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