Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Last Barns of May

The grass is high, the cows are happy and soon haying season will begin.

Summer is here.

The iris beds are alive with blooms and flowers.

I am amazed that they came up so quickly this weekend.

One minute the iris beds were empty and the next morning there were dozens of them growing by the minute.

As I traveled some back roads (due to detours from the extensive damage from the freaky intense rain storms we have been experiencing) I found some more barns begging to have their photos taken.

I like the way the square bales go up a covered tunnel to the hayloft, from the ground.

The bales can't fall backwards and injure you.

The metal tunnel keeps hay dry and keeps the workers on the ground safe.

On the side of one rural road, I found another victim of the winter:

The weight of the snow and ice was too much for this ancient barn

The contents of the barn were tossed and damaged when the roof and floors collapsed.

This looks like a piece of horse drawn equipment, complete with metal wheels.

In a few years the rest of the barn will be covered by the vines and trees that are growing up around it.   Eventually this 18th century barn will become part of the woods.

Just another victim of Mother Nature.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Purple Box

On my ride home I noticed a purple box in a tree.

That box was not in that tree at 6 am when I drove out of the village.

I wondered what the heck it was and why it was purple.

That night as I checked my email I recieved this:

"Dear Colleagues,

We are already starting to get inquires about the purple traps in ash trees around the state. As you may know, the traps are designed to detect the presence of emerald ash borer, an invasive forest pest threatening Vermont’s forests. Due to a recent find in New York State, the Agency of Agriculture and a private contractor will be trapping for the pest statewide this summer- so if you have not seen them in the past, chance are you will come across a purple trap this summer!
Please help us get the word out- share the following press release with your e-mail listservs, include it in your blog, add it to your newsletter, or tweet about any traps you come across out in the field!  Thank you. "

Here is some other interesting information about this project and this bad bug:

Montpelier, VT – Purple, three-sided traps resembling a box kite can be seen in ash trees throughout Vermont as part of a surveillance program by federal and state agencies.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture are partnering to survey for emerald ash borer (EAB), a non-native, wood-boring beetle that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the eastern United States and Canada. The Monteregie region of Quebec Canada is the closest EAB infestation to Vermont’s northern border. To date, EAB has not been detected in Vermont.

These traps will be placed in ash trees in all counties and at high risk sites, such as campgrounds, sawmills, recreational areas, major transportation arteries, etc.
The purple traps are coated with an adhesive that captures the insects when they land and are baited with a lure to attract the pest if it is present. In addition, the color is thought to be attractive to EAB, and is relatively easy for humans to spot among the foliage.

“The traps being placed around Vermont will help us discover if we have EAB in Vermont early on which allows us to address this invasive pest immediately,” said Jon Turmel Vermont State Entomologist. “Early detection is the best tool we have to fight EAB. The ash tree is a very important natural resource in our state and we want to do everything we can to protect our trees.”

“The triangular purple traps do not pose a risk to humans, pets, or wildlife; however, the non-toxic glue can be extremely sticky,” said USDA State Plant Health Director, Mark Michaelis. “We want people to understand that the traps don’t attract or pull beetles into an area, but rather they are a detection tool to help find EAB if it is present in the area.”

These traps will be monitored and remain in place throughout the summer during the beetles’ flight season. The traps will be monitored throughout the summer and removed in the fall. Results from the trapping will be available once the traps are removed.

If you see a purple trap on the ground, please call the USDA’s toll-free num­ber: 1-866-322-4512. The EAB hotline is staffed during regular business hours and a message may be left at any time. Callers are asked to include a name and telephone number.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera:Buprestidae) is an invasive species wood boring beetle, native to China and eastern Asia, which targets ash trees. EAB probably arrived in North America hidden in wood packing materials commonly used to ship consumer and other goods. It was first detected in July 2002 in southeastern Michigan.

EAB attacks only ash trees (Fraxinus spp.), and all the ash species—including green, white, black, and blue—are at risk. EAB kills stressed and healthy trees and is so aggressive that ash trees may die within two or three years after they become infested. EAB larvae tunnel under the bark to feed in the phloem and outer sapwood producing galleries that eventually kill the tree. For additional information on EAB, visit http://www.purpleeabsurvey.info/.

So now you know more about the emerald ash borer than you ever thought possible.

If you have friends or relatives living in Vermont, please spread the news.

We love our trees here and we hate bugs that harm them.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nap Time

The calves have been taking their naps on top of the old hoop barn canvas cover.       I do not know why they prefer to lay on this instead of the grass.

Its been 85 degrees here for a few days.   Perfect for growing grass, garden vegetables and calves.

The herd is usually in the shade by 9 am each morning chewing their cud and taking naps.

In the evenings as I sit on the old farm house porch, all I can hear are the Whippowills calling into the wee hours of the night.       
I think summer is already here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wanda's Calf

There have been so many fabulous suggestions for this latest calf's name.

What was so evident was that so many of the suggested names started with W-I-L.

Willow, Willa, Wila, etc.  Some with very humorous explanations.
All of them fit.

So......Without further ado, I think Willow Wynne is a nice name for a gal with her beginnings.  

Wynne is Welsh for "blessed", and after the winter from hell, she certainly is blessed to be here.

I have just been calling her "Willi"

It took all of you to help name this fancy heifer, and I really appreciate it!!!

Thank you!

Come visit her when you get a chance.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pantless Scarecrow

After checking on the cows and calves this morning, I headed to the garden.

The skys were black, the wind was cold and it was going to rain soon, but I needed to continue getting seeds into the ground.

Today I planned on digging in two 6 foot cedar posts just for the extremely rare pole beans from our 97 year old retired village doctor.

