Saturday, February 28, 2015

The End of February

 Like all the years before it, 2015 is flying by at a rate which in turn, delights, frustrates, and astonishes us. Believe it or not, February is over with, and the third month of the year already upon us. Which for us means that we have been here at the "castle" for 2 months now!!! (and if we're honest, we still have boxes to unpack...)

Below is a "picturesque"view of a day in late February.

 As mentioned in the previous post Josiah has been busy chopping down trees, and sawing up wood (or visa versa :) Some of it we use for burning right away to keep our "castle" nice and toasty warm, but the rest is stacked up in between our pine trees to be used for Josiah's Maple Sugaring. (and yes tapping time is coming fast!!!)

 Moby enjoys getting to spend time outside surveying the land...

 A lot of times with his momma Sadie by his side. :)

 Later that afternoon I took a stroll out in the back with the puppies.

 It's beautiful out there, and I can't wait till spring and we can see and explore it to the farthest extent.

 Kitten too, likes to sit out in the sunshine watching all the goings on.
 Like Josiah and Dad chopping wood.

 Sometimes she has to actually go check it out in person to see if they're doing a good job. :)

{hardworking guys}

 {Kitten in the sunshine}

The cold February evening closed with an impressive sky. 
We are thankful to God for the past 2 months at our new place, and look forward to the spring and all the excitement it will bring!


Friday, February 27, 2015

Wondrous Weather

These first 2 month of 2015 have had their share of unique, and yes plenty of freezing, weather. I had taken some random photos documenting this since our move, and thought I would share them with you all! 

{One of the very first snowfalls at the "castle"}

{One morning we woke to everything coated in ice}

{Visually stunning for sure}

After a snow-less December, and a pretty gentle January as far as monumental snow went, we finally got a good dump on Feb. 2nd. I can't remember the exact amount.. 11 inches maybe?

Josiah spent all morning (literally clearing our 800 foot driveway with the lawn tractor. Perseverance.. that's what that man has! :)

Fan was visiting at the time (see here to find out about her) and loved going down the long freshly cleared driveway with me and her momma Sadie.

Despite the negative temperatures, we have managed to get quite a few outdoor projects accomplished, or at least started in on. One goal for Josiah was clearing the "south slope". I spent one late afternoon helping him clear and haul wood as he chopped the felled trees into proper lengths. :)

So how about you? Surviving this weather? Looking forward to spring? :)


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dog Days

The last couple months have seen quite a few canine comings and goings here at the castle.
Grace had found herself a new job, and was preparing for a move, so Shine and Moby would come up for visits.

Moby thinks it is SO much fun to chase his mom around the back acreage! Crazy energy that boy has!

Miss Shine tags along, at her own good pace. Never taking anything too seriously, always sedate and good tempered..

The dogs seem to think that our 10 acres exists simply for them to explore (if only they kept to just our 10 acres....). Sadie is constantly begging us to go outback for a run.

Shine could do without the extended adventures, but she's a good sport for a "stay-on-the-trail" hike. :)

The other furry friend that made an appearance, was another one of Sadie's puppies. I received a call from one of the families that had bought a puppy. They loved Miss Fan, but due to some behavioral issues on her part, couldn't keep her, and were wondering if we could re-home her.

So beautiful, loving Fan came and spent a week with us. She is a gorgeous, lithe, energetic, affectionate ball of energy!

She LOVED playing with the basketballs in the yard (in fact the balls now proudly bear some very large holes, in remembrance of dear Fan).

She was a very good girl when I took her and Sadie down the driveway to get mail, sitting and waiting in pained patience while I crossed the road to retrieve the miscellaneous letters, bills and ads.

But all good things must come to an end, and after a week of stealing our hearts (and ripping holes in our balls and socks..) it came time for Fan to find her new home.

And that new home, actually ended up to be with one of her brothers!  Hobbes' family just lost their older dog, Hobbes companion and playmate, and so it was the perfect fit for Fan, who needed another dog to take out her energy on. Hobbes and Fan, are fast friends and we were thrilled at how it all worked out.

But we aren't permanently puppyless.. yet.  Moby has taken up residence for the time being, because Grace made a move, and while it's a wonderful place for her (and hopefully Shine) there just isn't a place for Moby. So Sadie gets to have a buddy for a little while.

Well there's the stories of our dog days! :)


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Take Back the Orchard.. a Beginning

You have to start somewhere, on the most daunting projects, and that is what we found ourselves faced with as we stood and viewed our "orchard" a couple weeks ago.

 We had discovered, on one of the earlier trips to the property before we bought the house, that there were 10 fruit trees behind the house. 3 of them were staggered out closer to the pole barn, but then there was this expanse of scrubby brush ground, that when you looked carefully contained 7 more fruit trees.

 Our first prerogative was to find the orchard. It had been obviously "let go" and was overrun with brush, Autumn Olives, twiggy baby trees, and even a few good Oak trees as thick as my forearm or  thicker!

So armed with various clippers, saws, and other implements of destruction, we set at the first few trees hoping to free them for pruning at a later date.

Some of us simply had the job of dragging away the brush that was cut down. Mom and I at one point worked on the Grape Vine which was a story all in itself!!

 Shine, who was visiting for the day, supervised, while Moby and Sadie ran hither and thither, stopping every once and a while on their rambling to "check in" on us.

 Josiah has a personal vendetta against Autumn Olives. They're invasive.. destructive, and quick growing. They tend to crowd out and kill some of the native bushes and trees, and have been known to invade and sweep through a innocent empty field, taking over and filling in the once open meadow.

 Well his encounters with them in the orchard, did nothing to "sweeten" his opinion of them.

 They, along with a grape vine and other various menacing plants, succeded on strangling and suffocating the life out of this unfortunate Apple Tree. It's tortured dead remains casting a depressing silhouette against the barren landscape. But all is not lost, we can and will plant a new apple tree to replace and carry on the standard of the unfortunate one. And the new one will be kept free of any marauding Autumn Olives, if Josiah has anything to do with it.

 Some of the other trees had to fight different battles like this one that Kitten found fun to explore. It had so overgrown and intertwined it's top most branches, creating a living umbrella, that it had succeeded in shading out it's lower limbs, cutting them off from sunlight, the vital life line, and causing them to perish in the darkness beneath. Though I don't have photos of it yet, this tree went through a strict disciplinary pruning to bring it under control and help it to live in a more productive manner.

 Josiah, our talented ax man, took care of the bigger trees, while the rest of us took care of the more manageable sized items.

  This is a "before" photo. And the after is yet to come. 

It was a productive day in the orchard. There have been a few more that I have not been a part of, but we are making good headway in preparation for spring. Operation "Take back the Orchard" is in full swing!