Monday, June 09, 2014


If I count the number of times I've written here, on Ocean "another lovely, sunny day," I think I would come up with a staggering total. This is the winning side of the upper Midwest: we have more sunny days than rainy ones, more blue sky than cloud cover. Of course, you always remember the extremes: the violent storms, the polar vortex, the rain that never seemed to end even though it was probably only a day long affair. But sunny days, ah, sunny days -- they dominate.

Today the farmette animals got me up and out even before sunrise (which right now takes place at 5:17 a.m.).



(After the first run, the girls always spend a while tidying up.)


It's wiser just to force yourself up and out when the first complaint sounds -- to get up and do the animal chores and then try to squeeze in another hour or two of sleep afterwards. Sometimes it works.

At other times, once outside, I get distracted. A few weeds to pull, a pattern of light to admire...


Today, Oreo offered his own distraction. Because he is crippled (remember? a one legged rooster), he has a hard time finding a willing hen to satisfy one of his basic needs (he only has three basic needs that I know of: to eat, to mate and to protect the brood). They can outrun him and quite often they do. Finding himself intensely frustrated, twice now in the morning he has come to me while I'm crouching over something and explored the possibilities of mounting me from the back. Needless to say, he quickly remembers I am not a hen and in case he has any doubts, I surely tell him as much in rapid fire English.  (Hens only now how to coo and cackle, though I do think that Scotch's repertoire is somewhat broader.)

We've been reading a lot about rooster issues (you gotta do that if you really care about your animals) and many "experts" suggest asserting your humanness when roosters misbehave by either feeding them or holding them. Apparently hens don't do either and so you reinforce your difference. So there I was, at 5:20 by now, walking around with Oreo in my arms. It is amazing that I managed to get any sleep after that, but I did. A little.

After a beautiful breakfast...


...there was outdoor work to attack, as the list of essential tasks grew during the weekend of the young couple's visit. Paths to build, front yard limbs to cut down so vans with food and equipment could come through, a new place to weed and tend to as we decided on a different positioning of the portable toilets. No, the farmhouse one toilet wont do for such a crowd and besides, it's up steep stairs -- not so easy for the very old and very young. [And if you're going to ask me how we intend to handle that when we're too old to climb those stairs, I'll tell you that I never plan that far in advance. Lightening could strike tomorrow and the worry would have been pointless.]


It grew warm. Very warm, but I persevered even as Ed took many breaks for many naps. But by late afternoon, I had had enough and we did something that we haven't done for such a long time: we went to Paul's cafe for a snack (the usual for Ed -- a pickle, as it is the only place within spittin' distance that has good pickles according to him) and then we took our old rackets and our flat tennis balls to our secret public tennis court amidst the pines and we had a very very nice few minutes showing off how rusty our game has become.

Finally, a late evening on the porch. There, I needn't even say it -- it's so obvious: it was a glorious day and a sublime evening. We specialize in both, here at the farmette, nestled in the state of Wisconsin.