Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy has just passed through.  It is pretty windy out there this morning but I'd say that we drew the long straw this time.  We did have some rain and wind overnight but nothing to frighten us.  Central Vermont must have been working overtime because our lights didn't flicker but once.

Unfortunately I can't post any pictures because I am so technically challenged that I can't figure out how to get my photos from my PC to my MacBook.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Back in August we welcomed Atticus into our family.  We drove to Toronto on a Thursday, spent the night in Milton, Ontario and drove Halton Hills to Dawin Kennels to meet Atticus and bring him home.  He has grown lots since this picture was taken and is a real caution.  Last night he had his first 'puppy class' and was absolutely a mess.   All the stuff that we had practiced at home went right out the window and he became a leaping wild man.  You can see the twinkle in his eye in his picture!!!   He'll get it but it'll be a challange.

We are having some 'weather' this afternoon.  The wind has picked up and the rain is steady and due to last through the night.  The summer has been a dry one so we are appreciating this good soaking.  When transplanting perrenials over the weekend I was surprised at how dry the gardens were.  Not just a few inches of dry soil but dry a good foot down.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


The guys from Elhannon showed up this morning just before 7:00.  I needed to drive FSS to Pittsfield as his jitney is in the shop with a bad gas line.  By the time I returned they had dug all three holes and place the trees.  Below is the Cornus Florida, just off the screen porch.
This is one of two Sargent Crabapple trees.  This one off the corner of the garage and the other behind the perennial garden.


What a vision!  We had quite a rainstorm last evening and the temps dropped dramatically.  We were sitting at our little kitchen table chatting and noticed this rainbow in front of Cupcake Hill.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


This is a former gravel pit located on the 'dugway' just behind Tornabene's on Rte 7.  I stopped there on Monday on the off chance that there might be some active nests.  I counted seven!!!


Thank fortune the extreme heat of the last few days has abated.  Unfortunately the gnats that appear with the heat and humidity have arrived in full force and have driven me indoors.  We just had a bit of a downpour an it seemed to me to be a good time to venture out to the garden and plant the two new miscanthus that have been sitting by the back door since Monday.  They are planted and have a good amount of compost in their holes but that was all she wrote.  My skin is crawling!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Lovely morning in the nursery garden.  Pulled some weeds to uncover some perennials that I would like to transplant into the new bed in the front.  All was going well until I spotted a few leaves of the dreaded Bishop's Weed.    ARRRRRG !  I grabbed the Round Up and sprayed each leaf liberally.  I hate to use herbicides but Bishop's Weed requires extraordinary measures.  Unfortunately it has rained this afternoon and I may well need to reapply in  the morning.

In anticipation of planting in the new bed I made a trip to Whitney's in Cheshire for some new perennials.  The rain threw a spanner into that plan.  My plants are sitting in the back of the RTV having had a drink of fertilizer.  Tomorrow is another day.


English Basket

#2 English Basket

Both of these baskets came from Reading Greenhouse and I couldn't be more pleased with them.  I've been fertilizing them at 1/4 dose of Maxsea every time I water and that turns out to be once a day.  Religious picking of the faded blossoms has paid off.

You can see another speciman in a clay pot at the bottom of the steps.  That happens to be a well traveled Angel's trumpet by the name of Charles Grimaldi.  Charles spent the winter in the tack room and seemed to do reasonably well there.  The blossoms are the most heavenly shade of yellow almost a tangerine shade.


Just up Tubs Rd from our property line is a lovely little stand of Ebony Spleenwort.  Cicero and I took a walk up there this moring and I took a few pictures.
I'd love to find the perfect spot somewhere on our patch and transplant a little of it. I'll keep looking for it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


There are some magnificent hay fields on either side of Mt Anthony Rd just as you pass around the bend from Van Shaik's property heading west toward the height of land above Tinker Baker's holding.  The either day the fields on both sides of the road were rife with Bob O Links.  I stopped to watch and couldn't resist taking a picture of this fine fellow on the post just outside my car window.  Not only was he in full plumage but also in full voice.


