Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reflections on the First Half of 2011

Now that we are well passed the halfway mark in 2011, I was thinking about what has happened so far this year.

Looking back through the blog, there was a lot of talk about the weather. Around here, that has been the focal point of most folks' lives. At the beginning of the year, we had a lot of snow and ice. Then came spring and we had an unprecedented amount of rain and several tornadoes. I will always remember this because for two months this Spring, a bull dozer sat in my yard. But it was only in operation about half of that time because the ground was so wet and the rainfall was so fierce.

Now we are in late summer and what we wouldn't give for some of that rain right now. Ponds are dry, lawns and fields are parched, and cattle prices are low because the market has been inundated with animals their owners can neither need or water.

I don't like the sound my boots make when I walk around the mountain. Each step I take is a constant reminder the grass is so dry and brittle, it breaks off down to the bare earth, leaving an ugly footprint in my wake.

This was the year we were to have grapes in the vineyard. It began very promising. Each row had an abundance of clusters and our mouths would water every day as we checked them and monitored the growth. Then the rains came and they stayed wet far too long. Mold and rot set in. We had hopes for the clusters that survived. Then the long hot dry summer came. Despite being watered every evening around sunset, many of the survivors simply burned up and shriveled on the vine. At the moment, the Cynthiana is hanging on. But I have learned not to be too optimistic when it comes to things controlled by weather. We are definitely not in control. I have realized this year I could not be a farmer...the uncertainty it just too much for someone like me with an overly-controlling personality. I have no control over this at all and it frustrates me. But.....there is always next year!

Despite the weather, some wonderful things have happened this year. We have made a lot of progress on the mountain. Our mission to tackle a major project each year (we are eight years in now) is rolling along. Because we chose outside projects this year instead of inside ones, the work we have done is more obvious.

We cleared some unusable land, built a pond (now we need rain!), and are almost finished with the outdoor kitchen and fireplace. We see deer almost nightly now in front and they are mesmerizing to watch. We are hoping the pond will be a water source for all types of wildlife, but because of the lay of the land, we can't actually see in it from the house, so the creatures who need to bathe or drink or just cool off will have an element of privacy.

Dennis has traveled the world this year with his new job. He has gone to places we might not have initially considered as travel destinations, but after being there, he always found something unique and interesting, and with the exception of the very dangerous environment in Venezuela, he would look forward to returning to each country.

So far, this has been an eventful year. I am hoping to have the projects finished by Fall, and Dennis home a wee bit more so we can enjoy them. We live our lives in increments......he will be home 3 days on the 10th, 2 days on the 25, etc. We have to pack everything into these tight containers of time, but we have been doing this for so long, we know no other way. I guess our "normal" is like everyone's what you become accustomed to.

I look forward to the Fall, my favorite time of year, and what it holds for us all.

Best wishes to you and yours!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Families on the Mountain

We are not the only family living on this 22 acre mountaintop plot of land.

Most evenings, usually between 7:00 and dark, another family comes out of the shelter of the deep woods to visit the salad bar that is the freshly planted grass on the cleared land in front of our house.

They seem to be getting braver as they spend more time in the open. I know they see me watching them from the upper deck, sometimes with a camera, but usually just in awe of their beauty and grace.

I wish they weren't so brave. They are in danger and don't realize it. There are people who live nearby who love guns and seem to love killing things. How someone could purposly take the life of something so beautiful and perfect for their own personal pleasure is beyond anything I can comprehend. It isn't a sport if the one being hunted can't shoot back.

So, I will protect these beautiful creatures as best as I can and hope the evil nearby can not see over the fence and find out find out they are here.

I am so grateful they let me look...........hope you are too!