Tuesday, April 22, 2014

the next day

First and foremost -- you, Ocean friends, you make me smile and smile! Thank you so very much for all your generous comments and birthday messages. You are a very kind bunch, really you are!

Now, let's get on with the "day after."

After you've scaled the giddy heights of a birthday, it's time to come down and face the more bothersome elements of existence. At least that is what I tell myself the next morning.

True, I wake up to a gorgeous sunny day (though a tad cool in the morning).


And it is so tempting just to blow it away in some other pleasant outdoor fashion. After all, the list of spring jobs and pleasures is so long!

And at breakfast, we discuss what should be done next (Ed's list is even longer because there are many construction-type things that only he can do).


I tell him that there are two chores that I dislike immensely and therefore, after such a carefree weekend, I should take on one of them. Sort of like switching to salty foods after you've gorged on sweetness.

The two odious (in my book) chores include using the Zero-turn mower to bring down the prairie grasses and weeds out back and secondly -- cleaning out the old barn. It's obvious why cleaning an old barn is dreadful. Let me tell you why mowing the back prairies is even worse.

First of all, it's not entirely a prairie. In addition to butterfly plants (nice!), there is a dense underground network of quack grasses and brambler vines. Animals have dug trenches and burrowed homes over the years, so the terrain is sloped and lumpy. There are stumps from old honeysuckle that we laboriously took out last year and the year before that. It really is a mess back there and still, I want to clear it. Yes, in anticipation of my daughter's big day, but really, I just feel we could do better than to let nearly an acre of land look so... unproductive. (Long term goal: perhaps grow some clover to attract bees. Or something.)

And did I tell you that riding that Zero-turn mower over lumpy terrain makes me sea-sick?

Let me try to not mind. I want to start clearing some of those grasses and weeds. I had started doing that last year, but the bulk of it is still an overgrown mess.

Ed starts the big tractor-machine. I'm off.

The one (and only) good thing I'll say for this job is that it offers a nice view past the farmette prairie, towards the fields to the north of us.


Otherwise, it's a hellish piece of work.

I can't go too fast. There are obstacles that must be avoided. A skull of a deer, or some other large animal, for example. Or the dead body of a possum. Or slightly more prosaic obstacles -- honeysuckle stumps.

I avoid most of them, but, unfortunately, not all of them. I am so intent on not flipping the tractor over on top of myself on the hills and bumps that I don't see it: a big tree stump. I barrel right into it. And break the mower. I mean, I totally tear up and dent the mower deck and the blades can't spin and there you have it -- job half done, machine in ruins.


He takes it apart, sees the damage, looks up the cost of replacement parts, sighs and begins to remove all the bent, twisted, torn pieces of metal. True, he is a guy who can work with metals, but I think he would favor designing interesting tools and widgets over untwisting and welding old tractor mower pieces.

Ed's day is now spent on repair work. I am determined to at least tidy up my half finished mowing job and so I take down those grasses with a regular old mower and I can't tell you which I dislike more -- bumping around on that Zero-turn or pushing a stubborn little machine over a field of stumps and two foot dried grasses.

Never mind. Job is now done (albeit sloppily) and it wont need to be done again for another month, by which time I hope to have forgetten about how much I do not like mowing.

In other news -- we are delighted, truly delighted to see the chickens now finally reach some degree of harmonious camaraderie.

(a favorite gathering place)

(favorite resting place)

Ed is like a proud grandpa. If the chicken will let him, he'll pick her or him up and this is when you'll see the widest grin of contentment on his face.


Needless to say, the chickens follow us everywhere.  It is truly fun now to have them around. And so far, the yard destruction is minimal. (Though I may be eating my words here. I threw them a few old strawberries and both Oreo and Butter went after them with great zest. Lest you think all chickens are the same -- not so. Whitney and Scotch are fairly indifferent to strawberries. At least those grown in California.)

And again, the evening is full of beauty and promise. Yes, tomorrow it will still be spring. Yes, the best days are still before us. Yes, the daffodils will still be there when we wake up the next morning.