One day last week I stopped at the South Stream Wildlife Management Area on my way home from Bennington.  It it a lovely spot where occasionally I spot an interesting bird.  On this day I noticed a bird emerging from the reeds to walk along on the lily pads.  Hmmmmm?   What could it be?  It was definitely a marsh dweller.When I got home I hauled out my National Geographic  Birds of the Northeast and went to Corne''s All About Birds.  Success!  My bird was a Sora Rail nicknamed the Marsh Walker.  Last weekend I took my camera to the WMA and took quite a few pictures of the Sora only to find that I had inadvertantly move the mode dial on my camera which insured that every single picture was out of focus.  On my next trip there my camera was properly set and I captured quite a few decent images.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Twice Blooming Azalea

The yellow azalea that I planted last fall bloomed shortly after planting.  Much to my surprise and delight it is in bloom in May.
This morning is a repeat of yesterday.  The ceiling is very low and the mist is rising up from the valley against a background of freshly greened mountains.  More rain is predicted for today and right through to Friday with Saturday and Sunday to be warm and sunny.  It is a very good thing that I have raised garden beds as the soil is totally saturated.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Yesterday afternoon I sat down with determination and my Newcomb's field guide and went through each and every step from 'regular flower with 4 parts'; opposite leaves, wet meadow, etc.  I discovered two small patches of this sweet little flower last weekend while mowing the lower corner of our meadow.  My first attempt at identification was with my Peterson guide.  Arrrrgh  !   Finally turned to the very reliable Newcomb's!!


Several years ago I began monitoring a  pair of Peregrines nesting on Quarry Hill cliffs.  On Friday I was fortunate to be watching during a food delivery and watched the female feed at least two very youg chicks.  Because the eyrie is a shelf of sorts it is very difficult to see over the outer edge.  When the chicks are a bit larger/taller it will be easier to count heads. The picture above are is 2009 and taken from the foot of the cliff.
My lens isn't powerful enough to capture a clear picture of the bird on the snag.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Imagine my delight upon discovering a naturally occuring Cornus Florida growing on the side of the road here at the final AMEN FARM.  The first year that we were here the roadside brush, multi flora rose and young white pines had managed to completely obscure it.  That summer FSS and I made it a mission to remove the old barbed wire and all the brush along our roadside.  It was not a task for the faint of heart but we got it done and in the process discovered a most beautiful American Dogwood .


Pegging out the laundry has always been a part of my life.  My mother had a wonderful clothes yard right off our back door and hung the laundry winter and summer and all in between.  In winter the sheets often froze solid and my mother would ask me to help her get control of those frozen planks to bring them in to finish drying on a hanging rack.  There have been satisfactory 'clothes lines' in every one of our back yards ... three in all,  until this move to Tubs Rd.  I think that the picture says it all.  This clothes pole is nearly useless!  It collapses at the drop of a hat.  If the laundry is too heavy, the wind too stiff, or the load is uneven the mechanism fails and eveything ends up on the ground.   grrrrrrrrrr
There is hope on the horizon!   As soon as the driveway is rebuilt and the temporary lines that came from the barn to the rental trailor are removed there will be a proper clothes yard built off the end of the garage.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Goodness!  What has happened to my blog page??  It seems to be operating in reverse???  Oh well,  guess if I just keep typing it'll all work itself out.
Don't you just love this lovely Toad Trillium?  I had thought that it hadn't survivied the trip over here from the former farm.  Imagine my delight when it appeared as if by wizzardry through the duff from last year.
We've had some glorious warm weather over the last week but that has come to a screeching halt in typical April fashion.  Sunday started out warm and cloudy buy by late afternoon the rain had started and the temperature plumeted.  We lit the Glenwood and hunkered down for the evening.  It rained and blew all night and most of yesterday.  Today we once again have black clouds and temps in the low fifties.   Brrrrrrrrr!!!!


This post will be a bit of a ramble as I am trying to fathom the 'new' blogger format.  Isn't this guy just the kewelest?   He and two other fellas ( Jakes) meandered through our  pasture this morning.  Me thinks that they were on a 'practice your gobble' assignment.  Gobble they did!!!

