I wrote that title as a joke, except... it kind of isn't.
We've had a strange autumn so far - it was so hot for so long that the trees seemed to have given up on changing color. I was beginning to think the leaves were just going to fall - but over the last few days we're getting a few hints that all may not be lost.
As is usual for me in the summer, I didn't keep up with the blog so well. It's not that nothing was happening - it's more like too much was happening, and I was having fun living it, without wanting to stop and document it. That actually seems like a pretty good philosophy - keep moving forward with the fun - so instead of wishing I had kept a more complete accounting, I'll just move on with the highlights.
It's been a while since I've posted a good weekly outing update - and that's because I've had a little snag in the weekly outing. As in, I can't figure out where to go.
This winter has been a wild one so far. For the last few years we had these mild, easy winters - usually punctuated with one or two snows, but for the most part no big deal. It was equal parts delicious and anticlimactic. This winter, on the other hand, has been a different beast. January has been cold. Like COLD.
The ferns are going nuts on the farm these days, reminding me that it's the season of growth. I've been spending more time on farm work than jewelry work here lately, which is pretty much the beauty of the seasons. I remember when I was a lawyer I'd think "am I supposed to do the exact same thing every day for the rest of my life???" That seemed... unlikely. I'm not really wired like that.
I can definitely report that that is no longer an issue. In the last few days we've cleaned out the gutters on the outbuildings, emailed the humane society to see if we can adopt some working cats for the mouse problem in the flower building (our last farm cat died of old age a few months ago), dug a giant drainage ditch around the run-in shed, changed the belt on one of the big mowers, moved a ton of mulching material into the beds for next year's garden, had the truck die while sitting in said garden, gotten the truck towed out of the garden and off to be fixed, hoed a ton of weeds out of this year's mini-garden, poked a bunch of holes in a soaker hose that was no longer soaking - thus turning it into drip irrigation, mowed and mowed and mowed, and weed-eated weed-eated weed-eated, had a guy with a track hoe come fix the drainage on our pond so it is now filling back up (yay!!!), hauled many many loads of rocks up to fix an issue where our driveway was washing, played a lot of badminton, re-seeded a section of the bank where the track hoe dug into it for the new drain pipe, started training the goats to go out on a picnic to whatever patch of invasives I'm trying to get rid of that day, fed hundreds of baseballs into the pitching machine for Sam, and done a lot of hot yoga. What I haven't done is make much jewelry. Which I think is fine - I'm a big fan of the seasons - both in nature and in life.
This season is always one where I feel like the farm is growing up around me faster than I can stay on top of it, and everything needed to stay on top of it is breaking at the same time. But in reality I love having all of these projects going on at once, and feeling like I really *have* to be outside all day. Because in the cold months I'm all about the studio, and responsible work projects. Which makes it all the more delicious that in the summer we're more focused on things that are growing. Fortunately I also tend to stockpile a lot of jewelry in the winter, so this pretty much works out. ;)
Lots of things rolling along as we get closer to spring. Not water in our pond - nope, that's still empty, but we have hope for the repairs to happen in the next week or two, and then we'll be back in action. That's the thing about good dirt guys - ("dirt guys" being my nickname for guys who move dirt. For obvious reasons.) - anyway, the thing about good dirt guys is that they're in high demand and completely at the mercy of the weather. Which means you can never tell exactly when they're going to get to you. Like many things with a farm, having earth moving work done is a real test of your equanimity. Mine's still hanging in there for the time being.
Other things that require equanimity - farm trucks. The brakes on ours completely went out this week (which sounds like a problem you'd have in 1965 rather than 2017), and so Clifford had to take a ride to the mechanic. Bummer.
I did make some good progress on my knitted dress this week - kitting and baseball go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Steve's first birthday party was a hit. Sam made him a combination of his favorite foods - an apple stuffed with peanut butter and bacon, served with a side of dog biscuits. Steve knows how to party.
Afterwards Steve had to sleep it off. And just like lots of little kids, he was full of energy right until he fell asleep for his nap. In this case, while chewing on his bone.
Today's the day - Steve turns one! His first year is pretty well documented, but this before and after makes me laugh the most. A Maremoodlian can grow quite a bit in one year. (And what's a Maredmoodlian you may ask? Simple: A half Maremma, half Anatolian Shepherd who has been raised by our Standard Poodles. Steve's pretty sure he's going to turn into a curly haired happy poodle when he grows up.)
The day that Clark finally got the drain open on the pond was pretty exciting. After days of hammering holes in a rusty galvanized pipe to encourage it to keep draining, we finally had an actual plan. Unfortunately it was also a day of grisly fish death, since there are a ton of fish in the pond, and without water there are no fish. But just as the water was getting low we had a brainstorm about the giant carp we put in last year to clear the grass from the bottom of the pond. Namely, we remembered that our neighbor also has a pond, and might like some carp, and it would be awfully nice to save a few of them. Of course we could have remembered this days in advance, but instead we figured it out about 45 minutes before the water was completely gone. And so the phone call went something like this: "Hey this is Sumner our pond is draining like right now and I just realized that you might like some of these grass-eating carp since they would keep your pond clean and also that would save their lives but you need to decide in the next 45 minutes or so or really more like right now because we need to go catch them and put them in giant tubs to drive over to you and doesn't that sound awesome?" Fortunately my neighbor is rather chill, and also did like the idea of saving the carp, and so a rescue mission was launched. A very, very muddy rescue mission, and one in which I laughed until I almost wet myself, because carrying giant fish up out of a mud bog is ripe for some slapstick comedy.
In the end, though, we did save several of them. And Sam's friend from school who was visiting got dirtier than I think the kid had probably ever been in his whole life. And in the world of boys, that's a win.Continue reading