Monday, February 13, 2017


If you're told that February 13th is going to sunny and quite warm (mid 40F or 6-ish C), you set your hopes for that day. Walk outside! Work outside! Play outside!

I suppose, looking back now, the day had all three elements. But they didn't come in the way I had expected them to.

Breakfast -- the ever predictable and today, very sunny morning meal.

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I push for a walk then. I think we haven't spent much time outdoors this winter. No snow, lots of ice and now squishy mud -- it's all rather uninviting. Since we were told we could dig into the wood chips that are being dumped in the back of our property line, we head out on foot to find a path to get to them with Ed's truck.

Walking through the farmed fields, we realize that the mud, along with layers of ice make this a poor place to drive through with a truck. But as we get to the now mountains of chips, the workman (whom we met yesterday) pauses and asks if we would like them dumped directly within the farmette lands.

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I respond with a resounding and enthusiastic yes!

And this is how we wind up with the first big mountain of chips on our land.

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(While the venerable farmhouse looks on, amused.)

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Now what?

We try to drive the truck through our property so that we can load it up with chips -- to be distributed at the ever expanding flower bed at the front of the farmette.

The truck gets stuck.

Again and again.

The wood chip piles (there is more than one) are high. We should at least throw down the chips more evenly on the ground, no? Out come the pitchforks. We set to work. It's such slow going!

The driver comes back with another load and looks at us with disbelief.
You're going to do that by hand?
He shakes his head. Let my drive up with the track skid steer and spread them out for you.

And of course, that is just lovely. He'll do the work in a few minutes for which we would have needed at least a week.

Still, what are we going to do with a field full of chips out back? Sure, they'll drown out the weeds. The first year. Maybe. But can we sow buckwheat or rye grass on top of chips? Can we sow anything on top of chips? Or should we haul some (all? no....!)  back to the front?

What the heck did I get us into?

But, it's nearly noon now and so we can't fret. I need to pick up Snowdrop and Ed has an afternoon meeting. We'll come back to this problem later.

Snowdrop is delighted that I have the stroller out for her after school.

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She is happy to roll along and explain her surroundings to me. She is also happy to pause at the coffee shop.

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And she is happy to be returning to the farmette, and to be invited to ride the red wagon as soon as I take her out of the car.
Snowdrop, we're going out back! You can play in wood chips! A machine is spreading them out for us as we speak!

She is not happy to be going out back for a face to face encounter with big, mean, loud track skid steer that has fangs large enough to snap up more than just wood chips.

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Still, I have to persevere. Ed's not back yet -- I need to touch base with the construction guy. I pick her up and we approach the monster machine at the same time that the farmer who farms the fields immediately to our north comes up to join us. He's puzzled about the game plan for this land for this season. Can he farm it? What part? For how long? Of course, we're curious as to the details too, but we already know that the construction crew just do the work. The plans are not for them to lay forth. And so we spend a pleasant if unproductive ten minutes with Snowdrop clinging to me, staring with trepidation and an occasional whimper at mean truck, while the super helpful construction person engages me in a pleasant conversation about accents, explaining that mine doesn't like I'm Wisconsin-born, and, too, with the truck farmer proudly telling us that his Hmong daughter speaks like a true Wisconsinite even as he himself clearly does not.

It is a fascinating set of minutes, even as I'm sure Snowdrop would beg to differ.

Inside, I tell the little one that I have some new books for her. She runs over to her shelf and pulls out one that is in fact not new, but nor have I read it to her before. I note this because it is a fascinating choice, considering the weather outside.

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Snowdrop is in command of her space once more and she very quickly asks for the yoga mat again.

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I understand her need for meditation. She has been through a lot.

Of course, when the weather is so very pleasant, everyone wants to profit from it. I know that Snowdrop had already spent a good number of hours outdoors with her classmates. It's not surprising that she wants inside time. And so I forgo luring her out again. We spend a quiet set of hours playing in the farmhouse. You can enjoy the sun from here, too, after all!

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Inside play... Drawing, for example. Oh how Snowdrop loves to draw!

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And when we join in this with her -- heaven.

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We're not returning to winter weather tomorrow. But I will not guess as to what the day might bring. Life is very unpredictable. Most often (though not always), that's a good thing.