Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday's schedule

Yesterday, as I drove back to the campground, I thought about the Fall this year: we were ready for it and then it seemed so tentative. At times humid, at times wet, always buggy, with tempting days of brisk sunshine that never quite stayed around long enough.

But of course, right now it is splendid! And we surely are well positioned to admire the colors from where we parked for the night.

(Driving along the Wisconsin River)

ice age trail-3-2.jpg

(The final stretch of road to the place where we pitched our tent)

ice age trail-5-2.jpg

(The bluffs, at the close of the day)

ice age trail-6-2.jpg

(Our tent, at sunset)

ice age trail-8-2.jpg

(The last rays)

ice age trail-14-2.jpg

There are somewhere between 30 and 50 trail building volunteers for a supper of tacos (beans for people like me who run away from ground meat), but most hover near the barn. A hardy few eventually follow us to the campfire.

(This photo is a selfie, on a time release)

ice age trail-16-2.jpg

I tell Ed that campfires will always remind me of Poland. We had them all the time: young kids, gathering branches, building a hot blaze that would turn to embers and blacken potatoes we'd stick in the hottest places. There would almost always be singing. With guitar, often my own. Lots of singing.

Of course, we don't sing on this night. Many of the volunteers are tracking some ball games and the rest of just watch the flames dance. I add logs to warm a larger space, though on a chilly night like tonight, your back will always stay cold.

ice age trail-19-2.jpg

By 9 we are ready to call it quits.

Ed and I fall asleep to the loud noise of coyotees. Packs came close, then retreat, always making a racket, barking, howling, acting like wild kids out to make trouble.

And in the morning, we wake to frost.

You don't really get cold if you have a good sleeping bag, but I went for comfort and brought my lumpy fat pillow and so I kept my head outside the bag. Every time I switched positions, I'd hit a cold spot on the pillow and my face would cringe.

All the more reason not to want to get up and get going. Indeed, we don't rouse ourselves until after 8 -- by which time the volunteers are off and away, building the trail.

Not us. Both Ed and I have full days today and there is no time for outdoor work.

But there is time to admire the bluffs in the morning light.

ice age trail-24.jpg

And then, we take the ferry back, find a good coffee shop in Waunakee (a town to the north of Madison that boasts: "we are the only Waunakee in the world!") and have a very lovely working breakfast.

ice age trail-32.jpg

And then Ed goes to his tech meetings and I plunge into the craziness of this day which includes a wonderful session of physical therapy to give me some hints on how to keep my lower back from bugging me when I stand (!), and it includes grocery shopping for a weekend of visitors (my younger daughter and her husband will be with us until Sunday!), and it includes getting a haircut (because I'm going to Poland next week and I cannot be seen by my friends in my most ragged state), and it includes meeting up with Snowdrop's other grandma and walking with her to pick up the little one at school -- a routine that she will be following by herself all next week.

So you get a few photos of Snowdrop, who is, of course, delighted to see the both of us at school.

(You see? I walk down all by myself!)

after school.jpg

(And I like to push the cart, like this!)

after school2.jpg

I linger at Snowdrop's home. She takes off shoes, puts them up and away...

farmette life-1.jpg

She runs, she pretends, she plays...

farmette life-2.jpg

farmette life-4.jpg

... but I do not stay long.

I'll be seeing the sweet girl later in the weekend.

I should mention that the day included a rather nervous return to the farmette. We had taken a chance with the cheepers. Most of them go to sleep on the light tree branches -- safe from most harms that can befall them. But Java is a coop girl and almost always falls asleep there, before Ed puts the other girls away with her and locks the door.

Before our night away, we toyed with the idea of closing the coop with no one in it, forcing Java to fall asleep with the other girls, but in the end, we wanted to keep the roost open and available in our absence. Not that the hens are laying much these days, but closing up their home would be confusing. We left it open. We rarely see predators and we hoped that this, too, would be a clam night.

It was and when I came home with groceries, all girls ran out to see me. I was very relieved!

Evening. Ed and I are just now coming together in the warm farmhouse. I had seen my daughter for a drink, he had seen a friend for lunch. We exchange stories. I prepare supper and remind him to lock up the cheepers.

He goes out and comes back within a brief few minutes.

We have a situation, he tells me with a bit of a grin.

This is something that I love about him so much: nothing ever fazes him.
I turn off the pot that's set for cooking tonight's veggies. What happened?
Well, as I got to the coop, I saw that two hens were in the tree, two hens were upstairs in the coop and downstairs, a possum was eating their feed.

Now, this could be terrifying. Possums eat chickens. At the very least they eat their eggs, but when things get tough, they'll go after anything.

We make a peanut butter sandwich and Ed places it in a trap, just outside the coop. A half hour later, the possum is caught and released at a distance, and the cheepers are in the coop.

All is right with this corner of the world. And that's such a good thing.