Just About Anytime
June 12, 2014 § 11 Comments
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.