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August  2016


 
                Lavinia has arrived. Border collie pup. Adorable as they all are. And very easy to train. She never fought the leash . “With me”  brought her following nicely most of the time. She heads for the tree under which she and I sit, climbing into my lap for a few minutes of snuggling. She doesn’t  whimper at night. And wags her tail when she sees me.
                The Act of Raising a Puppy by the monks of New Skeet is my guide book. It outlines by the hour or hour and a half the ideal progress through the day. To my amazement I, who rarely if ever these days, gets out of bed immediately upon waking, have been taking her out at 6:00 and 7:30. It is an excellent discipline for me. I am always cold. Especially in this beautiful sunny, dry summer. The mornings,  circling 60 degrees are too reminiscent of the bitter morning. Winter, and so I use the excuse of reading just a little more of the prior evening’s book, trying to find some warm spot in bed under the down comforter.
                There is a rash of new people here. I am, unwillingly, accustomed to being very much in isolation, am now surrounded with a great number of people to whom I say “good morning”. They all have arrived at once. And there are three or four who haven’t turned up yet but are talking about it. Eight who share here pay a modest rent of sorts and have rights of a kind. I’ve rented space to someone with a camper for the summer, and someone who can hunt with his father winters. He is cleaning up the debris left by my neighbors who hunt here  eagerly, without permission. That included an armchair and two bags of garbage. This person has spent time here not hunting but familiarizing himself with the property. My front tenant has a good sized family of young adults extremely well-mannered and helpful. It is a revival of the life I’ve been living here. And , of course there is a new puppy, making me more conscious of Glencora MacCluskie, who is by now around eight years old. Glencora has seen but ls not interested with Lavinia as yet. It is best to wait awhile. Glencora has been aggressive to lambs who have tried to nurse from her. It is uncertain when Lavinia has outgrown nursing. Therefore, I shall wait a couple of more weeks. I walk by Glencora with the puppy in my arms. She looks at us. Lavinia has barely noticed her. In time.  In time.
                My tenant has hung a humming bird feeder on the North porch. That has encouraged them to visit my second floor on the far side of the house. I have dark reddish colored nasturtiums and Schiaparelli pink geranium among the vegetable plants I’ve started in flats on the railing. Yesterday, the humming birds visited the flowers while I sat there. The geranium wasn’t supposed to be shocking pink. I had asked someone to pick it up for me thinking it would have had a pale delicate colored flower. And so, there it is. A delight for the humming birds.
This year has boasted of remarkable weather for making hay. I still have hay from last year, however, I’ve ordered twelve hundred for the winter. They are to be smaller than last years which were too heavy for me and too big for the chute.
                I have had a lamb born a day or two ago. A chunky little thing. Big. Heavy. Very nice. It was a surprise to see him.  I wish it was a eweling but that didn’t happen. There may be another ewe about to freshen as well. Summer lambs are a problem, however his dam was very watchful and gave me a bit of a hard time. I think she and her lamb will do just fine. I need  ewelings or yearlings. Most of my lambs this year were males. Great to sell. Impossible to keep. I also need to replace the doe and the doeling who disappeared in mysterious circumstances late spring.
                There are so many really interesting  things to do right now however I am possessed by a mysterious in here-to-fore unexplained state of exhaustion that has perplexed, to date, my doctor and has sent me on a barrage of time consuming tests. Never having known ill health it has confounded me. The depression that lingered after the most horrible of winters lifted with the help of vitamin D. Ironic that that was a deficiency in this farmer’s life. The sun vitamin. Now my mind is soaring with things that interest me to do and I am too tired to do anything. The elder flowers seem to be in blossom. Ready to create this year’s batch of elderberry shrubs.  I missed, without any longing, the dandelion flowers. However, the day lilies have reminded me that I want to stencil the bathroom’s about to be new floor  with day lilies, stenciled. It would be an opportune time to want these stencils now when I have many daylilies from which to draw. The boards for the floor have been expecting to be sanded one more time for over a year now. Harold of the paint store recommended priming and painting them before installing them. They will wish for several good coats of poly urethane, obviously I’d love to start working on them. There are sewing projects that interest me now, as well. A slipcover for the comfortable bat hideous wing chair in the latest adaptation from the bedroom in the house. And to repaint and vinegar grain a particularly unappealing staircase I did in a hurry a long time ago. I hadn’t much experience with the technique, I must say in a moment of forgiveness. Nonetheless I actually bought the paint. It sits there at the foot of the stairs. Unopened. Is it a reproach or an encouragement?
                My son is coming soon to continue painting the South side of the house. What has been started looks very nice. The rest of that side needs only a small amount of sanding before it is primed and that most certainly will be a morale booster  I was offered the gift of someone splitting some firewood for me this summer. And, help, this for pay to finish creating order out of the summer kitchen. In it is a beautifully  constructed set up in which to store firewood. Fifteen feet, the width of that room, and four feet deep. It is an hour away from being finished being cleaned and then the garbage needs to be taken to the dump. I can wash the windows in that room of several windows, it is an English basement and the room will be lovely. It was one of my favorite rooms in the house. There is a very nicely built laundry pen for bottle lambs in a second room in the basement that doesn’t need much on my part to put into order.  In other words, I am beginning to want to re-engage myself with projects but haven’t any strength in which to do it. Yet.
Loving, new puppy, hasn’t chosen her last name yet. The original Lavinia out of Angela Thirkell continuation of Anthony Trollope Barsetshire series, had the last name of Brandon. But that doesn’t have the resonance that the other choices for last names of my dogs have had. There were Jethro Huntington Follensby, Sebastian Cabot Lodge, also cited Sebastian Cabbage Slodge for short, Nellie Solatoroffski,  Glencora MacClusky,  Fly Flanagan.  Steele came to me as a four year old and didn’t have a thought of a last name. Steele had been given to me by her prior owner.  The cats there are always named Peabody or Prescott or Pierre,  in other words names beginning with the letter P. Podgkin will be next. I am rereading Thirkell for probably the sixth time, but a last name other than Brandon has not turned up. In the twenty-eight years that I have farmed it  there has been a number of dogs. Samantha didn’t have a last name either, Steele’s daughter. There is a certain panache to a last name. My son tells me dogs need to be called by a one syllable name. Fido comes to mind nevertheless. Mine seem to respond to three plus syllable names. This little pup is very sweet. Seems to come to her name when called.  One never knows for certain. This experiment shall unfold. Perhaps she shall be a good sheep dog. I am committed to do my best with her.


Sylvia Jorrin



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