The onset of our first summer at the farm has brought one surprise after another, some of them delightful, and others–not so much. Things come out of the woodwork, literally, when the weather warms up, and that’s how we got acquainted with the lizard family that lives under the porch. They’re actually quite lovely, tan with a florescent blue strip going down each side, and don’t do anything to bother us except get the cats and dogs agitated when they come out to get some sun. I try to keep the felines and canines separated from the reptiles in this case, seeing as an encounter with a hungry cat can’t be good for the poor things.
We’ve also discovered that black snakes live in the basement. I haven’t seen them, but there is both physical and anecdotal evidence that it is so. This is a good thing, we’re told, and which I believe, seeing as I haven’t spotted a single mouse the whole time we’ve been here. But every time I open the basement door, I give them plenty of loud warning that I’m on my way down. I think it best if we don’t meet.
We’re getting five honeybee hives in June, but early on we discovered a very active wild bee hive just beside the patio. I called in Dave, the expert (he’s called an apiarian), to see if there was any way to politely get them to relocate. We’re out of luck on that one, but he assured me that for the most part, they would be gentle residents, if not provoked. We’ve grown accustomed to the constant, loud buzzing coming the tree. They work all the time! Dave tells me there’s quite a bit of honey somewhere in there, but the opening is so small we’d never get to it without taking the tree out. No problem, we’ll have plenty coming from the five other hives.
I can’t say we didn’t expect the ticks, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept them. Having heard that they’re a culinary favorite of Guinea Hens, I’ve got six chicks on the way. They can’t get here soon enough. We’re hoping they like the stink bugs just as much. Maybe the lizards will develop a taste as well.
Of the more delightful surprises, spring revealed one beauty after another that had been obscured by winter. Thousands of blooms-Daffodils, Peonies, Rhododendrons, Flowering Cherry, Lilacs, Iris–created a sustained show of color throughout the long, cool season. The old stump in the middle of the yard, which we thought was dead and almost removed, is now providing us with a bumper crop of delicious cherries! There’s also a pear tree hidden in a patch of overgrowth by the driveway, and wild blackberries everywhere.
So, no telling what’s next. We’re just keeping our eyes open here at Three Graces Farm–and making a lot of noise at the top of the basement stairs.