I'm going to attempt to imbed another photo.  Voila!!   It worked.    The photo above captures the two Jakes gobbling in unison.  Pretty comical.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


As you can see Cicero has had a vey tiring day.

I finished up the field mowing and the remainder of the mowing on the east side of the driveway. The rain has started mostly in the form of a very heavy mist.

This morning I loaded up the RTV with our excess stove wood that had been stored on the porch and restacked it next to the fireplace wood pile. There a few sticks in reserve for the Glenwood so that I can make a batch of bread tomorrow. I have a feeling that the house will be pretty chilly come morning. A fire will feel heavenly!

Tonight's dinner will be 'catch as catch can' as neither of us has the energy to either go out for dinner or create something new here at home.

Oh, and because I forgot to mention it earlier. Mr. Bear squash'm all flat paid us a visit while we were in Tobago. End result was a mashed birdfeeder. I debated taking it down before we left but felt sorry for the birds. Lesson learned!


Here is a shot of our native American Plum tree. Sad to say I missed taking a picture when it was a it's peak. Maybe next year.

"Himself" took the truck and trailer up to Bennington this morning to collect my Kubota tractor/mower. The remainder of the day has been spent mowing in anticipation of the rains that are predicted. Just now everything is bone dry and fire danger is high.

Yesterday I dug up some Ostrich Ferns by the side of the road and transplanted them into my woodland garden. I gave then a good watering and when I checked on them this morning they were looking just fine.

I'm considering the idea of turning our south meadow into a horse pasture. It is littered with that damned Multi Flora Rose and other woody plants but perhaps I'll be able to get it under control with a summers worth of consistent mowing. Time will tell.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

There was precious little in the larder when we returned from Tobago. I spent most of the day catching up on laundry and then made a couple of loaves of Shredded Wheat bread.

I had been concerned that we would miss most of the Vermont spring .......that it would happen while we were gone. I shouldn't have been concerned. Apparently the weather was quite seasonable and retarded most of the premature blooms. My wildflower garden is looking lovely right now. The double Bloodroot is in full bloom as is the Dutchman's Breeches, Mertensia, Hepatica, The Mayapple is unfurling! And the Prunus Americanus ( American Plum) is in flower. It was the only native plant that the previoous owner didn't cut down. All is right with the world. On the other side of things the invasive Garlic Mustard continues to thrive and spread. I pulled heaps of it before leaving for Tobago but have come home to find that it has doubled in my absence. Damn! Also found a gazillion new thistle in the horse pasture. Guess the next couple of weeks will be on my knees pulling Garlic Mustard and killing thistle.


We are home from three glorious weeks in Tobago. This dear little blue cottage in the seaside village of Parlatuvier has been our home for those weeks. We first discovered the charms of this village in 1996 and have tried to return each year for much needed restoration.

Unfortunately we have been unable to head to Tobago since 2008 due to complications of selling our farm and relocating to a new and much smaller holding. So, this years trip was all the sweeter for all the missed years. Not all that much has changed since last we were here. The derelict 'pink papaya' cottage remains empty and unsold. Joyfully the 'dusk to dawn' light over the front porch is off as is all the electricity. It appears that many of the windows have been taken and the doors flap in the breezes. Such a waste.

One morning we looked up from our coffee and Kindles to see this two masted sail boat with Nantucket Red sail passing across our bay. Just beautiful!

