Fall Trees

Y'all may have expected a blast of fall color here, but our part of North Carolina is still pretty green.  When we get colors, we get a little gold, a few touches of red, and a fair amount of brown; the mountains lay claim to far more brilliance.  Here in the north central part of the state it's more subdued.

I've always been taken by the shapes of bare trees.  This one on our neighbors' land caught my attention this morning.  It's obviously been broken, most likely by strong winds.  It lives, though ---- relatively fresh little branches festoon its raggedy top.

Here on the farm we hear, see, smell autumn.  The crickets are quieter at night.  The bees slumber peacefully on sunlit flowers in the afternoon.  Two nights ago we heard a pack of coyotes close by.  They change their ranging patterns seasonally.  The deer have developed their winter-gray coats, and the growing fawns have long lost their spots while the bucks are losing their antlers.  I sense that familiar fallen leaves smell just a little bit, especially early in the dewy morning. 

I have never considered autumn to be a barren season.  Every sight, sound, and fragrance is unique.

"If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere." 
 Vincent Van Gogh  

Quiet Days - a few photos

Our fall hay cutting is just a few weeks away.  Early morning sunlight makes the northeast field even more beautiful.

Pretty weeds tangled near an old fence.
I love this old farmhouse and have photographed it several times.  It's on one of my four-mile walking routes; stopping to take pictures means the walk takes longer.  Delightful! 

 Nice old barn.  This farm has been in the same family for many years. 

Expansive views, here a beautiful field, are part of why we love living out here.  That's red clay in the foreground. 

This is what we see as we approach our farm from the west.  That red gate is new.  It marks the old entrance, long gone.  I love that huge pin oak tree. 

Wishing y'all a peaceful day from here on the farm.

On the First Day of Fall...

Here's what's happening on this beautiful first-of-fall day.

 Our flowers are still thriving.  These zinnias are my favorites --- bright, hardy, and the color of autumn!  I cleaned out what was left of the tomato and melon plants awhile back.  They didn't do well this year; I did get, though, plenty of green tomatoes for frying.  They keep well in the freezer once they're sliced.  What went wrong?  I planted late and didn't fertilize first.  I made up for the fertilizing this afternoon, getting the soil ready for next spring.  My donkeys produce plenty of rich soil enrichment!  Need manure?  Bring your truck and a shovel!
 Vic trimmed back the donkey pasture a little.  The boys don't eat all of it.  They're not like goats who will eat almost anything.  See the chickens?  Whenever the tractor or mower starts, they run to it.  The equipment stirs up lots of lovely bugs for them.

Opie, Virgil, and Otis spent time at the fence waiting for me to give them treats.  The tractor doesn't bother them.  They're very calm critters.  Love 'em so!!!

 Ernest T. Bass, large and in charge, did his patrolling once he'd had his share of bugs.
We put an extra coop next to the barn for Rose, my newest hen.  Here you see Jennifer Morrison (barely visible under the open front) and Mrs. Mendelbright checking it out.  Rose won't sleep high in the pine trees with the others, preferring instead the top of the wood pile by the barn door.  The donkeys watch out for her.  Their very presence keeps away the predators; we don't even hear coyotes anymore.  I'm sure that Rose will learn to love her new coop, though.  She was in there earlier today.  Owning free-range chickens is a challenge.  I've learned a few good techniques to ensure their safety over these last three years. 

A nice quiet day here on Windy Hollow Farm.  Happy Fall, y'all. 

Meet Rose.

A few days ago we found out about a little hen who was rescued from the bank parking lot.  That precious girl has now joined my flock.  Here's Rose, a Rhode Island Red.  And yes, she
too has a Mayberry name; Rose was  the first housekeeper Andy and Opie had until Aunt Bea showed up in episode 1!

Her rescuer works at Southern States where we shop for all sorts of farm needs.  My six babies (now almost 6 months old) were purchased there back in March.  We always talk about our critters when we're there with those friendly folks, so our friend knew we'd most likely want this girl. 

Rose arrived yesterday evening.  After a few minutes of clucking and curiosity back and forth, the flock welcomed her, and rooster Ernest T. Bass took special care of his new hen.  I was so proud of him.  He led her to food and water and watched her closely.  He's quite a guy! 

Rose will lay brown eggs.  How pretty they'll look with the pink, white, and blue-green eggs laid by the other girls.  What fun!  What blessings!  Welcome,  dear Rose, to Windy Hollow Farm!

