Saturday, August 29, 2015

a Saturday to remember

I admit it -- I would have liked a bit of sunshine, so that our guests could stream seamlessly in and out, onto the porch on freshly constructed steps, through a grand patio door, then back in again.

But despite the absence of warm summer breezes, it was really an extraordinary and dazzling day -- the kind the farmette does not see very often.

Of course, we are up early. I want to leave plenty of time for last minute details, even though I had done such a thorough job preparing the farmhouse yesterday for the arrival of the guests today, that at one point, I sat down on the couch next to Ed, who was casually reading reviews of canoe trips we could take this spring and said -- I have nothing left to do!

Earlier, at dawn, as I set out to release the cheepers, I wandered over to the neighboring fields farmed by our handful of truck farmers. We've been told by some to help ourselves to things they grow there, but we've never done it. The farming families work hard for what little they get from the short season. It seems inconsiderate to snip away at their livelihood (or bits of their livelihood, as they all seem to maintain jobs beyond caring for these fields).

But today I'm tempted to pick a few flowers for the tables...

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No, I can't do it. I have enough blooms in the yard. I can do some hefty yellow bouquets out of those.

Alright, breakfast. We eat outside, even though it is a cool morning. (Flowers picked. Note, too, the nifty light-filtering steps to the left. Ed likes to point out that he built them from leftover bits of plywood and boards and bricks lying around the farmette.)

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We discuss the day. We've been (foolishly?) tempted to supplement our cheeper pack with another hen. Or two.  Our two girls are getting old. Egg production will diminish, if not cease altogether this year. Shouldn't we increase the size of our little family? Wouldn't they all be warmer if huddled next to additional hen bodies? Craigslist revealed some tempting choices.

Ed asks -- you want to drive out to see the Brahma hens for sale just to the west of us? A half hour away?
I respond -- I don't have time!! And then (foolishly?) I reconsider -- well, okay, no earlier and no later than 3, because I have the tables to set and the cakes to pick up and and...

We never leave days alone to let them meander at their own pace!

Alright, table is ready...

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A drinks butcher-block cart is stocked...

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I pick up my cakes from Madison's newest pastry shop (blueberry dacoise -- made with almond meringue, opera -- layers of sponge, coffee and chocolate, and a tarte tatin -- aka apple upside down cake)...

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I pop in to say hi to Snowdrop and catch her in the finest of spirits, just as she is waking up from her nap...

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A chance to feed her and give her a great hug...

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... and then I quickly scoot out.

Ed and I have just enough time to drive out to Cross Plains and get not one, but two young Brahma hens. Names to be determined, but the running favorite of mine is Oprie and Apple. See if you can guess why.

We know, of course, that we will have to go through a period of adjustment. Pecking order has to be reestablished. I feel confident Scotch will not be overly aggressive. And still, our two old girls watch intently as Ed puts down the caged new girls...

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We place the speckled little hens (they're four month old, so they have not attained their full size yet) in the coop, just to let them know what's what...

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And the last update is that no one has attacked them yet, though Scotch is squawking terribly loudly. (And, this: one of the newbies is definitely more adventurous than the other huddled mass of feathers.)

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Meanwhile, back at the farmhouse, my wonderful guests arrive. The food is delivered. The party begins.

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...and continues.

It's so good to simply sit back and fall in love with everything around you.