Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful on Wildwood Road

Where does the time go? I guess I have a bit of an excuse as Ian and I have been busy buying a new 80-acre farm, packing up the old one, turning over its keys and then moving lock, stock and barrel – all since I last posted!

Ian and I began moving ourselves from the 10-acre Stanchfield farm using a rented U-Haul truck and stock trailer on Friday morning, November 6. We handed over its keys on Saturday afternoon, November 14. The first night we spent here in the Wildwood farmhouse was November 7. We are still settling in trying to find the best place for all the bits of our stuff. The weather has been unseasonably warm, sunny and completely cooperative.

All of the animals moved very well. We only had a moment's nonsense from our Saddlebred mare and she was quickly apologetic. Even this year's foal crop of four loaded and traveled well. I wondered if we would survive loading the Pilgrim geese, but Ian's a clever lad and all four were on the trailer snuggled safely amongst things before they knew what hit them. They are very pleased with the new digs as Wildwood Road has a pond not far from the house and they spend more time floating than patrolling.

Ian has this week off from his consulting gig and we’re making the most of it. Yesterday, we went into Minneapolis to visit my 85-year-old Mom, who returned to a nursing home again as she copes with panic attacks, some disorientation and short term memory loss following her mid-October stroke. Mom is getting excellent nursing care and therapy while we wait to see how her circuits rewire. We all hope Mom’s fog will lift and that she will be able to return to life in her beloved 17th-floor apartment overlooking downtown Minneapolis. We children stand by to help Mom with decisions about where the safest living situation may be given whatever her circumstances dictate. Time will tell. Mom will spend Thanksgiving Day with us on the farm, along with my son Richard and two dear friends.

After our visit, we did our Thanksgiving Day grocery shopping, which filled the fridge to near capacity. We bought a 14-pound turkey that is defrosting slowing atop a shelf in the garage. I’m keeping an eye on it so that we don’t die of some dreaded disease. Martha Stewart says as long as it doesn’t thaw out to warmer than 40 degrees, we’re good. I had contemplated buying one of her birds, until I detected shock in Ian’s voice when I told him the smaller of the two offered was 'only' $69.99 plus $20 shipping & handling. Evidently, at that price point it was not a good thing. LOL Our young turkey from Wal-Mart as $9.36.

We came home to find our farmhouse and yard bathed in light coming from the dusk-to-dawn light the local electric company had installed on a pole. We had one of these in Stanchfield and ordered one for this farm as soon as we closed. Being away from city lights certainly is nice for stargazing, but it is no fun when doing evening chores!

Tomorrow, Don will come from Pine City to install a Ritchie Omni 2 in the pasture to provide warmed water to the horses year round. I am ecstatic at the thought of not having to lug a hose from the house to fill 100-gallon water tanks installed with electric heaters to keep the water from freezing. In fact, there will be no more tank filling at all -- just the occasional clean out. Woo-hoo! The Omni 2 has the capacity to water 40 horses and we will place it so that it will handle two pastures this winter. In the spring we will fence so that it waters four pastures.

Since I last posted we bought a 1997 Ford F-150 white/tan extended cab pick up truck. This sure makes hauling hay (and anything else) easy. We’re going for 30 square bales later today and its bed and load capacity works great for fetching one large round bale at a time for the herd pastured outdoors. I will admit this does get old and I expect we’ll buy our winter supply of large rounds soon.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print from the Auld Macdonald Farm.