If a picture says a thousand words, then this might just be my longest post ever. So much has happened in the past few weeks, I can hardly recount it all but to look back over my photos. These are our final days of summer, and we’re savoring them to be sure. This photo barrage may try the patience of some, and if that happens to be you, please skip on ahead and we’ll see you next time…
We’ve reached a first here at the Hillhouse… Not enough eggs for breakfast (all but three of our older gals have all died, and the new pullets aren’t laying yet). This is our first store-bought egg in a long, long time. Confirms for me the benefits of happy, free-range hens. Our gal’s egg is on the right. Could ya tell?
That crazy guinea fowl of ours, Austin, has just learned a new trick. I know it’s ‘bird’ seed, but we meant it for another kind of bird here…
The ALS bucket challenge comes to Greenfield… Ken, right, videos his old pal Walter. Now retired, as state troopers they were once partners and shared some amazing stories together on the job.
Mid-ice bucket dump. The Greenfield Mamas are next, whenever our schedules will finally permit (my donation’s been made, so the challenge is additional, I realize, but still important.) We’re having a backhoe dump its massive bucket of ice water on us. No doubt we’ll need to plan it carefully for safety’s sake. The goal is to amplify our challenge by reaching a broader audience. Stay tuned.
Elihu enjoys a little RC heli time. What’s significant here is that it is the last photo ever to mark the driveway sans house at the end. Sigh.
Friend Ken’s also a pilot, and here he’s showing Elihu what the controls look like on a plane preparing to land.
Hopefully, after we log the property this winter, we’ll restore a panoramic view closer to this than the one we currently enjoy (this spot is another hilltop property in Greenfield). When our house was built in 1970 it looked like this, now we see the horizon mostly in between the trees.)
This is our old family friend Ruth Lakeway’s house. She was a soprano who sang regularly in dad’s Baroque music festival, and she died some seven years ago now, but no one’s lived in the place since. As a child, I had many happy memories in that home. (I even had visions of living here when or if I returned to Greenfield one day.) As of this writing, only the barn and garage remain. We Conants speculate that the house may have been built atop a spring; it suffered from constant water in the cellar, a problem no professional could rectify. This spot will always be special to us, house or no house.
On to happier things… Ah, the county fair. Pure America.
…and for the second year in a row, Elihu wins a goldfish!
Elihu and friend Roger have the swings all to themselves.
…which neither one of us heeded. !
We know this Emu hen – she is twelve years old and in the pen with her mate of many years. See that white membrane over her eye? It’s her nictitating eyelid, and her closing it like that is an expression of trust and pure enjoyment. I’m smooching her neck and she’s actually leaning in to me. We love her so. For me, this is one of the highlights of my entire summer. Elihu’s too.
Okay. It’s official. I am the crazy bird lady.
Elihu gets to hold a blue ribbon-winning hen. He’s kinda crazy for birds, too.
Talk about a sub-culture. So much to know. A bird can easily be disqualified for a poor comb. !
This guy looks well-qualified to me. IMHO.
I miss having homing pigeons. It’s on my list for future adventures.
Yes, Ken’s an equine artist, but ironically he’s very allergic to horses. This brief up-close visit resulted in tearing eyes all afternoon.
Here’s a sample of Ken’s work. And yes, his art is for sale – plus he does commissions. If you want to immortalize your pet, Ken’s your man!
Here we’re passing the farm on which our old goose, Maximus lives. He’s one of the white dots just to the right of the two yaks and horse. Really. See for yourself.
We received a little emergency septic attention. When you live on your own – with no city sewer system – it’s your job to get rid of your waste. As the old saying goes, ‘out of sight, out of mind’… It’s easy to forget to keep on top of such mundane business. (The guy who pumped the tank was thrilled to have me as an audience as 7:30 am and he gave me all his best material. He assured me that when it came to his job, he knew “his shit”.)
Look – that’s my foot! I’m actually making this thing move!
Al, our friendly local excavator (pilot, nature-lover and bicyclist), gave me a little lesson at the controls.
The Studio’s last summer program. (Mom’s house is on the right – she’s just up the driveway.)
After Al did some work on our septic system (I accidentally deleted the cute shot of Al and Elihu standing over the open septic tank and holding their noses – but I think you get the picture without, well, getting the actual picture) he let Elihu ride on the tractor down the long driveway and back to the road.
Look what awaits us at the driveway’s end. Ich.
The guy building the spec house has kindly agreed to give us some leftover cement for our front step. Getting the huge cement truck back here without hurting our great maple tree was a feat. The driver was good about taking care not to break any tree limbs.
Nick helps skooch the cement into the frame. Afterwards, we two screed it (yes, ‘scree’ is a verb; a ‘scree’ is a tool one uses to settle the cement into place), and then I put a broom’s brush finish on it. Always more stuff to learn how to do. Nothing is as simple as it seems. !
Now we visit the sight and take a look at the plans. I’m relieved to know the house will be finished in dark, natural tones.
A view down the old farmer’s road on our property…
..and a gorgeous study in light and dark. So much beauty in our little corner.
We visited grandma’s house (the Studio’s on the same property), just a driveway down the road to the west. See the house taking shape down the road? My heart positively sinks.
But at least we have a nice new front step.
Elihu has a friend over. They’re happy to sit, side-by-side in a virtual culture. (Don’t worry, I got em outside too.)
We’ve brought out the country in our city friend!
Elihu loves those amphibians. This is a particularly robust specimen. Cute, too.
Neighbor Chad gives Elihu a spin on the zero turn. All that RC piloting has given him a usable skill!
We brought mom to the animal auction. This is where our avian adventures all start.
A donkey was up for bidding when we arrived. Sold for $25. No kidding.
“Backstage”, mom talks with another regular at the auction house. He’s a nice guy, always helpful, and very knowledgeable about the animals.
At these bargain-basement prices, it’s easy to talk yourself into taking home a new friend. It’s the morning after when the real adventure ensues.
…a little American Gothic humor…
…and finally, a new view on things. This is the first photo ever of Elihu outside with his eyes wide open, no sunglasses. He’s wearing his new, tinted contacts here. But the story’s not over… He got home, put them in for the first time, and they RIPPED! He was so good about it, and even though I wanted to cry, I didn’t. If he can be strong, then so can I. The new contacts will be in soon…
To finish, here’s a little video of Elihu’s first moments in our home with his new contacts…
There will be more to come, no doubt, on Elihu’s new life with contacts as our adventures continue…