plum tuckered

IMGP0715The rain is starting to fall right now. Last week when I mentioned how our potato planting was laid back and we were not in a wild rush to finish before a storm or something… well, that was definitely not the case with our onion planting this morning. Wild rush. Frantic high-speed-all-hands-on-deck sort of planting time. Something like 4000 onions by 9:30 am, and after milking the cow and moving the livestock and breakfast. These intense times serve their purpose just the same, I suppose, balancing out the calm times. Gets the heart pumping. IMGP0717So, yes, we planted onions this morning. Our friendly UPS man delivered them last evening, after an already long day in the garden, while we were up on the hill doing our evening chores. By that time we were already spent and looking forward to a good nights rest. But looking at the weather forecast, we knew the morning hours of work-time in the garden were limited. We knew we would have to bust ass if we wanted them in the ground before rain.IMGP0721During the night last night, about 1:30 am, Olivia started screaming for me because she could hear a wasp buzzing in her room. She was afraid of being stung while she slept and wanted to come into my room for the rest of the night. So she did and fell back asleep and slept soundly. For Eric and I, however, that pretty much ended our peaceful slumber. Between the brightness of the moon and the looming thoughts of coming rain, neither of us could sleep worth a hoot. I did manage to fall back asleep, although fitfully, but Eric’s wheels started turning and he designed a row marker for the onion planting while he laid in bed, unable to sleep. He was up at the garden, just as it was getting light, constructing his vision/version of a rolling row marker. “Wouldn’t want to be just laying in bed wasting time, right?” said Eric this morning as he tested his new tool. (Which worked expertly, I might add.)IMGP0720All three children were very eager to lend a hand with the morning’s planting, and if not for their involvement I’m pretty sure we would not have finished. Too bad I couldn’t pause even for a second to get a good picture of the Smith family work crew (plus Jesse, but he’s like family, too) in action. We worked like a well-oiled machine and left the garden feeling satisfied and ready for breakfast number two. IMGP0726

Now, with the rain falling I’m ready to put my feet up for awhile and work on the cool hat that I’m making. Maybe even steal a little cat-nap if the stars align just right. I’m plum tuckered out. I wonder if the little pepper and eggplant seedlings wouldn’t mind waiting just a few hours before being potted up…

garlic lullaby

IMG_8299Today was all about garlic. As soon as morning chores were wrapped up and our bellies were full of a hearty breakfast, we headed to the garlic patch. There is supposedly rain headed this way, so our window of dry planting time is about to slam shut. Typically, once the November rains set in and the cooler temperatures are upon us, the soil conditions might not be dry again until next March or so. And a year without garlic would be unfathomable. Not only would it suck to not have garlic for our culinary and medicinal uses, we would also lose all of those years (and years!) of selecting and saving our own seed. IMG_8295IMG_8294IMG_8296IMG_8288So today, we planted and planted and planted. My thumbs are incredibly tender from popping the bulbs apart, my knees ache from crawling around on the rocky soil, and my shoulders… well. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the day was good and hard and honest and grubby. And the garlic is in the ground. And I’m ready for bed.

You’ll never guess the sweet music I hear right now… rain falling on the tin roof. The best bedtime lullaby I could ask for…IMG_8286

a fine line

IMG_8179It’s very wet here. Oddly wet for October. September was oddly dry. I think there have been more thunderstorms so far this month than we had during our typical thunderstorm-laden July. For at least the last five out of six days, it has been raining while I am milking the cow. Like clockwork. Milking time=rainstorm. Most sane folks milk their cows in a snug barn where the reality of rain is a mere pitter-patter on a tin roof. And maybe a little extra mud on the wellies. Well. That’s not quite the way it works around here. Several months ago now, when I realized a new family cow was headed our way as a gift from some sweet friends, I had this funny little notion that the milking should occur in a portable stanchion that could be integrated into our herd’s pasture rotation. We certainly didn’t need another isolated chore to be added to our already colorful palatte, and I didn’t want our family milk cow to be separate from the big herd, as cows love company you know, so the portable stanchion it was. And is… This crazy thing that we are doing is working. Mind you, we have had plenty of wrinkles to iron out along the way, and the old shade-shack-turned-milking parlor is small and has no walls. There is a roof (tarp), but when the wind blows like it was this morning, I get pretty much soaked. Maybe a little bit cold, too. I suppose that is one way to become a faster milker.

But my fleeting discomfort gets swallowed by the beauty of the bigger picture.

I know there is a warm house and dry clothes waiting for me when I finish my chore. Comfort zones are meant to be challenged, right? When we stretch just beyond our comfort zone, don’t we more greatly appreciate the comfort we stretched beyond?

When you tread that fine line, it really boils down to the attitude that you carry with you. This morning, by most people’s standards, I had every right to grumble. I was sopping wet, rain absolutely dripping from my face, the occasional wet cow tail smacked across my head, and a stiff breeze blowing on my backside. But I didn’t grumble. I put my cold hands on that warm milk pail, and said thank you.IMG_8182