Our friends Bea and Win operate a marvelous guest house here in Parlatuvier for six months of the years. Win and FSS (my husband) went to Kent School together back in the late 60's. In 2006 we were having a late afternoon swim in the sea and we struck up a conversation with a couple that had just bought fish from the local fish pier and were swimming toward us. We introduced ourselves. Imagine our surprise when it turned out that both husbands had gone to the same school. Lots to catch up on and we have maintained a wonderful friendship ever since. Dinners were shared at our little cottage and on their marvelous veranda high on a cliff overlooking the sea. We'll see them this summer here at Amen Farm in late July.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Yesterday I took a hike with a friend on one of North Pownal's "Ancient Roads" which coincidentally happens to be the road we live on. The maintained section of Tubs Rd ends about three tenths of a mile above us and that is where the ancient section begins. We climbed straight up for nearly a mile, vestiges of stone walls lining the track, until we reached the height of land. This is a wonderful time of year to be up on top as the leaves aren't yet there to obstruct the views. And glorious views there are!! It must have been magnificent up there when it was open meadows for grazing. We continued on eventually crossing the line into Hoosick, NY. There are several hunting camps along the road and one ambitious soul cleared quite a large area and has planted hundreds of apple tree whips presumably to eventually attract deer to the drops. Hope he is young as he has many years to wait til those trees bear fruit. At one point we stopped to listen to a couple of Barred Owls calleing back and forth. No spring birds to be heard up there, just the occasional Nuthatch or Chickadee. We were out for a little over three hours. A lovely adventure.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Day at the Beach

The girls were enjoying the warm spring sunshine yesterday afternoon. The vet was here in the morning to give the gang their spring shots.

Sonnet was a real *STAR*! I think back to the days when she was emotionally unable to tolerate shots and am so grateful for the power of a tongue click and a bit of food.

Today has been perfectly glorious. I spent a couple of hours this afternoon waging war on Garlic Mustard. This will be my third spring and the battle continues although I am seeing the results of my efforts. There is much less this year than last.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Look who came to visit this morning! As I was walking out to fill the feeders I caught movement out of the corner of my eye! He had just taken down a Mourning Dove and was in the process of despatching it although not without some protest from the dove.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ANDIRONS addendum

For some reason way beyond my understanding I was able to publish the pictures of the andirons but unable to add text??? Ahhhhh, the mysteries of the internet........

Many years ago when 'himself' was a boy he and his family lived in Annandal, NY close to the Bard Campus. Apparently it was viewed a horrible little house, hardly fit accomodation for a family of six. From what I gather the family wasn't there for all that long before moving to Spring Brook Farm in Red Hook , now a family of seven. The Spring Brook Farm house was a great big rambling farmhouse with a touch of elegance .... a lovely medalllion and crown molding on the dining room ceiling, french doors in the living room that opened onto the front porch, and an elegant front entry hall with a large and graceful staircase. There was a working fireplace in the living room and that is where the andirons from the Annandale house 'landed'. In the early seventies the farm was sold and the andirons went on to grace the fireplace in the new house on 9G.
After nearly twenty years of glorious fires that house was sold and the andirons along with a lovely brass fender went into storage in one of the barns at Echo Valley Farm, home of 'himself's elder sister and her family. At some point the brass fender came to us at our Windsor, Mass farm. We attempted to clean it ourselves but the years in the barn had resulted in grime and discoloration that was beyond our efforts so we sent it out to be professionally cleaned and polished.
When we built our house in Reading , Vermont we had two fireplaces and only one pair of andirons so FSS asked for the pair that were stored in the barn. We cleaned them up and put them in the livingroom firelace. Absolutely gorgeous!!! Magnificent!! I wish I had a photo of them in that fireplace but that was before digital photography and I never dreamed that time was of the essence ..... that we would suddenly pack up, leave for Pownal, VT and sell the Reading place. The andirons found a home in the 1744 NW Hill Road house and now they are here at the most recent iteration of Amen Farm. I'll try to attach a photo here but if that doesn't work I'll publish in a subsequent post.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


44 F

This has been an 'open winter' if there ever was one. Here in North Pownal, Vermont we have yet to have our driveway plowed. Granted, we did ask for it to be sanded ONCE. Yesterdays rain has left us without a trace of snow and quite a bit of mud. Even the bird feeding activity has slowed down considerably. On most days there are at least fifty Goldfinches at the feeders at any one time. Today boasts fifteen at best. We were late to have the Chickadees and Tufted Titmice find our feeders but now that they have they are constants.

The other day I took a couple of pics of some finished knitting projects. The light on the front landing wasn't great so the colors are anything but true. The purple is Starmore's Innishmore in Mulberry Bainin The teal/blue is Starmore's Fulmar in Frangipani Ocena Deep. Neither sweater had been blocked when the pictures were taken but figured that I had better take them while the spirit moved.