Friday, June 5, 2020

Back to the Farm

About: Early May 2020                                 Most Recent Posts:
Posted:  June 5, 2020                                    Quarantined in April
Greenfield Mountain Farm                           Tossed Out of Kathryn Abbey Hanna

May 3 Pam brought dinner (2)At least I’m eating well except for the very bad for me comfort junk food that I eat to excess – read that crunch salty things and chocolaty sweet things.  No embarrassing pictures of that.

Early in May, I have a socially distanced dinner with my wonderful friend Pam.
She brings a vegan mushroom spiral noodle main dish and I provide a salad.  Unfortunately I didn’t take any close ups of these delicious dishes.   But the mushroom dish was so good, that she gave me the recipe and I fixed it again for myself.  We thought we’d have leftovers; she brought a lot.  But NOPE.  We ate every bite.

May 4 brunchOf the many many things I miss about being alone without David is his wonderful cooking.  Now I have to go back to doing it for myself.  I don’t love cooking like he did so the 10 year break from it was terrific for me.  But there is one compensation.  I can make two dishes and alternate them both and have food for nearly a week.  Obviously I don’t mind eating the same thing over and over if it’s something I like.  For example, here’s Sweet and Sour Tofu with a vegetable mix.  I alternated that with the mushroom/noodle recipe

Here at the farm things are growing, growing, growing with all the rain.  The lawn is filled with buttercups and my rugged lawn tractor mower needs maintenance for which I have to get a date on Shannon’s schedule since I have no way to get it into the back of the truck to take it anywhere for oil/filters etc.  David, of course, always did it himself.

So the buttercups will stay for a while at least.


Another casualty of all the heavy rains is that the newly done road is washing out where we thought we could save the cost of yet another culvert.  Not terrible yet but it will only get worse if I don’t have something done about it.  So I arrange for the Mays, father and son, to come out again to fix it.

I know you may not be interested in pictures of my road but consider it a cautionary tale about owning country property.  The pictures are mostly for my records.  The blog has proved invaluable in that regard many times.

No damage on the stretch leading into the barnyard just on the part leading up to that.

The full moon rising in the west just before dusk is a wonderful calming sight from the second story bedroom porch.  A sign that some things are still very right with the world.



This amorous pair are frequent visitors.  Actually, I suspect they live here abouts.  He is pretty handsome so I can see why she might like to cuddle with him.

Other visitors include deer of course.  These pictures were taken on 3 different days and in 3 different locations.  The fawn pictures were taken right outside the fence near the lilac bush I’m trying to reclaim.


In the woods when I was cleaning the ditch.  More about that later.


Mom had left them hidden in the tall grass which will mow as soon as it can get on his busy busy schedule and it isn’t raining.

Few things cuter than baby fawns.



Birds other than turkeys visit too.  I often don’t have my camera but I did get the blue birds who seem to be quite happy with the never used 30 year old Purple Martin House.  The Blue Birds are much quieter than martins.  I thought they were moving in but then later in the week. . . . . .


Later in the week here came some tree swallows obviously building a nest.  Blue birds won’t build near to anyone else so I need to QUICK get some blue bird boxes up or I won’t be seeing any more blue birds.  We had a blue bird trail when we lived here but the boxes have deteriorated over the time we’ve been gone.  I don’t know whether to set some back up or not.  How long are we going to be stuck in place???

Other visitors were the sweet Carolina Wren singing her heart out and making a song twice as large as she is.


Also the Chipping sparrow with his rusty cap hoping around in the grass.

I didn’t take any pictures of the road work done to get rid of the washout and install the culvert and more gravel.   But my friendly road man advised that I might want to get the leaves out of the ditch that comes through the woods before entering the little valley.   He said just use a leaf blower.  Well, all of my “yard machines” are battery operated and suitable for taking on the road so I didn’t even try my little quiet RV campsite cleaner as I call it. 

Instead, I used a rake.  Here I’m just getting started and am looking from the culvert back up the drive to where it comes off of the county paved road. 


I look fairly pleased at this point.  I’ve gotten about half the span cleared out on to the road but I still have to rake them accross the road and off its other side so they don’t just get blown back.

Here’s the pile when I got to the end, looking back and before starting all over to rake them across the road.   It was a big, long pile.

The completely clean ditch and the leaves mostly off the other side.   This all took 3 hours of raking a chore I don’t do much any more so you can imagine how sore I was the next day.   The farm lane is 3/4 of a mile long from the county road.  I did about 2/10ths of a mile and it felt like A LOT more than that.

Wondering if I should have at least tried the little battery operated leaf blower.

We’ve had our share of rain and the clouds were forming and darkening up on this day as I came walking the road toward the house after my road leaf clean up.



