Monday, April 11, 2016

what each season brings

I was up late last night counting ants. One per minute or two, out of the kitchen floorboards, making the journey through foundation to basement to kitchen -- with the garbage can being this year's preferred destination. I attack the problem with perseverance. Vinegar and instant removal helps. In the early morning, I see no more and I exhale. They'll be back, searching for nesting sites. The trick is to make this one -- our home -- an unattractive proposition.

When Ed and I first got together and he explained to me his position on the relationship between humans and animals (the unfair privileging of one over the other), I was taken aback by the strength of his convictions. Oh, I have known environmentalists and animal rights persons who are furiously rigid in their life style choices. Ed isn't that -- but his heart is with the animal kingdom, that's for sure and he'll go a long way not to disturb their habitat.

There wont be any potent ant killers at the farmhouse. It'll be me, doing the midnight vigil, with distracting vinegar and spot removal. And hope for an outcome that's agreeable to all.

This morning, as I sit down to answer emails, I see a flock of five large birds come swooping down again. Hawks. They'd been keeping us (well, presumably the cheepers) under observation for a few weeks now and though the hens know to hide when they sense their presence, I am always concerned that they wont catch on fast enough. Those powerful winged creatures shoot down like an arrow from the sky and though we have plenty of trees here to protect the cheepers, until the trees fill in with leaves, the sharp eye of the hawk misses nothing.

As I willed myself to sleep last night, I thought about this seasonal challenge at the farmette. No sooner had we gotten the mouse population under control and boom! Here we are, addressing the late winter onslaught of box elder and Japanese beetles. I'd do a beetle round up several times a day and still they came. That is, until last week, when they dwindled to almost nothing. To be replaced now by the spring ants, searching for their nesting site.

Catch and release (except for the beetles, which I -- but not Ed -- shamelessly destroyed).  And face the next adaptation and delineation of boundaries.


Oh, but the sunshine is with us again and so my thoughts quickly run to its glorious brilliance!

Breakfast in the sun room.


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And then Snowdrop comes to the farmette for the day. I'll post a few extra photos today, even though you already see quite a bit more here on farmhouse Mondays, simply because the farmette is so the epicenter of my world, that photographing comings and goings here (of people, of seasons, of chickens!) properly reflects my preoccupations.  Why even more today? The day is just so pretty! Cool still, but with an abundance of warm sun rays. And I am thrilled to report that Snowdrop loves being outdoors, so much so that you could not doubt that she is this Ocean author's granddaughter.

Here's a photo album of at least the first half of our day:


First activity when she arrives -- feed the cheepers some bread. Let's make it more of a challenge and place the bread on the bench! (Of course, they will jump for it.)


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Grandpa Ed comes out... the girl's all smiles.


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We walk back to the farmhouse -- Snowdrop of course likes to give the pinwheels a good twirl.


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We're all going to be here playing together? Good! -- she loves it when there are at least two other people in a room...


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Ed's munching on a late morning snack of leftovers.
She wants one... he says with hesitation. (It's shrimp and asparagus.)
It's close enough to her lunch. Sure, you can share.

Shrimp! Yum!


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I've been told this about her: she'll pick a shrimp over a french fry anytime.


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Yes, she loves asparagus too.


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Okay, little one. Let grandpa Ed eat. I put on a Raffi record to distract her. She does her signature dance -- a rhythmic bounce to the music.


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Then, impressively, she stacks her penguin stacking rings. (I say impressively, because the ordering of the pieces is weirdly complicated for a little kid toy. I often cheat and look at the sketch on the bottom to figure out which ring comes next. It's not about the size!)


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We get a phone call from the tree chopping service. They want to dump another load of chips! Well fine, though we should really make more room for it. Ed goes out to spread some, Snowdrop bums a ride in his wheelbarrow.


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I want to show her the emerging daffodils, but she is too distracted by guess what (cluck cluck)...


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Ed comments -- they just follow you everywhere.
Yes, I know.


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In the afternoon, my deep desire to stay calm in life is tested, but in the end salvaged by someone who knows only how to stay placid, even when faced with mounting frustration.

It is a silly thing, really: we're all switching car seats for Snowdrop -- she has outgrown her baby one! The next seat will carry her until she is 65 pounds (wow!).

The chair arrives just as Snowdrop is waking from her nap. Well that's not good. Especially since she is waking up a bit of a grump (it's rare, but it happens). I juggle her, trying to read the instructions, pulling straps, flipping cushions, wanting so hard to understand the difference between this belt and the other...

Ed!

He comes, we both watch the youtube instructions. He reads the booklet, calls the company, all in that calm voice of his that always brings me down from a potential spin into a world of petty frustration. And as we go out to install it in the car, the girl wants nothing more than to get down and run around with the chickens, even if it does take them all to the road (no, no, no Snowdrop, that is not a place where I can let you run free!).

Snowdrop is frustrated with the new restrictions ("no no no Snowdrop, not the road") and yet - I'm calm now and very quickly, so is she.

Funny how calmness rubs off and leaks onto the souls of others.

The seat is in, the girl is comfortable in its accommodating larger size, the sun continues to shine as if there's no stopping it now.

April is such a fantastic month!


5 comments:

  1. We get an onslaught of ants each Spring. We wash all places where they appear with white vinegar. Allow to dry, and then put a border of baby powder along the areas where they are coming in. For example, we get them coming in through the space between the walls and the floor in the kitchen. We sprinkle baby powder in the bottom of our trash can, under the refrigerator, and the sides of the stove. No ants. They just go away. They will not cross the ribbon of baby powder around the perimeter of the kitchen.

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  2. I didn't know that's what the ants are doing-- searching for a nesting site. For the first time since we've been here, we've been finding a few stray ants in the house each day. I can't kill them either, but fortunately they're so much more docile and easy to catch than the silverfish everyone here seems to deal with on a regular basis. I didn't know about the vinegar trick, but that's what I clean the floors with and just happened to clean the entryway with yesterday (at least a few of ours politely use the front door), so I wonder if that will make a noticeable difference. I'd once heard something about cinnamon (along the lines of the baby powder trick), but it only seemed to bring more of them (back in Madison). Snowdrop looks so big and little all at the same time. I think that charming size trick lasts a long time, as I still think that about my five year old. I agree about your observations on calm.

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  3. A real Pippi Longstocking look ... starting on an adventurous life...

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  4. Good day. Sunshine so very welcome! I hear it will be with us for several days now.
    This weekend we will see our own little Grandgirl, it has been two weeks seen we last were together.
    Last time we brought mildly spicy shrimp pad Thai (she's had everything by now, even peanuts) which she tasted, shuddered :) and then wanted more...poking around with her chopsticks but allowing herself to be fed like a baby bird.

    I'll have to email you again - of course she's changed so much! but still looks like a Baby compared to Pippi. They are BOTH JUST RIGHT !!
    Love love

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  5. btw - loved the pic, "les jolie femmes" of three generations.

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