Monday, October 03, 2016

travails of farmette life

As predicted -- it is a brilliant day out there! Autumnal and lovely.

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At breakfast we talk about what needs to be done. Oftentimes this is idle chat. We make up a list and then do not follow it.

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But today, Ed finally fills the mower with gas and sets to cutting back the grassy fields of the farmette. We try to make the fields smaller each year by replacing them with flower beds or vegetable gardens, but three acres is a lot of land and so there remain stretches of grass that right now look like we're getting the land ready for a flock of pasture animals -- the grass is that tall.

Once he works the mower over to what I call the wedding pasture (it's where tents were set up a few years back for my daughter's wedding), I wave him to a stop. He does not turn off the engine, but looks at me questioningly.
Turn it off!
I can't. It's charging.
Okay, but I need to mow here. For five minutes.
You'll have to sit down as I get off, otherwise it'll stop the engine as I get up from the seat.

We do this complicated maneuver.

The reason I always want to mow here is that Ed dances around emergent raspberry canes. He wont cut them back and I know too well that if we let them go, we'll basically have a farmette of raspberry canes.

I mow the area I want cleared. Done.

No Ed on the horizon. I continue mowing.

Ten minutes later, I'm still mowing. And still no Ed.

One hour later, I'm still mowing and cursing under my breath, because the machine is moving very slowly and many of the tall grasses have to be mowed over two or three times before I'm satisfied.

Finally, as I steer the mower toward the next field, I see Ed trotting toward me.
Where were you??? I shout over the noise of the machine.
He reaches for the key and turns off the motor. Waiting for you to stop. 
I thought you couldn't turn off the engine!
It's charged already.
I did not know that. He glances at me with that "well, you should have known that" look. 
Besides, it's moving so slowly I could hardly get it to work.
He looks over at the controls: you've been mowing on idle???!?
What do you mean?
All this time, you had the throttle set on idle? No wonder it had no oomph!
But that's the way you had it!
Gorgeous, I pushed it down only because we were switching places...

I think I just am not good with machines.

And of course, by now the morning is gone and it is time to pick up Snowdrop.

The little one had a busy and full half day. The kids spent a good bit of time outdoors and I was not surprised to arrive and find the "all day" kids all fast asleep on their little cots.

Snowdrop rarely gives in to tiredness and indeed, as we step outside, she asks to go for a walk. I'm thinking -- this burst of energy can't last. I'll indulge it.

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And then I cajole her into the car with promises of the red wagon, strawberries and favorite stuffies all waiting for her at the farmhouse.

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Once home, we set out for a wagon ride -- it's easy going, now that the grass is cut!

When the place was overgrown and impassable, she'd wanted to go to the farm fields to the east of us. Today, I push the wagon there, proud of myself for mowing down a path straight to it.

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She is only mildly interested. She admires a few field flowers...

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Then turns and heads back toward the farmhouse.

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No problem, Snowdrop! You must be hungry for a light snack of fruit...

(She loves picking out people on the Paris place mat picture and giving them identities. The guy with the baguette is daddy. The cool looking woman reading a book is mommy. Etc.)

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She plays for a few minutes, but perhaps the little toy wagon reminds her of the great outdoors again because she asks with great urgency to go out once more.

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Okay, Snowdrop. We'll go feed the chickens bread.

She's thrilled with the idea, sporting her own piece of whole wheat bread to keep them company in their snack.

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I didn't see Butter eyeing Snowdrop's wee hand and missed shooing her off as the white hen reached up and ever so nimbly took the bread straight from Snowdrop's hand.
Mine! Snowdrop cries in anguish.
She didn't know. I explain that cheeper cognitive abilities and perceptions of possession are far less sophisticated than ours, but I know that for today, Snowdrop has had her fill of farmette chickens.

And I know as well that the girl is way overdue for a nap.

And she sleeps for a long time.

After? She looks at me inquisitively: what now, ga ga?

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I tell her -- we have to fix your high chair.

It's a decorative fix: pegs have to be hammered in to cover up screws -- but I hadn't wanted to wake her and so I waited 'til now.

She is fascinated.

But intimidated. A hammer? Bang bang bang? You do it ga ga!
No, you help me, Snowdrop.

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Phew. Heavy hammer. Hard work. Bang bang bang!

Job well done.

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And I think it is so interesting that immediately after the hammer work, she asks to go upstairs and she reaches for my bowl of amber beads. But here's a catch: they get caught in her hair, again and again.

Snowdrop, let's pull your hair back in a pony tail. See? Gaga is sporting a pony tail.

I pull her hair back with one of my bands.

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She can't see it of course, but she feels it (again and again). I show her (again and again) my own pony tail and she gets that this is what she has now.

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Well, so long as we're in the big bedroom, can we open up the closet and get gaga's shoes?

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Snowdrop, they're too big! Fine, put them on. But they're too big!
I can do it!

(Let's not tell her that she got the shoes on the wrong feet.)

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She then tries on a pair of my slippers. She can actually walk in these and now she is hell bent on showing off her new look to ah ah.

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It takes a lot of cajoling to get her to give up "dress up play" in favor of going outside. (Note that the beads stay on.)

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She takes her owl purse with her and in this last photo, she reminds me of an old woman out there in central Europe going out to the market to pick up the week's supply of pickles or beets for borstch.

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We take a spin around the fields once more. You've seen photos of her, of the flowers, of the fading crops. Let me end with one of the sky. That great Midwestern sky, all full of clouds and rays of sunshine and patches of heaven tinted in shades of cornflower blue.

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