I’m throwing this picture in as a cautionary tale and to remind myself not to try making potato chips in a food dryer.  Usually I do them in the microwave but it takes numerous in and outs to test for crispness.  I thought I’d just put them in the dryer for a few hours and they’d be fine but though this picture of them in the after about 4 hours doesn’t show how small and chewy they were, that’s what happened. I had tested them every hour and after 3 they just got smaller but no more crisp.  Think of dried fruit and the chewy thing.  They shrank down to half their original size and had zero crunch which was the whole point of course.  Crunch without oil or salt.  Oh well back to the microwave.


Another fun thing that has happened due to the pandemic in addition to outdoor dining Socially Distant Dinners (SDD) with my friend Pam is a weekly two person zoom book discussion with my friend Laurie who wasn’t too fond of my taking this picture but she’s so cute that I had to.  She’s giving me a semi snicker.

We’ve discussed May Sarton’s Plant Dreaming Deep and Oliver Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield.  We are now working on The Overstory, Pulitzer Prize winner by Richard Powers.  Laurie is still working so we can’t possibly read one book a week even if I have all the time in the world so she divides the books up into bits and we discuss those bits each week.  The first two we divided into thirds but Powers book is over 500 pages so it will take longer.  This is top of the line fun for me.  Thank you Laurie.  I’m a book maniac especially now so any of you reading this who would like to do a Zoom or Facetime book discussion just let me know what book to get and I’m there.

IMG_20200526_174104280Last post I spotlighted the city flowers so here some of the, you don’t have to care for them, country ones starting with my favorite mountain laurel.  The farm is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just east of where the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway meet.  I have BRP views from my bedroom porch.  These laurel lucky for me are right here at home.  No need to drive somewhere else for a hike in the woods.


And then there is Golden Ragwort making a stream of sunshine in the unmowed fields.   It’s a lot brighter than this more distant picture shows.



Not sure what the allergies which cause my coughing are but these don’t seem to trigger it.



Other grass plants  included small daisies with ruffled petals and  larger daisies with rounded ones.


Near the pond I found what looks like star chickweed.

And always the blazing ray of sunshine which gets no respect at all, the dandelion.

From the farm house, there is another nearly 1/2 mile of road that goes to our lower field.  It’s the most secluded place on the property and once had a labyrinth mowed into its field and a sweat lodge by a fire circle.


That field is at the bottom of this hill but the grass is so tall that I don’t dare go down until Shannon mows it for fear of ticks.


Mornings in May have fluctuated from totally fogged in to views of the mountains depending on the rain and thus the humidity.   These are morning views from the bedroom porch.  They tell me a very hot June is coming up.  I’m not a fan after my experience last summer.



But before June, there is a birthday and a road trip – FINALLY – coming up next.


  1. You are exactly right about fawns being the cutest.

    In our travels, we've seen all sorts of babies in the wild, but still, as I told Dave on our golf cart ride, here in the community, where we purchased a home. . . still love deer babies!

    We live in a bluebird sanctuary. I too need to get some bluebird boxes up. . .hopefully, by next spring.

    Your landscape and flower pics are beautiful.

    1. Thank you Janice. I'm glad you liked them.

  2. What a beautiful bit of land that you have! Too bad about the ticks.

    Virtual hugs,


    1. Thank you Judilyn. One just has to be vigilant about checking for them after coming in from hiking.

  3. Oh my, the farm is so very gorgeous, lush and thick. Perfect for ticks and bugs and flowers and fawns. Wonderful. Still, such a huge property to manage for a woman alone. It is beautiful, but I don't envy you. Here's hoping you can figure out a way to manage with a bit less money and effort and maybe get a bit of traveling in again. Overstory was overwhelming to me, not sure I could even discuss it. It is still on my Kindle, waiting for a second read in small parts. I loved it, of course.

    1. I think it's wonderful too which is why even though I really want to full time, I can't let it go. We've been able to keep it thus far so I'm just going to try keeping on. Not sure how the Overstory discussion will go but I'll try to let you know.

  4. Amazing pictures of the fawns, I'm a huge fan of deer, could never hurt or hunt one. Impressive that the mother deer let you get so close, but then she probably sensed how much of a nature lover you are.

    Hugging turkeys! What great pictures are you going to get next? :c)

    1. I did love that turkey picture Paul. Unfortunately there are no predators for deer and as humans take over all the wild spaces they have less and less to eat.

  5. Your farm always reminds me of a Monet painting. So many colors. Looking at the pictures, I can just smell the freshness of the land.

    1. What a lovely idea, a Monet painting. I will keep that in my heart Laurie. It is a comforting place.

  6. Ahhhhh- Turkey Lurkey and his girlfriend. He is very handsome. The fawn is so sweet. I have seen articles lately telling people not to pick up and move fawna. Their mothers know where they are. Happy little birds! The farm photos show that, that despite the difficulties in maintaining everything there,it is a lovely peaceful place. We all need some lovely and peaceful in our lives. xxxooo

    1. LOVE IT! Turkey Lurkey! Thanks for the smile and laugh Pam. You are the best.

  7. Oh, my gosh, i love pictures of the farm! that laurel is beautiful, different sort of flower, huh? Seems like there is plenty there to keep a person busy... and i complain, well not really, i like yard work, really.... about my little dab of things that need to be done here!!! Will never complain again. that leaf raking took forever, but such a GOOD job!! well done!

