bird’s eye celebration

20170827_122848 (1)A mile northwest of here as the crow flies, family and friends gathered on the Seitz homestead to remember Miriam Joyce “Gran” Seitz. We made lasting leaf t-shirts and broke (lots of) bread.

A mile southeast of there, Andrew Seitz, sent his drone aloft to capture footage of the 50 acres that his grandmother had a hand in preserving. Click on the bird’s eye view here and take flight over Red Fox Cabin grounds and gardens, the old quarry, nature preserve, then follow Uncle Mike and his car (wave at Andy on your right) south to the farm animal sanctuary.Untitled

Thanks, Cousin, for the lift.

good morning

This morning before work (so sometime between 6:30 and 7 a.m.), Anne came in as I was going out. Well, intending to go out. She wouldn’t let me leave, wanted to show me something.

And she did.

chick

Welcome, then, to this little chick; the first live domestic birth here on The Quarry Farm.

 

Not tomorrow, but today

We’ve been away for awhile–not in body so much as in mind.

For the past few days, the sky has loomed gray. While the temperatures were in the 30s (Fahrenheit), the air was heavy with wet, the kind of damp that soaks into your tissues and no amount of blankets will chase the chill away.

The cold hasn’t stopped the morass of mud all around The Quarry Farm. While quilts and jackets kept us warm, the animals burrowed under Bridenbaugh straw. A few northbound red-winged blackbirds showed up this week to promise that spring is close. Then these vernal signals went silent, too.

It was like that earlier today. Then the sun came out a few minutes ago. And happily, so did everyone else.

Two sides to everything

This Martin Luther King Day is cold. Yes it’s January, and yes, this is Northwest Ohio. But a predicted high of 9 degrees Fahrenheit (wind chill -4) meant wrangling the goats into their coats last evening and coaxing Lucy the donkey into a new purple insulated number. The latter was much easier than anticipated. I would even venture to say that she liked it, although her girth meant that the length is for horses and the coat will need alteration.

Goats Marsh and S’more, however, do their best to peel back the velcroed straps on their parkas. Marsh rubs up against posts and building corners. S’more just reaches around and pulls his off. By sunrise today, his was laying out in the paddock. Giant goat Mister Bill, while happy to keep his coat on, boxed my left ear during my first attempt to shrug S’more’s coat over his squirrely head. With my ear and head ringing, it just seemed a good idea to throw boots in the closet and crawl back under the comforters.

Instead, Steve and I threw on more layers and drove to Bridenbaughs’ farm to fill the truck bed with hay. Tomorrow isn’t going to get any warmer, and the fires under those quilted coats have to be stoked since, even with arctic cold, all the creatures on the farm animal sanctuary insist on moving from outbuilding to outbuilding. The hay is always greener on the other side of the wall, I suppose.

As we drove back over the M-6 bridge, the UPS truck teetered past. Outside the gate, the driver had left a large, square, flat package. On its face was a note from Sandy, one of Mister Bill’s original caretakers. Along with “Fragile” and “Don’t open with a knife” the markered face said “Hi Billy” and “With love to my friends.”

Dog PaintingLast summer, Sandy and Doug visited Mister Bill here on The Quarry Farm. They brought him treats, delectable items that he unwillingly shared with most of the other goats. While walking the gardens and sharing a human lunch outside Red Fox Cabin, we told Sandy about our intent to hang paintings around the perimeter of the sanctuary. The package that came in the mail was the size and shape of just such a painting.

And it was.

We talked about treating it, how to properly display the piece, etc., and flipped the board to check mounting possibilities.

On the back is this.Fox Painting

Words fail. So I leave you today with Miracle Max in all his purples, blues and rosey reds.

Miracle Max

Nine more words: Thank you, Sandy for the winter reminder of loveliness.

 

 

 

Winter 2016 newsletter

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Prepping the back field for the Bee Buffer Project is one of the items in the latest issue of The Quarry Farm Newsletter. Click here to read all about it and what’s happening here as the snow flies and the seeds sleep.

The rain rain rain falls down down down

Today is rainy, cold and a hot cuppa sits in front of me. The floor has been mopped and mopped and mopped again to keep the muddy footprints at bay. Steven just suggested that we build a raised walkway so travelers can leap from stone to stone to make their way to the house in the event of such soup as surrounds us now.

I toyed with the idea of taking a photo of the preserve tree line, but the light is so dim that I’ll just tell you the trees are quiet and dripping grays and browns. The donkeys and goats are hunkered down in the paddock building in nests of straw, while the chickens do the same in their coop. The geese, however, are bubbling happy murmurs in the puddles that are fast joining into one big sea of waterlogged mud and winter grass.702974_10208387964407583_1535727157_n

Potbellies Carlton and Beatrice are trying very hard to be small, their legs crossed just in case the humans might get it in their heads that the pigs probably need to go outside to relieve themselves. Nemo was in her crate for a stretch, having thrown a large piglet tantrum because we couldn’t stop the downpour during her favorite hour of rooting. Now she is out and sprawled across her increasingly small dog bed.

David Seitz has worked steadily in the last month to ready the back grassland for wildflower seeds. The seeds were supplied by the Pollinator Partnership, as part of its U.S. Bee Buffer Project. The nature preserve was selected as a bee buffer research site as it borders neighboring farm fields at the south east corner. David and his daughter Ily spent much of Christmas Eve here working on the three acres that will be devoted to the effort. I hoped to take photos of the spot today.

Instead, I’ll keep my feet warm under a pink pig and plan on another walk on a dry day–maybe New Year’s Day–at least until it’s time to tuck the birds in for the night.