Try this at home

I keep getting offers for winter getaways to someplace(s) warm and sunny; blossomy and sun-kissed. I could sail away in a hotel on the water—a hotel of the sea with a chlorinated pool suspended several stories above the ocean’s surface. I could languish on a groomed beach with a drink in each hot little hand.

No thank you. I doubt that any flu shot will stave off the no-see-ums contained within those floating marine petri dishes. And beaches are best wild and untamed.

My feet do miss the feel of warm grass splayed beneath and between their toes. Steve came dancing inside before this morning’s sunrise. He had been gifting Nemo with her morning potato, thinking that his bare feet wouldn’t object too painfully to the inch of snow on the deck. Certainly not for a journey of several giant steps. They did take umbrage. I’m sure we will both do it again before spring because shoes can be such a pain, you know?

A friend who feels oncoming winter with and intense shade of mental gray was lamenting the cold season. “One more winter; I can do this.” Daylight is short and temperatures low. Time is lost to layering clothes and the aforementioned shoes. Flowers and leaves are shriveled to husks that whisper in wind chill.

There are still flowers, tiny blooms of sorts that bud with the cool humidity.

And there are leaves, of sorts, upon lost leaves.

The donkeys and goats, stand with their faces to the sun, eyelids half-mast. Their winter coats are woolly with prisms of guard hair. The turkeys and chickens turn the snow and dried leaves for stray seeds and insects that surface in the insulated layers near to the ground. Their winter feed is higher in protein than in the summer, but they prefer the diverse smorgasborg sustained in leaf matter. The roosters stand guard in their feathered jackets, like sentinels in coats embroidered in jewel-tone threads.

And the sunsets…you just have to be there.

When an illustrated print or pattern is framed as home decor, the accompanying mat is usually selected to highlight s color from the piece or to match the floorcover or curtains. A work of art—now that’s a different story. A work of art is matted in white or black. Black and white are not colors because they do not have specific wavelengths. Instead, white light contains all wavelengths of visible light. Black, on the other hand, is the absence of visible light. A work of art stands alone. Winter is the mat for nature’s art.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I have enough sweaters to frequent this Northwest Ohio gallery. I’m sending you a scarf, Russ.

Fall 2019 Newsletter

Prior to this summer, Board President Laura had dreamed of establishing an outdoor classroom along the main upland trail. Sam Schroeder, Eagle Scout candidate from Glandorf Troop 229, accepted the challenge. Once the trails dried out enough to transport supplies to the designated site, Sam went to work clearing invasive shrubs and small trees. He is currently constructing benches to seat future students and workshop participants.

Check out the project in person on Saturday, September 14, when you stop by to hear musical artist Russ Gibson in concert right here on Road 7L. Read concert details and what’s been happening on The Quarry Farm this summer as well as what’s coming up this fall; just click on the Fall 2019 Newsletter cover here on this post.

Finding the bees’ knees

DSC_1009This is a year of dragons. Saddlebags, skimmers, twelve-spots and white tales dive-bomb the farm animal sanctuary yard, plucking mosquitoes before they latch onto exposed skin. It has been stupid-hot of late, enough to keep the dragonflies under cover at mid-day. But in the evening, their wings shimmer position for hovering and steep dives.

Rain came today. No dot-com could have predicted this more accurately that the four bats that wheeled over the paddock at dusk; three more than we usually see when the chickens, turkeys and ducks are tucked in for the hungry night. Tonight, leopard frogs dive into Nemo’s mud wallow, skitter across the surface and churn the depths.

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In Leipsic, making 59 bush honeysuckle hiking staffs with Boy Scouts

The Putnam County Master Gardeners were onsite before the rains came. I was across county, talking folklore to Boy Scouts and helping them to make hiking staff of plants that shouldn’t be in Ohio. The Master Gardeners were here, tending to plants that should be, in their pollinator garden on the chimney-facing side of Red Fox Cabin. They set fencing as a deterrent to wild yearlings in search of fresh greens among the yellowing grass. Bee balm, indigo, milkweeds and Joe Pye weed have grown tall enough to attract them. More importantly, they call to pollinators.

As Joe Kinsella wrote, “If you build it, they will come.” Maybe ‘build’ isn’t the correct word. But since Red Doud and Joe Hovest moved large boulders into place, Phyllis Macke ID’d plants with ingenious signs she created and everyone moved soil, mulch and a purple tricycle in place, let’s go with that. In any case, they came: swallowtail, fritillary, monarch and skipper butterflies; honey, bumble and other wild bees moved from blossom to blossom. A hummingbird moth whirred in, unfurling and curling its proboscis as a nectar drinking straw. A widow skimmer dragonfly paused on the plant next door, pausing just long enough for me to click another blurry photo.

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With the scent of sun-warmed monarda in my nose, I picked a handful of mint on my way home and boiled it up with three bags of Earl Grey. The last of the chilled brew is at my elbow now. The mint is in bloom and off limits, waiting for whomever can make their way across the desert to save us all.

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.

Winter 2017 News

winter-2017-newsletter-1Download the Winter 2017 newsletter by clicking on the cover on the left.

There are two big walks–one to count birds for the international effort and a winter walk under a sky full of stars. Hope to see you in the Seitz Family Pavilion before each program.