Saturday, April 16, 2022


Why on Earth am I enamored with thistles?

They're noxious weeds, yet so beautiful and my bees love it, so I let it grow in my ox pasture next to my house. I've tried to turn them into cut flowers, but they put up too much of a fight.

Connor isn't as impressed.  For an old fart who is supposed to have only another 4 months to live after spleen cancer, he's showing no signs of slowing down.

Video of our evening constitutional:

All the more reason to stop to smell the roses, or thistles.

They barely have a fragrance, in case you're wondering.

Just wait until my irises start to bloom.  Spring truly is the most inspiring season in the Deep South.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Bee Happy

 We went to check on our bees on the crimson clover patch this evening.

Although they chose not to live in the nice hives I bought for them, instead preferring a hollow tree, my bees are still thriving.

Sometimes a little shy.

Very, very busy.

So gentle you can walk right out among them.

There's always a party crasher.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Farm Team

 Your mission should you choose to accept it: host an event at the farm with 2 weeks to prepare.

Farm Team's response: Bring It.

Me and Luke and our smattering of part-timers do a really good job of keeping it together, but in order to complete 3 months worth of Spring maintenance and projects in 2 weeks, we had to put forth a monumental effort.  To be clear, my employers set the parameters of  'Do What You Can'.  I'm the one who decided we were going Full Monty.

Mission Accomplished.

I edged all the beds and driveways on the South side of the property.

Our Birmingham landscaper, Gary Webb, descended upon the farm on a Friday with a dozen guys.  Every bit of Spring pruning, irrigation repair and restart, spraying and fertilizing and heavy equipment work was completed in two days.

Pruning the thousands of shrubs around here takes me 3 weeks alone, they knock it out in a day.  

Our brick mason, Troy, swooped in and completed a walkway at Cristian and Adjanie's house.  

I'd been struggling to scrap, prep and stain the 7 decks at the guest house.  The more prep work done, the more boards we found needing replacing. 

 Micah to the rescue.   He rebuilt some of the decks, completed various other carpentry jobs around the farm, finished painting the decks, rebuilt the skeet houses and repainted them...all in less than 2 weeks.

Shout out to all the other contractors who unfailingly always answer my mayday calls: the plumber, the cabinetmaker, the pool man, Miss Betty,  heavy equipment mechanics and small engine mechanics and our electricians from the Sherrill Company; because you know that Murphy and his Laws were in turbo drive, anything that could go wrong, was going terribly wrong.

Even the weather was being contrary. It's fun trying to plan landscaping, painting and trail work around two storm systems.

The dogs and I slept in the barn atop horse blankets.  No, I can't stay in the mobile home flanked by two enormous oak trees during storms.  Yes, I own a solid brick house a mile away where I could shelter. But, I choose to protect the horses and stay with them.  End of story.

Our pest control contractor, Ernest, came to help us out with trail cleanup; the back to back storms has kept him and Luke very busy for weeks.

Speaking of Luke, he and his mom, Karin, came in on a weekend to help me with some of the endless work. Luke and Karin are also great cooks, a day doesn't pass without Luke interrogating me: "Have you had breakfast?", "Have you stopped for lunch yet?".  If I hesitate, he whips out a homemade meal out of his lunch cooler.  I'm fat and happy, thanks to these two.

Another dynamic duo is the combo of Adjanie and Cristian.

I've lost count of how many years it's been that they've been solidly dedicated and dependable. The two bookends that keep Farm Team strong.

Heather from across the road ran all my errands for weeks and her hubby, Kyle, built her professional jumps in the evenings for our event.

Bri, who started helping me with evening chores, rolled up her sleeves to help me paint, also came with me one night to make sure my dogs were ready for their role in the fox hunting event. Let's just say Emmett was benched due to his maverick behavior and predilection for the Swamp.

I'd been taking riding lessons in Georgia, but my new instructor, Erin, travelled here to get us and the horses ready for the equestrian events.

Just like that, two weeks was up and it was Show Time.  Deli helped me cater the morning of the event.

She was also the dog handler for the fox hunting.

Heather and Pearl dazzled with their show jumping.

She was the leader for the fox hunting as well.  My instructor, Erin on Fletcher, rode with us to try to keep me corralled safely between them.  Jones had plans of his own; hopefully, I can get my paws on some video footage of his antics for another blog post... let's just say I was told I must have Velcro for my ass to have been able to stay in the saddle.  

Heather played a third role as leader of the Western pleasure riding around the lake.  

Tip of the hat to her for providing two of her horses for the event and her truck and trailer.

Couldn't have made it happen without our expert wrangler, Ernest in the background trailering horses all around the property.

Luke, the cornerstone to Farm Team, put on a performance with Oreo.

By Friday, the farm was emptied of guests, the event was over, and this marionetteer was ready to lay down and sleep for a week. 

In 20 years, I'll still be playing back the video in my mind of all the work we did for this event and the adventures of that day.  I'll carry in my heart the pride of  how Farm Team comprising of all its extended members came together and pulled off one helluva feat.  The contributions and sacrifices made by every single person mentioned fill my heart with gratitude.  Sincerest thank you to all.

                                                           WE NAILED IT !!!