Saturday, May 22, 2010

On the Seventh Day, They Rested. For One Hour. Then Back to Work.

Sunday mornings in the winter are often spent snuggled in blankets, nesting with cats and coffee in the sunroom; a good book, or an old movie, breakfast and a doze in the sun complete the picture. Birds fly in to eat at the feeders on the deck, and the hours ooze by in a sleepy blur.

Spring is NOT that way.

Don’t get me wrong; I adore spring, and the busy-ness of the season is largely self-imposed. There’s a large farm garden to plant (by choice), a smaller home garden to augment and maintain, goats to milk or help kid, and farm markets to visit. There are plants to gather and dry, cook or tincture, mowing (albeit brief) to do, hedges to trim. All of this must be squeezed into week days after 6:30 PM, or Saturdays before 3:30 Pm, or Sundays before 11:30 AM. There’s my weekly soup to make for The Caring Place (2 gallons of whatever I decide upon). And there’s housework to do, groceries to buy, bills to pay…you get the drift. Spring is dynamic.

Since my mother’s latest fall, I’ve been visiting her on Sundays to check in and spend a little time together. I enjoy these hours away. We run errands, eat lunch together, and sometimes do a little chore or two. She’s doing quite well, but the contact is good for us both. So my time at home on Sundays is limited right now; then it’s off to the farm, and the weekend is essentially over.

I started my Sunday with a much needed shower, then indulged myself with a slow putter in the kitchen. I spelunked in the fridge and came up with nearly enough vegetables to add to the already-cooked beef for a hearty soup. All I needed was corn and cabbage; that came later in the day. I set the soup to simmer in the largest stainless steel pot, then got dressed for work.

Peter and I shoveled for about an hour, first filling the planned areas: a tire stack for a tomato plant, three window boxes and several large pots. We topped off the planters in the garden and stored a few buckets of soil in the shed. We barely made a dent in the yard of soil in the S-10. And then my time was up; I washed up and hit the road. I made one stop on the way to Fleetwood, at the Emmaus Farmers’ market, where I bought asparagus and rye bread for my mother and a baguette with Portobello mushrooms and cheese for my breakfast. I was as hungry as those poor goats had been. That baguette took me from Emmaus to Hereford, and I got by with a salad for lunch, later. Yum.

Mom and I had lunch and a drive, then a short visit, and I left at about 3 PM…for the farm, of course. A stop at the grocery store first, then the hour’s drive back to my girls.

Things went smoothly until I got to the last three goats. I had two on the stands when the gate broke; the remaining three stormed the gate and charged the stands; they were hungry, and had just learned to come to the stands for their grain. So, like the overachieving kid in class who raises his hand for every question, those three precocious goats headed right for the stands, occupied or not. Now, Goat A and B were firmly wedged in the head gates, so when they were crowded over by goats C, D and E, they were in a precarious position. As soon as I’d pull one usurper off the stand another would replace her. I did this frantically for a few minutes until I admitted defeat, then stood my ground and yelled for help. Kathy came running and wielded a leaf rake like a sword, smiting the barbarians right back into the stall where they stood glowering at her. She later told me that I sounded like “Nell”, Dudley Do-Right’s main squeeze. Hey, you have to laugh.

Handy Peter fixed the gate in about an hour (he’s my right-hand man), and things returned to normal after a few more chores. We got home just before dusk; I reheated the soup and added the corn and chopped cabbage, got out the burgers and veggies, and had myself an hour or so of peace in the dark yard. Those rare hours are so delicious.

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderfully written, Dennis said it reminded him of reading James Herriot: "All Creatures Great and Small" or any of his other books. He also thought your goat drawing was a photo.