Just About Anytime

June 12, 2014 § 11 Comments

Looks like the boys got their  hands on the camera

Looks like the boys got their hands on the camera

The rain this morning was like an anti-alarm clock. I woke briefly at my usual pre-dawn hour, heard the metronomic patter of a thousand mice dancing on our roof and drifted back into the sweet nectar of sleep. It was 6:30 by the time I finally lurched out of bed, woozy from too much slumber and stumbling toward the coffee grinder like the poor addicted fool I am. Do you know that Penny doesn’t like coffee? Doesn’t even like the smell of it? For her, it’s just a shot of bourbon and a bowl of Fruit Loops and she’s ready to hit the ground running. I don’t know how some people do it.

We needed the rain. The top few inches of soil had gone to powder under our feet, and I spent yesterday afternoon hauling buckets of water to our fledgling crops. Befitting the humble nature of the rest of our infrastructure, our irrigation system consists of two 5-gallon buckets and my back. Actually, we do have a sprinkler, but only enough hose to reach the gardens closest to the house, although come to think of it, we don’t even really have gardens anymore. It’s all sort of bleeding together into one big garden.

Every once in awhile I get a little overwhelmed by it all. Not so much the work (though that, too) but the mere existence of it. We’ve been playing with this land for 17 years that feel like maybe 5, and I can still remember exactly what this place looked like when we first came here. There was nothing. Wait, that’s not true: There was a big pile of garbage dumped by the previous owners and an old shit spreader of Melvin’s. After we bought the place, I remember asking Melvin what happened to the spreader, a gentle hint that perhaps he could reclaim it. “It broke,” was all he said and so it sat for another three years until we had a tractor of our own and dragged it back to him. We didn’t mind. We were already starting to realize there aren’t many Melvin’s left in the world and that our lives were going to be better for living next to one of the remaining few.

Every year, we do a little more. This year, we cleared the copse of spruce and fir I’ve referenced previously and planted it to all sort of things I can’t even remember. I started clearing another big batch of fir along the farm road back in winter, but got stymied by the snow. One of these days, once the spring rush is over, I’ll get back to it. We’re out of money for nursery stock anyway, so it’s not like there’s any rush. We’re thinking about a yurt for guests and workshops, but we gotta figure out the finances for that, too. A barn. It’s going to happen, one of these years. With any luck, we’ll still be ambulatory when it does.

We’re actually grateful we’ve had to do things slowly, limited as we are by finances, time and energy, in roughly that order. I think it’s been good for us to have to go slow and live awhile with one change before we start on the next. I think it’s been good for us to have not gotten everything we wanted when we wanted it. Or maybe to never even get it at all.

Except for rain when it’s dry. Except for waking early to that soft tapping on the roof and knowing that down the field, the corn and cabbage and beets and potatoes and onions are getting a good watering and that tomorrow or the next day, I won’t have to haul a few hundred gallons of water in buckets. Except for drifting back off with the small comfort that knowledge in my head.

Except for those things. Those things, I’ll take just about anytime.

§ 11 Responses to Just About Anytime

    • Ben Hewitt says:

      you’re saying Daisy really drank that beer? I’m doubtful, frankly.

      • Eumaeus says:

        yeah, sorry. that was another comment that slipped out w/o thinking… aye, me. the burden of thinking. I try not to.

        Anyway. Here is your reminder- It is the full moon TONIGHT. Light your candles and shoot your beavers. THIS IS YOUR REMINDER.

  • Tres Jolie says:

    We’re going for a full moon horseback ride to celebrate. In a week it’s the solstice.

    Hey, how much does a long hose cost? I’ll buy one for you. (Generosity enabler) It seems nasty to have to haul water by buckets. You can call it the “tres jolie” hose which means “very nice” in french.

  • Kent says:

    Not only does Daisy guzzle the golden brew, she appears fully capable of “uncorking” the bottle (note bottle cap in her mouth)! QUITE a pooch!!

  • Peter says:

    Hey!!, gripes Penny, who finished the Fruit Loops?!?!

  • Mary says:

    We lived without water in our (big) vegetable garden for years, until a few years ago when we had a back-hoe here for something else, and dug a ditch across the road, laying down a PVC pipe from an outside faucet, and then attaching a faucet and garden hose at the garden end. I now don’t know how we lived without it – even with the rainier summers we have had the last few years.

  • Yes, yes and yes. We are going slow too. Year by year we’ve been doing one or two things, as we can afford it: Blueberries and raspberries this year, strawberries last year, now bearing fruit. A fruit orchard planned for next year. As these things come to be, the farm becomes just a little bit more sustainable. We have a long way to go, and at the same time, we have been blessed with a succession of willing interns from our local community college’s horticulture sustainablility program, and their equally passionate friends, a wonderful group of 25-30 somethings, who are dedicated to fostering a more sustainable lifestyle. They give me hope for an alternate future where people actually want to learn things on farm, things like how to drive a tractor, how to build a stone wall, how to raise animals for your freezer, how to, etc. etc., etc., all hands on farm stuff. I’d like to do all that at a school on my farm. I’d invite you to come and teach a class or two, if you’d be so inclined….

  • ncfarmchick says:

    I’m glad we have had to do things little by little, too. I have found that the details of our “big picture” have changed somewhat over the years and, if we had done everything we wanted at the start, we’d be redoing or undoing some of it now, anyway. Probably meant to be that way.

  • Elizabeth says:

    that picture cracks me up! How did they get that expression on her face?

    • Ben Hewitt says:

      that’s pretty much how she always looks… like she’s just been caught doing something she wasn’t supposed to be doing.

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