Saturday, September 30, 2017


I've misplaced my camera. This is a rare occurrence, as I use it so often. By comparison, I misplace my cellphone every couple of weeks, and after a quick search, just wait to stumble over it somewhere. Not having the cellphone at hand is just a slight inconvenience.

But without a camera, my ability to communicate feels oddly restricted; like losing the power of speech. The camera is here at home, I think, and will likely be found soon - so fortunately, it's like losing the power of speech due to dental novacaine.

This morning I looked through the most recently downloaded images, hoping for a clue as to where I might have taken the camera next. No clue.

But I did find an image from a few days ago that seems appropriate for this post.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

thankful thursday

candy roaster squash, yesterday

candy roaster squash, today

The weather broke today, thank goodness and all the gods.

The past week has been very hot and stultifyingly humid, both day and night.
A/C cranking. Three fans in the house instead of the usual two, so Piper could have her own fan at night. By the third day of higher than 90 percent humidity, I had turned on the industrial-strength fans in the barns.

After morning chores which left me dripping sweat no matter slowly I moved - and believe me, I can move slowly - I sought respite in my spa.

My spa is an inflatable tub that you might think looks like a toddler wading pool in the shape of a bathtub, but it's NOT. It's a SPA. It says so right on the box.

Piper doesn't like it.
Here is the look on Piper's face when I am in the spa:

If you look closely, you'll see that Piper's concern at my insanely dangerous behavior does not interfere with her enjoying a good roll in the leaves.

There is a sort of cover that zips up across the top (another indication that this is not just some flimsy toy paddling pool, oh no), which helps if a person or an adventurous little cat requires a surface.

Moxie could tell right away that it's a spa.
Let the self-care begin!

A couple of times, I painted the scenery:

Once, I worked on a sock:

But today, this gloriously clear and fresh and fabulous day, all the windows in the house were open again and working outdoors was a pleasure. And Ms. Piper could enjoy rolling in the leaves without the nagging concern in the back of her mind:

if a human melts away into water and never come out again,
who will open the cans of food?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

reflecting on summer

At the grocery store it suddenly hit me:
I haven't tasted watermelon even once this year, and it's nearly apple season!

We didn't have a Summer this year in my neck of the woods. We really didn't. What we had was a Mud Season that went on and on and on, and simultaneously became what is known in Massachusetts as "wick-id haht." All the paddocks have been awfully wet, and the little barn paddock never dried out - ever! It's still muddy and slippery despite the hay "stepping stones" I recently threw down in desperation so I could get to the various shelters and feeders with less risk of falling. Like their goatherd, the goats also step carefully from spot to spot on the hay, and not because they are silly or "spoiled," in fact, just the opposite. These goats have the survival sense to try to keep their feet from becoming diseased due to constant exposure to moisture. And I appreciate this trait, because although I do my best to keep up with frequent checks and trims, if we get all the way to Winter with healthy hooves this year it will be some kind of miracle.

Campion feels that his hooves are PERFECT and he would appreciate it if I would please STOP checking and trimming because it involves a human (me) Touching His Feet! UGH!!

Continuing with the theme "Summer, Lack Of": a few words about the gardens. if you've been reading Comptonia for more than a year - and I know some of you have been reading it since the beginning for which I thank you very much - you know I put a lot of determined effort into growing as much of my own food as possible. It's important to me economically and from a health perspective.

Well, if I was genuinely dependent upon what I grow to get me through the Winter, this is without doubt the Winter I would starve. The relentlessly rainy months made planting difficult for the gardener, and growing a challenge for the plants. After finally managing to plant - and trellis - about 40 feet of pole bean rows, I harvested a total of two and a half handfuls - literally - of beans this year. The okra is about a foot high now. My fingers are crossed for the Candy Roaster squash which are currently in valiant flower, as are the Suyo Long cucumbers. If you look closely, you may see a tiny cucumber on this vine:

Even the hardy perennial flowers have struggled, and I've been sketching and painting here at home more often than in the woods this year, in appreciation. Below are a few days from #DrawingAugust, each done either just before or just after a rainstorm, in a little spot between the perennial gardens and the stilt barn.

This folding chair has been kept in the stilt barn, dusty but dry,
and ready to set up for a quick session with watercolors or pen:

If you were sitting in that folding chair and looked down by your feet,
you would see these violet leaves:

If you then turned your head slightly to the left, your eye-level view would be a wild tangle of hyssop, bee balm, and goldenrod:

When the mosquitoes forced your retreat to the porch,
you might endure them for one more minute while you stand and dab a watercolor sketch of this unidentified butterfly enjoying the bee balm:

Even though it hasn't been a Summer, these past few months have provided occasional sunny moments and, eventually, precious and colorful flowers for which I am deeply grateful. More than once a drenched but stalwart daylily was the highlight of morning and evening chores.

And in case you missed it in the picture above, here is a closer look at a tiny cucumber with flower still attached, tucked back behind the stem:

Fingers crossed!


Just a quick blogistics note...

When I put up a new post, I usually respond to comments on the previous post at the same time. My internetting has been in fits and starts recently, so this may mean a lengthy delay between your comment and my response - sorry!

Comments are one of the best parts of blogging, and according to the blog stats, I receive an average of roughly one comment per 100 pageviews - you folks are a quiet lot! I do try to stay in touch either through comments on your blogs, or here. I just want you to know you may have to look back to the prior post for a response to a comment you've made on Comptonia.

Does that make sense?
I hope so.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

goats for sale

Every once in a while someone contacts me through the blog
to ask if I sell cashmere goats.

Yes and no. I don't breed with an eye to selling stock - if I did, I would be routinely breeding all my does, which I don't - so I rarely have goats to sell. But right now I do. So I thought I'd just mention it here in case anyone is interested or would like to pass the information along.

I know each of my goats very well, and am happy to provide my opinion on which goats would be suitable for a particular home and "job"...such as invasive plant control, giving a handspinner some very nice fiber to play with, or providing companionship and entertainment.

My email address is linked in my profile, and is the easiest way to send specific questions about my goats. For general information about cashmere and caring for cashmere goats, this link to the Cashmere Goat Association website is very helpful.