May 17, 2013 § 3 Comments
The highlight of yesterday was most decidedly Apple’s decision to calve in the full light of day. There would be no midnight intervention-by-headlamp required, which, for those of you who have somehow failed to experience the pleasure of rescuing an eel-slippery newborn calf from underneath its mother’s frantic cavorting, with the feeble beam from your light darting to and fro and those dangblamed cloven feet – each bearing at least a quarter of the ol’ girls’ 1500 or so pounds – landing repeatedly atop your own fragile trotters… well, lemme tell ya: Daylight is a blessing I’m almost scared to give voice to, lest whatever Gods prevail over such things decide to revoke the privilege and leave us in the dark again next year.
With that drama behind us, and a healthy little bull calf on the ground (this is the other thing about Apple: She’d big on bulls. Out of the 7 calves she’s given us, 6 have been male. And the only heifer we got came from sexed semen), another story. Why not? I think I’ve ranted enough over the past few weeks to justify some story telling. By the by, the following is lifted almost – but not quite – verbatim from SAVED. Which comes out June 11. You should read it. Penny says it’s pretty good.
So we moved onto this property in ’97, having spent pretty much every last nickel we owned on the bare land. As I think I mentioned in a post some while ago, we managed to convince a friend to loan us ten grand, with which we constructed a small cabin, set atop concrete piers (aka “sonotubes”). Owing to the slant of the land, the downhill piers stuck out of the ground more than four feet which, if memory serves me right, was better than double manufacturer recommendations. The result was that on windy nights, the whole place swayed. It was sort of like being in a cradle. Or in a cabin that’s about to tip over.
In any event, in 2001 we jacked up the cabin and poured a full basement underneath it, along with a foundation for an addition. I remember well the day the jacking began, for I was on the whipping end of a writing deadline and could not afford to miss a day of work just because my house (and therefore, my office, which consisted of a desk wedged into the corner of a loft that was accessed via an aluminum ladder) was about to get a few feet closer to the sun.
“Do you think it’d be alright if I stay in the house while yer liftin’ it,” I asked Gary, assuming the regional dialect (not so hard, since I was born and raised in the region) in hopes of connecting with the fellow on a Vermonter-to-Vermonter basis, and thus earning his approval to remain on task. Gary was the contractor we’d hired to lift the house, which demanded both exceptional delicacy and brute force, a pairing of qualities that seem dichotomous but which in rural Vermont is actually quite common. And even essential.
I’d come to like Gary quite a bit. But I liked him even more when he rubbed his stubbled chin thoughtfully and cast a glance at the cabin, which was to be raised a total of 4 feet. Already, not yet having been moved a single inch, the cabin looked disturbingly vulnerable with its foundation piers removed and replaced by a latticework of cribbing, as if the damn thing was sitting on a bed of pick-up sticks. Gary looked at me, then back to the cabin, as if making a mental calculation regarding my tolerance for risk and his responsibility not to kill me. Finally, he broke into a grin: “Can’t see how it could hurt.”
My desk was situated at a window that looked out the northern gable end of our little home, and it was there I sat, typing away, as the house slowly rose beneath me. It felt as if I was levitating, and it is not a sensation I will ever forget. Every so often, the cabin would sway from side to side, like a cradle.
Or maybe like a cabin that’s about to tip over.