We have an old maple tree behind our house. It is very tall and it has a hole in one part of the trunk. The hole has been a home for squirrels for a number of years but more recently, a nest of honeybees took over the hole and the squirrels will not go near it. Yesterday, the nest of honeybees split and a new queen took a large number of honeybees with her and the group landed on a branch of my spruce tree. They made a very loud buzzing sound and swarmed about. They stayed about an hour and then instantly left the branch and our area. I have no idea where they went but they are gone. The original colony is still in the hole in the maple tree.
I noticed the squirrels were biting off the end of limbs. We call them twigs but I had not seen them doing this before. I am guessing they know this is an oak tree and that acorns come from the flower clusters and maybe they know that this trimming will produce more or better nuts this summer.
Currant bushes arrived, several years ago, from Lowe’s—a big box store that sells everything from lumber and electrical tape to light bulbs and nursery specimens, had these on sale and I had and still have fond memories of stealing a handful of ripe currents on my way into my neighbor’s house. I always tried to go there just as they were about to sit down for a meal, in hopes that they’d invite me to eat with them. Their current bushes were located beside their old front porch and the side door to their kitchen. It was handy to just grab some ripe currents on the way in the door. And, it didn’t hurt to have something on your stomach so it didn’t growl while they were eating. This, then, is the current bushes when I got them.
Now, however, the current bushes have been in their present location for about as long as I want to remember. I never moved them but thought about moving them more than once. They have grown there on their spots and each year they produce an increasingly larger handfuls of currents. Sometimes I just grab them and since they come right off into your hand, I would plop them into my gasping mouth and squeeze them up against the roof of my mouth with my tongue. The juice squirts and the taste is better than honey—tart like honey is sweet—but not tart enough to curl your lips and make you squint your eyes. I just love current jelly and Patty made some last summer and we have been eating on it ever since and I am guessing there is some in a container in the back of the refrigerator today, if I looked.
© By Abraham Lincoln
Milking Cows used to be something almost everyone did—it was a job you did if you lived on a farm. Grabbing teats and pumping the milk out was a skill learned at a very young age. Milking Today
Cats love to drink cows milk but they never learned how to milk a cow so they are forever cast in the role of a beggar; assigned a spot next to the milking stool in the barn. And I never saw anybody milk a cow who didn’t at least, once or twice, twist the teat and aim at a cat’s face and hit it smack in the mouth with a stream of fresh out-of-the-cow milk. Ah, the farmer’s wife was often a milk maid and it was her duty to relieve the agony of the milk cow bawling with a full udder. Continue Reading »
Back in the 1970s and 1980s Patty and I visited most of the local tourist attractions. Carriage Hill farm was a working farm with a historical background that we learned about when the administrators of the farm commissioned me to copy the diary of the original owner. I was to copy it in my unique italic style and they would reproduce it and make it available to those who visited the farm and wanted something to take away as a memory. I am no longer sure if they charged a fee but I think they did.
The other place we visited, often, was Aullwood Farm and Nature Center. It was also a working farm where you could see all of the farm animals and reach out and touch them. When visitors first arrived you were supposed to go into the offices and pay a small fee and after that you were free to roam the farm and look at the animals. That’s where “Crazy Cat” comes into the picture. He was the farm cat with a very different hair color. It was remarkable that he would greet visitors upon their arrival and invite them to follow him. He would lead visitors through the barn to see the horses, pigs, sheep with a side trip to the sheep barn where he wanted you to see the lambs. Once he took you to see the pair of turkeys his duties were over and he went back to the beginning and dropped us off at the big wide porch to rest.
He went on to look for more visitors and we were left to sit on the porch and watch the barn swallows swoop and skim the surface of the barnyard scaring up insects which they snapped up without missing a single one. I had never seen anything quite like this in my entire life. I had no idea that was how swallows obtained their food for themselves and their growing families back in the barn in the mud nests clinging to the barn floor joists.