Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall is Here

Fall has arrived at Sparrow Haven. The official first day of fall was September 22 this year and it was warm and humid. But, the week before saw fall arrive with a shout of surprise as the temperatures dropped down to single digits at night and highs of less than 20ยบ C in the day.

OF course it was no surprise to those who pay attention to the world around them. The goldenrod started blooming in August this year. It started out in small patches scattered over the area on August 15th but by the end of August it was in full bloom every where. If you know the old wives tale then you know that means frost 6 weeks from the first blooming of the goldenrod.

The geese started flocking up not long after the goldenrod was in full bloom. We hear small V's of them going over in the evenings and mornings as they come and go from the river. Over the next two weeks the flocks will get bigger and bigger then they will all head South for the winter. It is always an impressive sight to see flocks of thousands take the the air and head out for the winter feeding grounds, but it also means the snow will fly soon.

The garden is still going. The green beans are winding down but the root vegetables, beets and carrots, are still going strong. I did get a fall planting of green peas in back in August. The plants are not about a foot tall and seem to be enjoying the weather, though they would probably prefer more water as it has been rather dry so far this month.

Soon, maybe another two or three weeks, it will be time to wrap the bottom of the chicken coop with plastic and insulate it with straw bales. This year we're going to add a second heat lamp under the coop so the chickens can sit in the sun coming through the clear plastic on the front of the coop and have some extra warmth during the day and early evenings. I'm not sure how cold it will be this winter but I'm hoping this new setup will help prevent frostbite on the chickens combs this year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

R.I.P. Freya

Owning and caring for animals, whose life spans are so much shorter than ours, can be a rewarding and heartbreaking experience. Freya was one of those. She brought me great joy and has now brought me great heartache.

Last Tuesday Freya disappeared and I thought she had managed to get out the backdoor when I when I went to collect eggs. We searched and called all all evening and all day the next day. Finally we put poster up all over the neighbourhood and called all the vets in case someone had found her.

Last night we found her inside the house. She had fallen in behind a heavy cabinet that we didn't even know she could climb. Our best guess is she broke her neck in the fall, but I feel terrible. Finding her in the house almost a week to the day that she disappeared and not knowing for sure is killing me.

We buried her in the back flower bed last night, burned some incense, and left a pile of her favourite treats for her spirit. We said some prayers, asked for forgiveness, and cried ourselves to sleep. She will never be forgotten.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Northern Outpost Fall Frolic

We just got home from the day trip down to Potsdam for the official unofficial weekend event. We had a great deal of fun, good company, and great food. It was a fine day and the site was lovely. It was a small event with only 30 attendees counting the land owners, with 14 of those being heavy fighters and about the same for fencing.

It was tedious crossing the border with a 30 minute line up and the guard asking to see our "swords". We told him sporting equipment for a Medieval event and he insisted on seeing the equipment and asked specifically about seeing the swords. Once he was convinced we weren't hiding real steel inside the duck tape he asked us a few standard questions and let go on our merry little way.

The site was the back field of a members farm which is absolutely beautiful. Plenty of room for camping, archery, heavy fighting, rapier fighting A&S classes, and even some children's fall faire type games. There was also a large wooded area but due to the recent wind storms and rain it was unsuitable for battling, though the plans are to have a woods battle next year. Apparently there is also plans afoot to bribe, blackmail, or otherwise convince the owners to build a small palisade or crenellated tower for future fights.

The event was by donation to help pay for the port-a-lou, which I was very appreciative of and donated accordingly. The day board was potluck and was open from the time we arrived which was close to 11 am. The selection of foods was wonderful and who ever makes the bread down there is fabulous. There was Icelandic chicken, a new treat for me, several potato salads, quinoa salad, pickles, cheeses, pasta salads, breads, a delicious honey butter, apple butter, pickled eggs, venison pottage, spicy sausage, pulled pork, and another meat dish which I think was also venison.

The fighting began around 12:30 with 14 participants, including PeterC and myself. It was a double list bear pit that lasted an hour. It was also the Northern Outpost's championship battle. At the start of the fighting there was a 3-5 minute wait between bouts, 5 -8 minutes if 4 of the more experienced players were in the lists. Towards the end of the hour, as more and more people took breaks or dropped out completely, the wait was 1-2 minutes with the occasional walk off the field, to report to the Mistress of the Lists, and back onto the field.

PeterC lasted most of the hour and won 3 or 4 bouts, against some of the long time fighters.I am proud to say I lasted most of the hour with my last 4 bouts being turn arounds, off and immediately back onto the field. I even managed to win a bout with a lucky thrust.

I also had some tremendous trips. Once landing flat on my face, without a blow being swung. I'm blaming the terrain and maybe the sun for that one. Another resulted in my being flat on my back after taking a blow (which resulted in the winner "insuring" the kill with some playful stabbing). The last, and most impressive, was a stumble, tuck and roll, and arrival in a defensive position on my knees in one swift, and completely unplanned, move. I have to figure out how I did that one cause it looked spectacular.

After the fighting we ate lunch and sat in the shade chatting and listening to war stories from Pensic, current and past. We were also invited to attend an upcoming event in October, which we think is a wonderful idea and will be great fun. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures. I remembered to bring the camera this time but I was so busy listening and fighting that I simply forgot to use it. Maybe I'll get pictures at the next event.