Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Winter is around the corner! It’s Halloween, barely November, but temperatures have dropped over the past two weeks and most of the leaves have fallen.  There’s still a bit of red on the hills opposite the valley from campus, though, and Mountain Day, which is like fall’s last hurrah at NMH, hasn’t happened yet. Normally it comes midway through October and is a surprise, but this year it’s been postponed until very late. The timing of Mountain Day is a great source of speculation on campus right now and no one but the deans knows what their reasoning is for putting it off.

It’s at times like these, when the temperatures drop off precipitously and I have to haul out the scarves and hats, when I miss Austin. The weather is lovely here, certainly, but fall in Austin is slightly more permissive because it’s still not cold and there are horse shows going on. The temperature at home is in the 80s right now. New Englanders reading this might not believe it, but that’s nice and cool for Austinites. I guess you could say I’m a little homesick. And it doesn’t help that Mountain Day hasn’t happened yet; it’s hard to appreciate fall in New England when you’re stuck in classes.

Apples on the farm

That being said, fall in New England is wonderful. Cidering is in full swing. Two weekends ago I spent the afternoon on the farm with my camera and got a few good shots. And I’ve had some excellent riding lessons. This Sunday at Stoneleigh I rode Ginger, a wonderful bay pony with whom I work very well, and the first course we rode in the lesson was perfect. After that we practiced some rollbacks. Rollbacks are hard to do on Ginger because after each fence she likes to get on her forehand. I have become much better at steadying and balancing her, but on a tight rollback it was more work. Even when I didn’t do a great job getting her to rock back a little, we did manage to make all of our strides perfect and get our lead changes. There’s more to work on but I feel good about my riding.

Zeph watching Bea (left) and Ben (right)

Fall is normally seen as the season when everything starts dying; however, it also always brings calves. Rachel had her third calf three weeks ago. He’s appropriately named Ben after Ben Tiefenthaler, last year’s farm intern. And Sarah, Rachel’s first calf, had her own first baby three days after Ben was born, a little heifer called Bea. 



Happy Halloween, everyone! 

Friday, October 11, 2013


So much for weekly posting! It's already more than a month since school started and I haven't posted once. Oops. The farm blog, however, has been regularly updated.

The leaves here have turned already, for the most part. Some of the trees have dropped their leaves, while others still have most of their foliage. Cidering season on the farm has begun already. Although I've been on the farm quite a bit in the past month, I haven't been able to actually work on the cider yet. Perhaps this Sunday.

Baelin and Ranger cidering
Instead of helping with the regular farm work I've been driving the horses with Richard and Liam. Some days we have spread wood ash and lime in the fields using the new lime spreader and fore-cart. Other days, when Liam hasn't needed them for that task, Richard and I have taken the horses out in the Meadowbrook cart. Kara is our particular favorite because she's more energetic than either Kate or Roca. She's also more used to being by herself instead of as part of a team.

Richard harnessing Kara
I am planning to start posting each Sunday. Now that my classes have settled down and I have a bit more time, that should be doable.