Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tuesday in four very short chapters

Early Morning

Wake up to the promise of sunshine.

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It's not a forever and ever promise: the stormy clouds will come, the rain will descend -- all that. But in the wee hours of the morning, the golden light is warm and welcoming.

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I spend an hour in the new orchard, clearing bind weed from around the young trees and examining our grape vines. I'm surprised to see them thriving: they grow in the distant corner of the farmette and it truly is an "out of sight out of mind" affair. The vines need more attention than we've given them. I do a half assed weeding job this morning and make a note to return here in the next couple of days.

What blooms capture my attention today? Oh, without a doubt this beautiful, first of the season day lily!

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No, I wont ignore the noble iris...

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And I'm so appreciative of the pots of annuals that line the walkway to the farmhouse...

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But still, the first day lily signals to me that transition from spring to summer.

Finally: breakfast. On the porch.

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Snowdrop is Snowdrop

I whisk the little girl away for a walk (much to her delight) as soon as I arrive to care for her. Rain is in the forecast and I can tell by the skies that they mean business. 

We make it all the way to the distant coffee shop and I smile to myself in recalling all the times I had taken Snowdrop here in preparation for the cafes she was sure to encounter on her trip to Paris. Well, in fact, she really did not encounter a single cafe there. Instead, she slept through one lunch and ate her way in the company of us all through many a meal thereafter. But no coffee shop.

But the little one did have her share of Parisian berry tarts and this must have spoiled her somewhat, because today, when I presented her with the typically coveted bits of apple cinnamon scone, she ate a small morsel, then looked decidedly unenthusiastic.

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At home, she pulls me to the refrigerator and tries to open its great doors. She wants berries.

(Grandma tries to sneak on a hair clip.)

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(Snowdrop catches me at it.)

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What to do on a rainy day? Oh, dance, of course. Snowdrop loves, loves, loves to move to music. (The photos are on a self timer.) (Grandma is a little nutty.)

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Not sure I can take you out in public, grandma.

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Nothing that we do on the farmette traces the work of real farmers whose livelihoods depend on the crops they grow. We're hobbyists. If all our tomatoes fail, we will still eat well this winter. The barn shields chickens in the cold or wet weather and, too, it shields an ancient John Deere, but we use that tractor mainly for cutting quack grass and for hauling boulders.

Still, today, we play the part of farners just a tiny bit more authentically: we have a half acre that had been cleared for the Laotian farmers who used it to supplement their other truck crop farming to the north and east of us. But this year, we just could not communicate well enough to get them to clear the field and plant it again. We'd set dates, no one would show up -- that kind of thing. 

In deciding that they simply did not have time to work this bit of land, we then had to make a decision as to what the next step should be. Weeds were already taking over. Our window of opportunity was rapidly closing in on us.

In the end, I drove out to the farmers' coop this afternoon and purchased some twenty three pounds of winter rye seed -- a very indifferent ground cover that's cheap and easy to apply.

We sowed the seeds...

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(And I watched Butter follow along and pick some up after us...)

(Man, this stuff is good!)

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And only then does it strike me that we should have, instead, put in buckwheat.

If you're Polish, you'll know buckwheat. We eat it by the truckloads there. (Or at least we did when I was growing up.) And the flowers it bears! Oh, the lovely pinkish white flowers that attract the beneficial insects we so want to invite to the farmette!

So tomorrow I'll wear my (imaginary) dungarees again, go back to the farmers co-op and bring back some buckwheat. 

Snowdrop at the farmette

In the evening, Snowdrop is with us at the farmette. It's a gorgeous time of day and predictably, she is delighted to be outside. With her ball.

Do you think the cheepers will play ball with me?

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The terrain here is not exactly easy to navigate for a toddler. It's rough, uneven and twiggy and I am impressed that in these last two weeks, she has become confident and strong, so that moving across it is suddenly a breeze. 

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And inside the farmhouse, she rediscovers her books and toys (but especially her books). These have been her true friends here -- the penguin line up, the Maisy stories, Slinky Malinky, oh, so many that I have used in the past months to help her manage hours of winter and early spring. She is just ecstatic to be with them again. At her table.

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Ed comes in from his workshop and here, too, there is the joy of the familiar, the missed routines, the tumbles and upsidedown time.

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I tell her we are to make pizza for supper and she is, as always, a great sous chef.

I think that's quite enough cheese, grandma!

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And an even better consumer of the finished product.

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There you have it: the day's four chapter. All short. All sweet.

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