Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hunter's moon

We’ve been very industrious lately. On Wednesday, we weaned two foals – Clifford and Kisses. Clifford and Mona recently arrived from South Dakota. Cliffy is a Half Arabian, as his sire is a palomino-colored American Saddlebred [Mona is a purebred Arabian] and because of this Cliffy should get quite tall. Kisses and Cliffy were both born in May; her at the beginning of the month, him, Memorial Day weekend. Usually, weaning is done at four months of age; some even do it as early as three months. We’re a wee bit behind, but I wanted Kisses to have a pal to keep her company. Happily, she and Cliffy have bonded nicely.

Ian has been working on the main floor. He’s got almost the entire 14 x 23 foot area framed with 2 x 10s lag bolted to the oak beams. He will install joist hangers and new joists soon. All of the old joists are now out. He and I removed that last four on Friday afternoon using a saws-all. That cuts through most anything like butter. Once the new joist grid is in place, Ian will put in a vapor barrier and some insulation between the basement, crawl space dirt and the new floor. There’s also an in-floor heating system to install. Then the sub-flooring gets screwed down and the cement board follows, making it ready for the ceramic tile. We expect to move back into the house as soon as the grout seal dries.

Donna burns wood in her fireplace and came with her chainsaw to whittle away at the huge ash tree we had dropped some 18 months ago. Its down to the main trunk now and I’m sure what she took will burn very well. She and I consulted together on how the two apple trees should be cut back and then she got to work. Branches from other trees were trimmed too. On Saturday morning, she and her father came and dropped three trees in the row of conifers that line our eastern border. Donna took wood from two and left the dead pine for me to cut up, using our new, yet-to-be-used electric chainsaw. I’m going to buy chain oil today so I can give it a go.

On Tuesday, the dirt road that passes in front of our house, running east to west, will be widened to double its size to allow for construction machines to get back to the property to our west where new neighbors are building a house in the woods. The new neighbors bought an easement from Donna, which she’s still grumbling about because it will change things that she’s accustomed to doing … like extending her pasture area by running electric fence across the road allowing the horses to feed on the long ditch grass. Ah, well, ‘change goin come.’ We’ll lose a stand of trees that shade our mailboxes and supposedly act as a snow break for our driveway, but there’s nothing we can do about it, as that stand is not ours. We’ll battle whatever snow drifts in by getting it plowed.

Yesterday, we hooked up the trailer and went to a friend’s home in Wisconsin to pick up an Arabian mare we’re leasing from her. Sometimes I feel turtle-like as we travel down the road, house on our back. I work at the post office Saturday mornings, so by the time we reached Kathy’s two hours later we were happy for her offer of lunch [yummy homemade chow mein, brown rice, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies plus lemon meringue pie]. After a lovely visit, we loaded 12-year-old VG Antazia and headed home. Taza was well received into the herd. She will cross nicely with Legacys Renoir.

This last moon cycle has been extraordinary. It has been so large as it rises through the trees, lighting the fields of yet-to-be harvested corn, rising soft amber yellow at the horizon to a pearly white overhead. This is the first year I’ve heard the term ‘hunter’s moon.’ I’d always described these fat risings as harvest moons, but learned those come earlier in September. Indeed, it is the hunting season now – grouse, pheasant, deer – through November. Last night, Ian and I burned piles of limbs and stood together watching the fire and the moonrise.


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