Tuesday, July 12, 2011


If farm animals are a constant speculative element in our talks about the future (and believe me, much has to happen before we would elevate them from the level of discussion to a plan of action), what we grow here is something that we have to confront every single day, now. Mostly, it’s not about what we plan on growing.  Plans -- they cover an infinitesimal portion of space. Flowers. Herbs. Tomatoes. Asparagus (when we remember to weed the plot). And raspberries. The rest? It's out of our hands.

We do have a huge number of raspberry bushes. They proliferate expansively.


This spring, in an effort to contain them and encourage healthy growth, we spent a huge number of hours trimming, transplanting and pruning. When we came back from France, it was as if none of that had ever happened. The raspberry jungle had established itself once again.

We are, however, hugely lucky this summer. I don’t want to jinx this, but for some reason, the mosquitoes have not quite shown their ugly faces just yet. I am sitting on a half screened porch at dusk and I hear no buzz. In July. In Wisconsin. Rare!


And so I can pick berries today (to be preserved for winter use)...


...without the need for protective mosquito garb. Fantastic!

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After, I take stock. We haven’t much in the refrigerator. Copps free range eggs. An ear of corn. Lousy dinner choices. I leave the farmhouse and walk over to the fields where Hmong families are growing market crops.
Do you suppose I could buy a head of lettuce? I ask. No answer. The two women getting ready to work in the fields do not speak English. They point to a person coming down the hill. I’m guessing it’s their daughter. Maybe. She’s of the next generation. Schooled here. She speaks English.
I ask for lettuce. She translates, but only in part. As a result, the women rush over and bring me a pint of raspberries. Oh dear. I most certainly do not need raspberries. I try again. Lettuce? Green lettuce?

The young girl translates some more. She tells me – it’s further in the field. Go pick your own. As much as you want. I hand her a few dollars. She refuses. I stick it in her pocket but she finds it and hands it back.


At the farmhouse, Ed and I (mostly Ed) put up the final big panel of the screen for the proch (now there are only two dozen little ones left!). The evening is cool before the expected rush of hot air this week-end.

I have my laptop on the partly finished porch. Isis comes, Isis goes. The sky is beautifully tinted. I’m playing music from Scotland. Firefly sparks come in bursts. Like fireworks. Here! See this one! Bats fly around the silo. One comes into the porch area. Oh! Be careful! Most of the screen panels are in now. He flies out, back with his buddies, darting, searching.


I have no complaints.