Monday, July 10, 2017


Once again, storms raged last night through south central Wisconsin. Repeat lightning, pounding rains that caused flash floods and, of course, the furious winds.

And once again they toppled a huge farmette tree -- one that fell across a distant flower bed, resting in part on a poor, sagging birch. That section of the yard, right close to the sheep shed, now holds the official designation of being a total mess.

Ed's comment this morning? When the other tree fell down (about a month ago) and I had to clear it, I kept saying -- thank God this happened before the mosquitoes came!  

No such luck this time. In fact, a good rain like that only promises a swell in their population.

Clearing a partially felled tree is grueling and sometimes dangerous work. You can't make mistakes. Doing it while bugs are buzzing around your head and landing on any possible surface of skin or clothing makes it only worse. True, there is the protective mesh clothing, but zipping yourself inside it proves to be surprisingly hot. Who would have thought that putting on a porous nylon cover would make you sweat!

The rains interspersed with sunny days have been, of course, good for the flowers and today the lilies really exploded. Looking out from the vantage of the porch, we are finally seeing the gorgeous, varied blooms of the lily bed.

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... against the backdrop of an almost Impressionistic palate of more distant blooms.

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I take a pre-breakfast walk, ignoring the bugs, enjoying the beauty of a garden in full bloom.

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Okay, breakfast.

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Later, driving out to pick up Snowdrop, I pause for a second to give an appreciative nod to the roadside flower bed. It is in its second year and so it's finally starting to fill in. It's also impossible to photograph well, as it is very long, somewhat sloped and not too wide. But I can give you an idea of just one segment of it!

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It's pretty warm outside, but Snowdrop asks to keep her sweater on and I offer no comment.

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We go to the playground and she so wants to swing, but the sunshine has warmed her favorite swing to an uncomfortable degree. I offer a solution: place the sweater on the seat! Yay sweater! Happy girl!

I'm catching the children! -- she tells me as she swings towards the beach were little ones are playing.

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A thoughtful spin on the climbing structure...

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Strengthening those arms!

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And finally, a climb up on the life guard chair to enjoy the bowl of fruits that Gaga brought for our little outing.

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Oh no, all gone?

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After this adventure, I drop Snowdrop off with her parents -- she has a 2.5 year old check up (looking great!) and I have a free afternoon.

Well, to a degree.

When I return home, I see that Ed has not tackled the tree yet. It really is an odious job, but it must be taken care of soon. We're not sure the birch can support the heavy old tree and it would be a shame to lose that too.

I give one huge sigh and then offer to help. I'll wave the mosquito paddle around you.
That wont be safe. Two of us standing under that tree is definitely not a good idea. Do your projects. You need your afternoon. I'll take care of the tree.

Still, time passes and he stays inside.

The bugs are at their lowest number at this time of the day... I prod.
You're right. I'm going right now.

He stays put. Honestly, Snowdrop bounded into the doctor's office with greater enthusiasm that he has for working outside today.

In the end, without further talk, we both go out to tackle the job. He saws, I pick up fallen limbs and stack them in his tractor wagon. We do this until he starts feeling too tired to be safe with that power saw. Half done. Maybe more.

A monarch crosses my path as I return to the farmhouse. She dances from one milkweed flower to the next. We'll watch to see if she laid eggs.

The butterflies and bees, the flowers, the peas, tomatoes and berries, the blooming crab, the overloaded lilac -- they give us so much joy! At every single breakfast on the porch, we talk about how beautiful the world is outside.

This day had elements of the flip side: tending to the land when it needs help, when it's not so pleasant out there, when the air conditioned farmhouse seems like a spot in heaven.

But all I need to do is glance out again, catch a glimpse of that butterfly. And of the lilies, daisies, irises, phloxes, asters, sunflowers, campanulas, lupines, lavender and a million other daintily beautiful flowers.

Ed and I know this one truth: working the farmette land together is, for us, important. And deeply satisfying. And the benefit is obvious, at breakfast in the morning, or when a pizza guy delivers pizza (last Saturday) and says -- I just want you to know, like holy shit, the flowers here are just amazing!