    1. It sure felt like forever Loree. I'm not a yard work lover unfortunately. Too much serious vegetable and fruit gardening for 30 years before we went on the road I guess.

  8. You are fortunate to have such a beautiful place to return to each spring. That is one handsome turkey! Look forward to hearing about your road trip.

    1. Thanks you guys. I think so too which is why I can't bring myself to sell it. Although I'm not looking forward to two summers in a row in Virginia.

  9. Sweet and chocolatey, been my vices too these last few months. When our kids were growing up, one of their kindergarten projects was to build blue bird houses, the blue bird houses dot many a fence line and we all enjoyed the return of them to our valley. The fawns are so cute, loved the wildflower pictures.

    1. Bluebird houses are a great project although I'm pretty surprised that a kindergartener could do it. Glad to know I'm not alone in my vices.

  10. Did you send all that rain down to us??? Sure made the farm green up....beautiful!!! Ahhh, the wildflowers:o))) Can't wait for the next post..........

    1. That rain must have just spread out since it never left here. Green green and growing.

  11. I love seeing all that lovely lush green grass filled with buttercups and other flowers. In fact, all photos of the farm and house are delightful. I think after all that raking you deserved crunchy chocolate treats. Just don't know how you can keep up with it all. I am spoiled by accepting the land as it is when I arrive and no upkeep. Heck, I don't even like maintenance on the RVs.

    1. Me too with the hate RV maintenance. But around here if you don't at least mow, you'll be living in the middle of a forest and the vines and Moss will grow right over you and your house. At this point I'm actually not doing much maintenance but what I'm doing at least gives me something to do.

  12. How beautiful and green everything is. The wild flowers are so pretty. But yes it is a lot of work. All that raking you did must have worn you out good that night.

    1. Yes green, that's Virginia, and right now it's everywhere. It does make for good pictures and consistent mowing.

  13. Your farm is so gorgeous, I can understand why you've held onto it. I enjoy your stories of your life there...including the fact that you used to have your very own sweat lodge. But wow, keeping up with such a huge property is an enormous amount of work for you! I'm glad you've found some good help, but even then, you have to supervise everything. Love the beautiful flowers and your pastoral views and your outdoor dinners with your good friend Pam. Keep on finding those little islands of happiness...

    1. Thank you Laurel. I encourage you to do the same. The size of the property doesn't really matter other than in the length of the road and that the fields have to be mowed twice a year. All I upkeep is the house and the yard.

  14. What an amazing haven you have. The photo of the lane with the house at the top of the knoll looks like a book cover about a story I'd love to read. Of course I am reading it aren't I? I often find raking very meditative, but then dread the picking it all up to haul somewhere else. That was quite the job for you, but at least you were able to move it to the other side of the road. I do love having discussions about the books I'm reading but since I'm reading about five fiction books a week those discussions are few. My sons recommended a trilogy that we talked about when I finished it (one of them is still on book 2 since he works and has a toddler). I do hope your June is cooler, ours is starting out hotter than we like :(

    1. Jodee you are a marathon commentor. Your comments are always really great too! Thank you SO much. Would love to have some titles of your favorite books including the trilogy. FIVE a week? And I thought I was a voracious reader but I've never gotten over 2 or 3 a week. Feel like I'm melting in this heat. Last year was the first summer in years I'd spent in Virginia. Feeling grumpy about having to do it again.

  15. Love seeing photos of the farm. I imagine you feel David's presence there. Virginia is a beautiful are many of the northeast states......all the way up to Maine. Maine in the summer....doesn't get much better. The rains are wonderful....but they wreak havoc with your road getting to the farm. The fawns are precious. They know the farm is a safe haven. I am excited about your cliff hanger comment about an upcoming trip. Cant wait to see your next adventure. The heat in Texas is in full swing...but this week it will only be in the 90s...with lower humidity, which makes for beautiful mornings. We are still pretty much in lockdown with Covid cases rising in Texas.

  16. How I miss the birds of the east. Here in CA there aren't as many varieties, at least where I am located. Loved the turkeys! I had a turkey land on my deck railing a couple of months ago = stood there for a short while and then took off again. I was almost in a state of rapture!

  17. Beautiful property you have!

  18. Oh, I loved this post - the Tom turkey is the best! Your farm is so beautiful. I don't envy you the road work and all of that raking, but I love farms. Thank you for sharing. Sorry I am so far behind.


Your comments help me in more ways than you can know. Thanks in advance.