beehives. Unfortunately, last night the unthinkable happened and we arose this morning to find our hives strewn all over the ground. Jack had been placing a motion detector camera by our birdfeeders each night in hopes of capturing a picture of this roving black bear. Last night the camera took a picture.......but unfortunately, this is all it captured.....

Our Crazy Guineas

This is the life of our crazy guinea fowl.......basically, they spend the day travelling in a pack all over the farm and all over the neighbors' properties. We can always tell where they are at any given moment by their characteristic squawking that sounds more like fingernails on a chalkboard! At night they fly into a tree next to the barn and roost over the heads of our horses.

A Visitor to Bee Haven Acres

Meet Roeluf. He is a 10 year old Fresian Gelding owned by my dear friends and neighbors Tim and Ann. Years ago they travelled to Holland to find a young Fresian. After days of searching, they found Roeluf. Ann has spent the past 7 years training Roeluf in Dressage and Driving. He often competes in Driving events and usually wins. He is enormous and he is beautiful. And to top it all off, he is sweet natured and oh so willing to do what he is asked to do.

His beautiful black tail hangs full and soft to the ground and his mane (although braided in this picture) hangs to his knees. He is a magnificent horse. We had the pleasure of taking carriage rides today in Ann's marathon carriage. Roeluf pulled us over the trails through our woods. What a gorgeous day and a gorgeous horse!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Building Fences.......Horsepower!

It seems we are continually expanding. Several fencing projects have yielded miles of fences and yet it never seems to be enough. In an effort to increase our goat pens, we hired an Amish fencing company to drive posts and hang non-climb fencing. We also had them increase the area of our chicken yard.

Here is a picture of half of their work crew. In keeping with Amish tradition, these two beautiful Belgian horses were in charge of pulling the post driver. What amazing, strong creatures they are....and amazingly well behaved. They seemed to understand exactly what their job was and they did it willingly.

Barely visible behind the post driver is a large truck and trailer that hauls both equipment and horses. It was driven by a non-Amish gentleman.


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