I’ll begin with yet another disclaimer: this is truly the last of the out of order posts. My technology has been giving me some rather unfortunate and upsetting problems. (here in the desert, in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE) At least for the present moment, I have the ability to upload photos. So here we are with a musing from 2018, complete with photos to prove that these things of which I write, actually did happen. For, as we all know: “If you don’t photograph it, it didn’t really happen,” which is a quote from my dearest son of sons. (Rest assured, this is absolutely the “last of the summer whining.”)
Sunday, November 25, 2018
There have been times in my life when summer was, more or less, a favorite season. I can’t say that is so true anymore. Summer is a time of extreme work here at the farm, in the land of the (hard working) Daisies. Truly, the only time of year that offers more opportunities for hard manual labor would be spring, and since I’m not sure what separates one from the other, I will simply say that March to date has been filled with tasks both big and not as big.
I am fully aware that my blog posts are sporadic, if not actually, non-existent. I’ve been busy. We’ve been busy. Each day blends somewhat seamlessly into the next, forming a continuous task list which we strive to keep up with. There are days when bedtime can’t come soon enough, and days when morning comes way too early. But, as with all things, nothing lasts forever and the outdoor work life, here at the farm, is slowly coming to a close.
Dad and the blooming Liriodendron (or “Tulip Tree)
To give a brief recap of the last few endless months and the jobs they embraced, I’ll begin with the crisis du jour. In addition to our usual labors, we had issues with our electrical system. So many issues.
Electrical woes, with the oversight of Dad.
Our electrician of choice happens to be a dear neighbor, who I have not so casually told, on more than one occasion, that we could, just possibly, keep him employed for the rest of his life. We saw him frequently throughout the summer months, including a project that was not a crisis, but a rather generous gift of bringing electricity (and water) into the greenhouse. It really is a treat, and I am grateful for the ease and joy this has brought to all things greenhouse related. I’ll spare you the details of our other power related woes, and just say that from an electrical standpoint, things happen to be stable, at least for the moment.
More trenching. More overseeing.
It was a big job
Some things just couldn’t take the tremendous workload.
Due to, perhaps, some things that went down the drain after multiple laundry loads of Goodwill wool, we also had plumbing problems. Drains backed up in protest to the copious amount of fiber that attempted to make it through the pipes on its way to the septic tank. After a week of gurgling drains, followed by drains that ran the other way, which resulted in water in places that water is not intended to go, we made the necessary call to our rotor-rooter type person.
Water. It came out of the shower and onto the floor.
It backed up into the bathtub….in a different bathroom. And, just a little FYI disclaimer: that mold around the tub…..it’s coming from behind the silicone seal. A problem for the future, but we’re not talking about that.
Again, we also have a “plumber-of sorts” that helps us out in these situations. I wish it was a handy and close-by neighbor, but it’s not. After his hour with a piranha-type drain snake sent down the line to ream things out, and my all day mopping and cleaning, we were back in business. Such is the life with all things that are, in my Dad’s words: “over age.”
Multi-tasking: drain work, leaf pick-up, and supervising.
On a more uplifting note, life would not be what it is without the support and visits of friends and family. We had a couple of these visits and they certainly gave us all a needed uplift. Guests give us a change of focus and an opportunity to slow down and enjoy another set of faces and conversation around the kitchen table. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
Thank you, Herbie and Janette!
I grew things, which was supposed to be mostly tomatoes and vegetables but turned out to be mostly flowers.
These were just some of the statice I grew.
It wasn’t a terrible thing. I would have liked more tomatoes, and peppers that were not as hot as the fires of hell, but that is not what happened. So, I made wreaths with the flowers I dried in the heat of the summer, hanging from the clothesline, in the garage. Many wreaths. There is something quite satisfying about growing it and then crafting with it. Made a thing and never left the farm, or however the song goes.
Wreaths…lots of them!
Our old raspberry patch has fallen to Verticillium Wilt, a soil borne disease that causes the plants to die. Because of this, we prepared an alternate space to grow our berries.
Tilling up the new patch.
We’ll plant this new berry patch next year, and the old patch will become my new flower garden. I’m not sure how many dried flowers one needs, but I’m pretty sure that it’s not as many as I presently have. Entering into the Hag shed, where I store this phenomenal stash, can bring on something of an asthmatic episode. They are, to put it mildly: fragrant, and not in a perfumy-can’t get enough of it, sort of way. It’s actually quite choking. I’ve been told there’s a spring wreath making party in my future, and perhaps this will take care of a big portion of my dried collection.
A small portion of the dried flower collection
I also painted a couple of chairs and recovered the seats. I’ll admit, the fabric was an impulsive purchase. There is nothing in the house that is blue, but I loved it, and so be it. We now have extended seating should we have a tremendous amount of company that wants to sit in moderately comfortable, yet stunning, chairs. I am on the lookout for a few more of these metal folding chairs to round out the set, so if you know of any that are headed towards the garbage, let me know. I believe I have enough material to cover a half-dozen or so, more chairs. Why stop at three when you can have so many more?
There was also some trapping that happened. Dad trapped gophers who were digging in the field.
Dad, setting a gopher trap
I trapped yellow jackets. They were particularly aggressive this year.
Yellow jacket traps. My bait of choice was either cat food or chicken.
And then there were the Bald-Faced Hornets who made a nest in one of the apple trees. They are mercenaries, and we were not prepared for that kind of misery, so we called in the professionals.
Beautiful nests, terrible beasts
And again, we shredded, and pressed apples, and even helped the kids move.
A lot of cider.
Rest break after the apple pressing.
The kids big move
Oscar and Riley, concerned about the big move.
Another load of stuff ready to head to the new place.
There are some brief moments of rest. Stella takes advantage of every one of these.
I made a little wedding cake (and the fabulous florist decorated it!)
Son, Justin, celebrated a birthday!
I am not exaggerating when I speak of being “busy.” We don’t seem to recognize “leisure time.” Maybe, it’s because we have not met it yet? I am always happy to see the season of work come to somewhat of a close. For us, this was a year that the rain couldn’t come soon enough. But, the rain took its time arriving, which was and is, another worry for us Daisies.
The long hot summer of drought gave us reason to fret and rethink our future of growing things. This is not our first summer without rain. With our rapidly changing climate, water is becoming something that is constantly on our minds. We are on a well, sucking out of an aquifer along with our 48 other neighbors. With luck, this won’t become a future problem. I do hope there will always be enough for all of us.
On the flip side, a lack of water would mean that our agricultural pursuits would become a thing of the past. With a background in horticulture, this would cause a rather epic level of distress for me; I rely on the farming way of life to keep things at equilibrium. But, as in all things, time will tell and we will have to wait for the next chapter to write itself. Truly, it was Thoreau who said it best:
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” (This pearl of advice is mostly for me, but you are also welcome to embrace it.)
May peace and decent weather surround you in the coming year.