Sunday, July 22, 2012


I suppose some could say that my constant reference to the farm (or 'farmette,' because it’s a small amount of land) is misleading. Ed and I, after all, do not farm. I remember when I lived with my grandparents in a village in Poland: it was surrounded by farmland, but there, too, I didn’t live on a working farm. My grandma could whack off the head of a chicken and pluck the bird clean for dinner. She’d grow vegetables and my grandpa would tend to fruit trees – but still, they did not make a living off their land.

We are like that. Okay – I wont behead a chicken for Sunday supper, but we try our best at growing fruits and veggies, there is land and, well, everyone around us farms.

So I’ll stay with my statement – we live on a (once working) farm.

It took me many years to decide that this shift toward farmette living would be a good idea. I know that more acres means more land to tend to. I didn’t want it to consume my free time.

When I agreed to move out here, I promised myself I'd concentrate on caring for the land right by the farmhouse. The rest? Forget it. I'll turn my head and look the other way. There’s too much to do in life...

So here I am at the farmette and I am so sucked into every acre and it takes so many of my waking hours – the beetle chasing, the watering, the planting, digging, worrying – where has all my free time gone???

But there is something to add  here (and perhaps I knew all along that this would be the case): I love it. I love being preoccupied with it, I love not being able to walk from point A to point B without a three hour pause to deadhead, straighten, improve, or maybe not improve – maybe I don’t really know what I’m doing, hell, I may have country blood, but it's Polish country, not of the Midwest at all and certainly Ed's roots aren't from here either, but we love it, I love it, yes, it's so true -- I love it all.

Ed joins me most every time I work outdoors. He’ll heave away prickly canes and chop and dig and sometimes he’ll just work on the car, the old Escort and oftentimes Isis will be there as well, walkin' around as if he owned the place. Which he sort of does...

DSC01820 - Version 2

So, living on the farmette digs into my writing time. Is that okay? Is it???

Yes, quite okay. I've done ten things at once before, I can do ten things at once henceforth.

In the morning, we clip, shake, contemplate what should be next for the veggie bed (that turned out to be a troubled veggie bed).

As I snip away at dried rose bushes, I notice hovering wasps.
Ed, take a look at your pick-up. Don’t even try to fill it with gas.

DSC01819 - Version 2

Let it be. They always find a spot on the truck for a nest. They’ll just make a new one elsewhere if we knock this one down.

Later, at Farm and Fleet, we pick up a small shovel because the ancient one finally snapped at the handle. And red duct tape: the one that acted as the “fender” on the Ford Escort has succumbed to the elements. It needs to be replaced. And a few plants.

Farm and Fleet is a scant few miles from us. We take the usual route to get there. Past fields, past fields, past more fields. But this time, the fields are hardly empty.

DSC01824 - Version 2

A flock of sandhill cranes (with wild turkeys keeping tabs on things in the rear). When they see us...

 DSC01835 - Version 2

... one starts the call and soon they walk briskly, away, eventually breaking into flight, across fields of ripening corn.

DSC01834 - Version 2

A quarter of a mile further, we pass the pig farm that puts bacon on the table at select places in the Midwest.

DSC01840 - Version 2

The pigs here look huge and not too entertained by their surroundings. You stop craving bacon when you pass their pen.

And less than a mile later, we curve down a road and come across this...

DSC01845 - Version 2

I think at first it's one deer, but it's not.
They see me. A pause and a quiet walk away, into the fields of tall prairie grasses.

DSC01853 - Version 2

When we finish our errands at Farm and Fleet, we take the off-highway road back. And I'm surprised to see a farmer's market along the way (the Monona Market, for those who live in these parts). I'm all stocked up with fruits and vegetables, but I do pick up herbs -- a stop gap filler for our veggie plot. We stroll past one vendor and another and we come across this kid selling things made out of duct tape.

DSC01862 - Version 2

Funny, we were just reading about people who make a hobby of duck tape designs. I grin at the display. I want to encourage the kid, but I just don't need a duct tape wallet right now. Maybe next time.

A blue grass player sings to the side...

 DSC01859 - Version 2

... further down, a vendor talks up her project of soaps, crafted from goats' milk...

I think surely my own project will somehow move ahead, despite all the distractions which, truthfully, aren't bothersome distractions at all. They are the eloquent parts of the everyday.

And because it's Sunday, my girl and her guy come over for dinner, up the brick walkway to the farmhouse...

 DSC01867 - Version 2

... and we sit around the table and talk about stories we've read, foods we've eaten...