I am only half way done the garden.  It was too windy today to try to plant tiny seeds like radish and lettuce, so my goal today was to get the larger seeds into the soft earth.

I have made a good map of the stuff I have planted already.

I opened the bean pod and these very pretty seeds were asking me to plant them!

I just love these beans.

I have done my best to disperse some of these seeds to people who will actually plant them and continue to save these rare heritage seeds AND pass them around to other folks to plant as well.

I also made a bright red scarecrow, right on one of the bean poles, to deter any critter who might dig up or disturb the seeds.

It was so windy that the scarecrow was spinning around and smacking me in the face as I tried to secure it to the pole!

I added a few pieces of my dads survey tape to make it flap loudly in the wind.

In the near future I will dress it up some more, (Pants!) and add bells and stinky purfume as well.  Hopefully, this will protect the garden until I put my fishing line fence up.

Do you have a scarecrow in your garden or any other deterrant ?

Tell us what you have done to ward off the big veggie eaters.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I found out rather late that yesterday was the end of the world.

If indeed the Rapture actually took place, then this morning I woke up in Heaven and here is what it looks like:

In my humble opinion, Heaven and Vermont are identical.

What does your heaven look like ?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Garden Time

The ice is gone, the ground is soft and the crazy rain is here again.

I have an abundance of seeds and some ready-to-go into the ground plants.

Its almost time to get the garden going.  I have severe garden fever and have had it for several weeks.

Although the calender says to plant after May 25th.
Its going to be hard to control myself!

The rototiller man was here last Saturday.

He widened my garden by 10 feet or more.    I was so surprised when I drove into the driveway.

I have 2 clumps of rhubarb and a tasty clump of chives already growing nicely in this 25x25 garden plot.

I may not have the largest garden in town, but I sure have a very scenic one!!

My best chair is going to have a great spot for the summer.

While I wait to plant, I am making plans.

Going to the Seed & Plant Swap was a great thing to do because all the expert gardeners there gave me lots of ideas.

My plan to eliminate/reduce weeds is to put down newspaper and straw between the rows and around the plants.  I have lots of soy inked newspapers I am saving for the job.

And today a very nice farmer delivered 6 bales of their home grown Vermont straw right to the door!

I picked up the required cedar posts for the rare heritage shell beans our 97 year old retired village doctor gave me.

Since I have been giving away a few bean seeds at a time to anyone that promised to grow some and SAVE some seeds, I only needed 4 posts.

I picked up a bag of some special Moo Doo too.

It has been raining hard for 3 days and right now its dark and cold. There is a probability of a hard frost this week, so I am really trying not to plant all my plants till the end of the week.

Until then, we are harvesting a bumper crop of asparagus every day from the big garden on the other side of the farmhouse!!

Every day we have a meal from these nutrient rich veggies and then freeze as many as possible for winter meals.

I went to check on the cows and came home with more plants, needed turnip and radish seeds, 3 dozen FRESH eggs from some very happy hens and black oil sunflower for the unusual birds that have been frequenting the bird feeders here.

I want to make a scarecrow for the garden.

Maybe a few of them.

Anyone have any simple plans how to bang one together?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Deconstructing A Bad Memory

The hoop barn that collapsed February 6th and ended the life of the calf known as Tiny Tim, is being taken apart.    It was a horrible loss.

If you are an emotional kind of person, do not click on the links above or you will just be a weeping rag the rest of the night.      I am.

The process of taking this big barn apart, piece by piece, has begun.

The farmer and his son are again working together to take the bulk of this hoop barn apart, just like they did for the barn that burned to the ground December 16th.

A special saw that came in a special suitcase is cutting all the hoop barn roof pipes when it is not pouring rain out.

This task has to be carefully orchestrated as the tension on the back wall is very dangerous.

They labor as a team this father and son.    Now a very experienced team, because of a horribly cruel winter.

It is a quiet task. 

There is silence as they move quietly and carefully around broken boards, bent metal and heavy torn canvas.

There are no plans to replace this barn.

Dismantleing it is a time consuming task.

I will continue to post photos of the progress of this project right here.


All the pipes have been sawed down, the wood from the back wall has been removed and now only the frame of the hoop barn remains.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

HillBillies and Apple Blossom Queens

Mountainside grazing. 

Here is what it looks like in the rain and mud.

Only took the herd 2 days to decimate this 7 acre steep rocky slope.

Lots of wild apple trees in this steep field and a crystal blue mountain stream.

They were waiting to be moved to a new field this morning.

Unsinkable Susan demanded her Nabisco Graham Crackers.

I just can not believe this cow survived the winter.

The calf nursery.

They nap while their moms graze.

Not a single calf has gone under the electric fence in this steep field.

After Wanda's calving escape, a heavy duty charger was added to the fencing.

It works.         Especially when wet!

I zapped the crap out of myself, twice, when I tripped and fell onto the wire this morning.  The fillings in my teeth are STILL throbbing!

The itty bitty trickling stream is really making waves as it comes down the field.

I had no sooner finished telling someone that my cows do not like to eat woody brush, when I saw Google doing the " apple blossom 2 step."

Branches and all.

She is part giraffe.  Part Goat.

She trimmed them good!

The HillBilly Blossom Boys.

They ate the branches and blossoms that fell to the ground.

Blossoms and Milk make calves grow.

Wanda could feed an entire village on that full udder.

She needs 3 more calves on her.       

All I can think of is that special Simmental cheese that can be made from Simmental milk.

I want me some.

The cutest Apple Blossom Gal.

Wet and nameless.       Ms. "W"

She will be a week old tomorrow and already she is wide, thick, deep and long.

I hope she will be a good watermelon and squash eater this fall.......