Looking for White Cat

We’ve been busy here. You’ve been busy there, wherever your ‘there’ may be. So much going on that, like me, you are in danger of missing the gold-tinged greens and amethysts of ebbing August, at least as it is here on the Quarry Farm.

I did almost miss it. We have caught a smattering of the sunsets, the kind that include that frosted-animal-cookie pink. But any noticing has been as we walked past a window or distributed hay to Buddy, Marsh and S’more or put the hens to bed. Then one of us left a door unhinged enough that Beatrice opened the front door and let the cat out.

Although we do have several cats, it was White Cat that slipped out. White Cat is deaf as are many white male cats. While there are plenty of dashing, flying and sparkly sorts of things in the outside to entertain a house cat, there are even more along Cranberry Run and in a 50-acre woods that will feast on feline. One that can’t hear a predator approach is especially vulnerable. So we looked high and low for White Cat. And as we did, we caught late summer.

Wild plums ripen

The wild plums are ripening on the nature preserve. Some hang at eye level beside the rich yellow Jerusalem artichokes and purple ironweed on the stream bank. Most plums are rose gold, but some are beginning to flush to mauve. For the first time, Steve will be able to make wild plum preserves to sell at the Quarry Farm table at the Farmer’s Market. (Warning: shameless plug for funding ahead.) Reserve your jar now through the Gift Shop!

Jewelweed, nature’s cure for the maddening itch imposed by poison ivy, is in bloom in the floodplain. The algae growth that plagues Cranberry Run, as well as most of Northwest Ohio’s waterways, is camouflaged by shimmers of sunlight that ignite the riffles. Higher up, the sun itself glows through the tired summer leaves, although the sunlight is cooling from the white hot of June and July. Better and better.

Bushel gourd on the vine

Down low, bushel gourds swell under huge vine leaves. Recent rains have brought on a good crop. The leaves have already been used this summer in a stepping stone workshop. More will be made before the vines wither in frost. The chickens and Johnny the Canada goose find this ground-level search fascinating, especially since disturbed vines yield fat, juicy crickets.

Wounded White Cat and Birdy nose

Even lower, under Buddy’s barn, White Cat is found. The roosters knew he was there; it just took the obtuse humans two days to figure it out. He has earned himself a gash under one eye and a limp, injuries probably inflicted by Buddy. Back in the house, White Cat is thoroughly sniffed before he settles himself in for a good grooming. Outside, the finches and field mice can peacefully ready themselves for the cold months. We will remember to notice.

The start of something big

Memorial stepping stone

Last April we received an email from Julia “Julie” Mason, Medical Social Service and Bereavement Coordinator for Putnam County HomeCare & Hospice. Julie asked if The Quarry Farm would be open and ready for a visit from attendees of the annual Good Grief Fun Camp. The date was set for July 24, and we set about planning activities with the main event to be the creation of memorial stepping stones.

At the time of the calendar pencilling-in, we figured come rain we would be able to set up some tables on the porches of Red Fox Cabin and round up enough tents and awnings to keep the campers and their artwork dry.

It did rain for a bit, but we had no need of tents, tarps, or other such leak-worthy devices. Instead we had a roof over our heads, the warm red roof of the beautiful new Seitz Family Pavilion, so christened in honor of the clever, generous relatives that devised and constructed it on the site of the former compass garden (see http://thequarryfarm.com/2012/06/14/an-eighth-direction/.)

Just before the gable ends were finished

In fact, the construction crew finished the west gable end just half an hour before the Good Grief Fun Camp bus pulled up in front of the gardens. In honor of their being the very first visitors to use the new shelter house, the 28 kids plus their adult counselors were presented with gold medal sticker badges emlazoned with #1.

Inspecting a false map turtle

The campers learned about aquatic ecology and the life that populates and cycles through Cranberry Run as it passes through the nature preserve. They toured Red Fox Cabin and heard of its 1853 construction in West Virginia and its transport to Ohio in the 1990s. Since the cabin is too small to comfortably fit a tour group of 28+, some stepped out to meet Buddy.

Camp counselors and Quarry Farmers put their backs and arms into mixing concrete so that the visitors could make their stepping stones. Leaves, berries and bright baubles and stones were used to illuminate the words that they inscribed. Lemonade and cookies were shared, the aquatic creatures were released and the big yellow bus was on its way.

So many choices

Architect Keith Seitz and his wife and partner Lois left for North Carolina this morning. His crew of brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces are off to their corners of the country as well. The sun is going under now and the chickens and geese must be put to bed so I will close this with my most heartfelt ‘thanks.’ You have opened the door, several doors, to new Quarry Farm possibilities. Rita and Martha, you take great photos. See you soon.

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Making Leaves While the Sun Shines

Putting Burdock to Work

For everyone who wonders why there have been colossal burdock plants flourishing in certain yards in the neighborhood, you can rest easy as the plants have been harvested. The giant leaves from these towering weeds* were reserved for today’s “Art in Nature: Make a Lasting Leaf” workshop on the grounds of The Quarry Farm’s Red Fox Cabin here on Road 7L.

Casting in Concrete

NOAA predicted a hot, dry day without much-needed rain but the shade trees off the front porch kept today’s outdoor studio cool enough to cast leaf-molded birdbaths, bowls and stepping stones. But enough talk. Here are some photos of the Class of June 9, 2012.

If you couldn’t make today’s event, look for upcoming workshops posted in “events”, or get on our emailing list by sending a message saying, “Sign me up for the newsletter” or “Put me on the mailing list” or “Hey, you!” to thequarryfarm@gmail.com.

*Although I’m paraphrasing, a favorite quote says something along the lines that one person’s flower is another man’s weed growing where he doesn’t want it.

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