A Little September Photo Gallery

Slightly cooler temperatures, earlier sunsets, and a few photos of  some of my babies on this beautiful evening:

 Ernest T. Bass, always on the go.  He and the other chicks are almost six months old.  The hens lay beautiful eggs; Jenny's are a pinkish-beige, Mrs.Mendelbright's are blue-green, and Aunt Bea, Skippy, and Daphne lay white eggs.  My older hen Thelma Lou is still laying her pretty white eggs, too.  I can never find Lucy's.  (I think Ernest T. is a black copper maran.  Do any of y'all out there know what he is?  That breed is as close as I can figure.  He is the biggest rooster I've ever seen.)
 Sweet farm dog, now 14 years old.  His original name was Lucky, but we changed it to Louie.  We don't believe in luck, but we sure believe in blessing!  Lou is a shepherd/chow mix.  See that black tongue?
 Vic did a little fishing in our pond tonight, and Louie rode back with him.  That little XRT comes in right handy --- a nice little ride around these 55 acres!
 Sweet baby Opie Taylor.  It's not easy getting a donkey to pose.  I think Opie was expecting a snack.
 Sweet baby Otis Campbell.  A super-friendly boy.
 Sweet baby Virgil Fife.  (If you wonder about the name, he was Barney Fife's cousin in the old tv show.)  He looks a bit thin in this photo; Virgil is actually a very large, hunky donkey. 

Critter fun on the farm.  We're so blessed!

More Vintage Books: Fancy Manuals

More vintage books today, this time a little set of Audels technical manuals from 1926.  These are so cool.  My father owned these nifty books; each one is leather- bound, has golden-edged pages, and contains extensively described and illustrated technical instructions. 

Take a look at the opening page of volume 4.  (Click on the photo to enlarge.)  I love that quote at the top: "By hammer and hand all things do stand."

Isn't that a wonderful drawing? 

Here's another book.  The exposure setting I used to emphasize the title and author made the cover look odd; the book is actually black.  Notice that the author's name is done in script, duplicating his own handwriting.

And here is the inside --- with a surprisingly feminine, somewhat fussy blue and cream pattern.

 The book was published in 1892.  Haskins dedicated it to his father - "respectfully dedicated," he wrote.

As keeper of my dad's books, I want to show my respect for him as well.  He wasn't a tradesman but a bacteriologist, but he had lots of interests. I treasure these wonderful old volumes. 


Collecting Vintage Books

I've collected a number of old books over the years, but I don't know the history of them all.  I'm grateful to know about this one!  A precious possession is pictured here, my grandmother's book of French poetry, given to her many years ago by an aunt and passed down to my mother in 1936; mom was a high school French teacher, and I'm sure she used this book frequently.  I love having these old inscriptions.  The book itself was printed in 1880.


That large torn volume in the center here was my father's German dictionary.  He was a science major in college and became a bacteriologist.  I'm quite sure he used this dictionary in college.  (Did you know that German was used almost as much as Latin in the sciences?)  The thinner books are various language and grammar texts that I found in an antique store.  The two books to the right of the dictionary are theological books from my father's collection.  That's grandma's French poetry book on the far right.  (Aren't the bookends cute?  They're by Mary Engelbreit.)  Grandma did the tatting on the dresser scarf.  I have a few other handmade pieces that she did, including a baby blanket for my son that she knitted in 1972.  (I miss her!)

I'm always intrigued by old children's books.  These represent part of my collection of St. Nicholas Magazine for Children.  The red bound volume is a collection of the magazine's articles from 1886.  The two thinner magazines are from 1876.  I have a lot more of these.  I use the ones in the worst condition as ephemera in my mixed media art.  The illustrations and ads are just wonderful.  The content of these magazines is extraordinary.  While there are stories and poems for very young children, the reading level is quite high. 

More old schoolbooks.  I bought these from various antique stores.  I am especially fond of the Camp Fire Girls books.  I was a Camp Fire Girl back in the '50's and am still nostalgic
about those good times!  The old history book second from left is from a seventh grade boy who has his name, Dan W. Whitford, written in various places.  The book was published in 1920.  I wonder whatever happened to him...


The gardening and home decorating books in this photo belonged to my mother.  I display them with more of my father's theological books.
I do my best to make almost every room in our house a library!  I display my collections in the dining room hutch (I keep my dishes in a cupboard!), on dressers, and in a secretary in the living room as well as on "regular" bookcases.  I'll be adding more book collecting posts later.  Stay tuned!