Monday, March 28, 2011

The Big Barn Reveal

This morning Graham Tree Services came by to fix my willow tree.  I only stayed for the first few minutes, then I had to go to work, but it was a real production.

They brought the cherry picker and the chipper into the yard.  You can imagine how excited Oskar and Ulani were in the house!  After reviewing the situation, Bruce got into the bucket and moved on up into the canopy.

As I watched from the driveway, he whacked off a few dead limbs on a different branch!  I had to catch my breath and remind myself that he knows trees, and after all I did hire them.  So before I changed my mind, I went off to work.

Now join me as I return home for the big reveal!

(BTW, ducks are ok!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Willow, weep for yourself

It's the classic view of Busy Solitude Farm.  Loyal readers know my old barn and huge willow tree.  Sadly, that view is going to change.
Oh, it's not a drastic change as changes goes.  No tragedies accompany this news; no one's been hurt.  But the morning I took these photos last week I discovered something unsettling.

See, right there in the middle of the big branch that hangs over the barn roof?  There's a hole in it.  You could put your hand through it.
This is not good news.

I've always joked that when that branch came down I could collect insurance and rebuild the barn.  That was a joke.  But if this branch came down in a storm it would do serious damage.

So I've called the tree guys to come take a look.  In all honesty, if I had lots of money I would have the entire tree removed.  Sure, it casts beautiful shade in the summer.  But willows are notoriously messy trees, casting little branches and leaves everywhere.  And in my five plus years here, two big branches have already come down, the first smashing the fence and the second nearly smashing my table and chairs.  But tree work is very spendy, as they say.

Thus the bad branch has to go.

I'm already in for having my front fence rebuilt this spring.  Between that and the tree, there goes my budget for improvements!  I plan to stretch a bit and put in a couple of fruit trees beyond the fence.  They can grow up a bit, provide some back-up in case the willow is removed in the future.

Watch for a new view of BSF coming your way soon!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

U La La Ulani Having Fun!

She'll be eight in April, but she's still a puppy to me!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Morning Bird Song

OK, I admit it.  One of the good things about daylight savings time is that dawn falls well within my "getting ready for work" time.  So I take my coffee outside, and while the dogs snuffle around investigating who's been through the yard overnight, I sit on the step and listen to the birds.

I don't know much about birdsong, but I am told these videos caught the American cardinal and the robin, as well as that most elusive character, the rooster!  Well, even I could have ID'd the rooster!

Please, get another cup of coffee and enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Morning Has Broken, Daylight Savings Edition

We sprang forward last night.  All day yesterday I heard media people declaring "an extra hour of daylight". 

There is no extra hour.

Daylight Savings Time simply means we take an hour from the beginning of the day and shift it to the end.  Same number of hours in the day.  It's that simple.

Except it's really not simple.  The photo above was taken at 7:30 am.  Not exactly "morning light" by my reckoning.  I live just to the east of the division between Eastern and Central time.  People here extoll the wonders of the evening sun -- by June, when the days are longest, I will sometimes go to bed before the sun goes down.  You may enjoy that.  I'd rather have some morning sun.

Before I moved here, I lived just to the west of the division between Eastern and Central time.  In June the sun rose around 5:30 am.  To me, that was an extra hour of daylight.  I would arise with the sun and have the great luxury of time before work.  To walk the dogs.  To work in the garden.  To bake or cook.  The sun would set around 8 or 8:30, giving me a short bit of darkness before bed each and every night.

I liked that better.

But we all know you can't always get what you want.  So I struggle through the new morning darkness.  With some effort, I hope to put my long evenings to good use reorganizing the barn, pruning shrubs, and getting the vegetable garden ready for summer.

Right after I have another cup of coffee.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hen on Ice

I have been distracted lately.  My job situation changed just as I thought it was settling.  Last night I joined friends to see Inside Job, the documentary about the 2008 financial meltdown.  It's quite upsetting.  We stopped at a local bar to discuss the film, and an actual barroom brawl broke out!

So when I got home last night, all I wanted to do was go to bed.  I stopped in the barn to make sure the ducks had come in, closed the hatch door, and the dogs and I retired.

Imagine my shame this morning when Ulani announced there was a chicken outside.

This morning's clear blue sky should be some indication of how cold it was.  And there was a light covering of snow on everything.  And poor Ms. Wyandotte spent the night outside.

After putting Ulani safely indoors, I raced back and scooped up the chilly hen.  She squawked at first, but as soon as I held her tight to my jacket she snuggled in.  I brought her into the barn and put her in a nest box.  A little cracked corn and she seemed much happier.

You can see all the ice crystals on her feathers.  (Her back is a little bare from the roosters mating her, but on the right you see the ice.)

Generally speaking, the chickens do not like to go outside when there's snow on the ground.  The ducks, however, have been eager to get out and muck around.  So for the past couple of weeks they've been going out alone.  I know that hens have not been out, because I see all the footprints.

But I will be much more vigilant about checking to see that everyone is indoors from now on.  I guess it's another sign of spring!