Sunday, August 25, 2019

Flying Lobster

“It looks like a little flying lobster, with two eyes on it's tail,” Bev said as we looked at the flying creature hovering over the Cleome flower. It was completed undeterred by us watching it as it moved from floer to flower, hovering like a humming bird.

In no time, we were able to find that it was, in fact, called a hummingbird moth. I was intrigued by the thought that this moth was able to flap its wings at a speed close to what a bee might be capable of, and in a much larger body than a moth. I wondered what the caterpillar must look like, and how common these were in our area—this was the first I’d seen.
The Cleome attracts an amazing number of bees and nectar seeking insects, and smells a bit like an onion. By the end of our short season it has turned into a flowering bush.

Get a Goat Note from Alewive Farm at Etsy 


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Fork in the Road

Dirt driveway in the moonlight, pond on the right

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.,” Yogi Berra.

Twilight, as August moves more quickly into September than we might want, the quiet settles in. The frogs and crickets are still in chorus, but the geese have left , and the red-winged blackbirds, who owned the pond for the whole summer.The barn swallows, who chose to raise a second brood this year are nearly ready for flying lessons, so they too will be heading to winter’s quarteters shortly.

It is so cliché to remark that the time goes quickly, but it does seem like yesterday when we were awaiting the longest day, and reveling in the warmer days. Does looking to the future take our gaze away from the present, or is that just a part of the moment, an eye to the future?

Is it possible not to choose the right fork in the road?

Get a Goat Note from Alewive Farm at Etsy 


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

the Hay Wagon

A hay wagon in front of the barn with a conveyer pushing bales into the open hayloft

The hay arrived, of course, just as Bev was driving to Southwest Harbor, and I had the great idea of putting it up myself...I had the conveyer, right? Five bales on the conveyer, run upstairs, unload the bales, run downstairs, 5 on the conveyer.
There is something about the whole process of neighbor Larry cutting the hay. I imagined him on his beautiful 1952 McCormick, cutting and raking hay on a tractor that had been cutting hay longer than I've been alive, and Larry keeping it running, with the other equipment, day after day, when the mowing season arrives.
How many kids know how this works? Hay cut and baled, hauled to a local barn for the livestock to eat during the winter, in our case goats, put into the hayloft and stacked by hand. Do they know what the hayloft smells like on a winter's day when it is not so cold to stifle the smell--it is like a glimpse of late Spring, if you close your eyes. Thet don't know how excited the goats get to try something new, to taste the new hay, even though it comes from land less than two miles down the road.
Many bales had fuzzy seed pods, and I wondered what plant these were from. I imagined the seeds wintering over in the hayloft, to be scattered on the stall floor, as the hay is pulled out of the manger by hungry goats. It will get buried again beneath more layers of dropped and trampled hay until Spring, when the stall is cleaned out. The soiled hay will get piled up alongside the barnyard fence, where it will slowly compost. If that seed lands just right, and many do, it will find the Spring sunlight, composting soil and water, and come back to life.
How does this happen I wonder, and does Larry the McCormick driver cut hay year after year because he knows he is a vital part of this cycle of regermination and eating, growing, cutting, composting, rebirth... does anything really die after all?