Month: January 2015

Winter is for the Birds

It is no secret I am not a fan of winter.   I used to love it.  I spent my childhood playing outside in the snow and I skied every weekend of the winter for many years.  The older I get, the less I seem to be able to tolerate cold.  I never understood why retirees would pack up and move south for months during the winter.  Now I get it. I have a very strong hibernation instinct.  Since I don’t have to get out and drive to the office everyday, it would be very easy (and tempting) for me to stay in my jammies wrapped in a blanket all day.

In an effort to combat the hibernation instinct, I go to the gym most mornings.  It makes me get out of bed, put on clothes and leave the house, thus resisting the temptation to go back and hide under the covers.  Working out is an added benefit.  It would be too embarrassing to drive all the way to the gym and not do anything, although I’ve seen plenty of people who are there for social reasons only.

I also try to get out and take the dogs for a daily walk.  My dogs love winter.  Of course they do – they are big and black and furry.  The cold weather invigorates them and frankly, if they don’t get out and get some exercise during the day, then they are full of energy and don’t want to go to bed at night.

I’ve always been of the mind that winter is when everything dies  and just waits for the weather to get warm to come back to life.  However, my daily walks with the dogs have made me start noticing there is a whole winter cycle of birds.  I don’t just mean the occasional blue jay that I used to see living in town.  I’m talking flock after flock of geese and waves of blackbirds that look like clouds in the sky.  This has been a daily occurrence for months.  How did I not know about this?

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They usually come through just after sunrise and then late again in the afternoon to feed on the leftover corn in the fields.  The noise can be deafening.

When the blackbirds take off from the fields, it sounds like thunder in the distance.   It’s incredible!

Now that we are moving into February, I have hope that I will survive until spring.  I know we have a few more weeks of cold weather, but walking the dogs and watching the birds give me good reasons to bundle up, go outside and get out of hibernation!

If These Old Trees Could Talk

One of the things that attracted us most to Glenmore is the trees. We have lived in many houses over the years – some new, some not so new, and we have developed a real appreciation for how difficult it can be to find a place with beautiful shade trees.
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Most developments these days clear the land completely even before utilities go in. It certainly makes construction easier. Then once new owners move in, they do the landscaping and plant trees. In 10-15 years (assuming you live in the right part of the country) you can have amazing shade trees. Unfortunately, we are at that point in our life where we don’t really feel like we have that much time to spare.

We have a wide variety of trees on our property including Magnolia, Peach, Fig and Sycamore, as well as a few we haven’t identified yet, but the majority are Black Walnut and Maple. The driveway is lined by beautiful, stately old Maples and Walnuts. REALLY old. Now that it is winter and leaves are off the trees, we have discovered a lot of interesting things about them.

It is pretty clear that some of these trees aren’t going to last much longer. Whole branches will break off in the wind and many of the trunks are completely hollow. These are things we didn’t really notice when we first looked at Glenmore and were instantly captivated by its charm.

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Clearly, we need to develop a plan to replace trees over the next several years. It comes with mixed emotions, though. Of course we want to bring in new trees to take over for the dead and dying ones. But letting the old ones go is going to be difficult. There is so much history behind them – and so many stories they could tell!

Like who shot that arrow?

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Was it the kids that lived here in the past few years or could it have been somebody hunting 50 years ago?

And how did that knife get there?
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Any way you look at it, that has to be a good story! My bet is that no matter when it happened, alcohol was involved…

Oh, if only these old trees could talk!

Cat Tales

I have never really considered myself much of a cat person. Not that I’m opposed to cats (I’ve had a couple over the years) but when I think of getting a new pet, dogs usually come to mind.

When we moved to Glenmore, the former owner left us a note saying there was a cat who used to live in a barn that had been torn down several months before. Living in the middle of hundreds of acres of corn (critter heaven), I knew we would need a cat – and not just any old cat; we needed a cat that could hunt. Perfect! Problem solved – the farm came with a cat.

I put out cat food and waited. And waited. I waited for three months – no sign of a cat. The weather got colder. I had visions of mice getting in the house looking for somewhere warm. Still no cat. Finally I gave up. I would have to find a cat. As it turned out, a friend of mine was moving and could not take her barn cat with her to the new place.

I knew this cat – she was not very friendly. She was actually kind of a pest. We all just called her “the kitty” and she was notorious for getting into horse trailers and any other vehicle that might have windows or door open. She even rode 30 miles on the axle of my truck one day. She didn’t like people to pet her and she was notorious for flirting with the dogs and then getting them to chase her.

Well, she was free, she needed a home and we needed a cat. So after two days of trying to catch her and get her into a crate, we got “the kitty.” We brought her home and let her spend the night in her crate in the garage, hoping that she wouldn’t hitch the first ride out the next day. Surprisingly enough, she hopped up on top of the freezer where we had stored some old drop cloths and set up camp.

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We decided to call her Martha. Why Martha? Because she needed a name and she just seemed to look like a Martha. I wish it was more interesting than that. All I can say is that from the day we gave her a name, she has become a different cat. She is incredibly friendly! Martha will climb right up onto my shoulder and purr away while I pet her. During the day, she will come around the windows and ask the dogs to come out and play. I’m serious! She doesn’t play rough, but she sure likes to hang out with them. On warm days, she will lay outside my study window and keep me company. Not only that, but she waits at the front door at night when Gator takes the dogs out one last time before we go to bed. She has been an absolute joy to have around – not at all what I expected from a cat (especially this one)!

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I have to say, I love this cat!

Welcome to Glenmore Journals!

Glenmore was once a large dairy farm in Central Virginia which dates back to the Civil War.  Dairy operations ceased in the 1980’s  and since then, some of it has been developed into subdivisions and other parts of it have been sold in large parcels.  Much of the undeveloped land of Glenmore is still being farmed today.  My husband (aka Gator) and I recently purchased one of the parcels which contains the original home site (the original home burned down many years ago), as well as a home that was built in 1910 and  was restored in the early 2000’s.  One of the former owners of Glenmore still lives in the area and has been a great source of information about the history.  I hope to record this history so it doesn’t get lost over the years.

I also have other goals for this blog.  As we maintain and improve this beautiful old place, I’ll share our trials and tribulations.  Our animals provide endless entertainment and we have some interesting hobbies that we’ve been involved with for years in addition to those we are just starting, so I am sure there will be a lot to talk about.

So let’s see how this goes and I look forward to chatting with you!

PumpHouse

 

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