Monday, August 06, 2018

unusual quiet

The grading crews in the development next to us have been working six days a week, digging, dumping, pounding from 7 in the morning until 5 in the evening. On Sundays there usually is a pause and thus a porch breakfast allows us to listen to the birds, appreciating the sounds that a garden brings out in mid summer. But yesterday, that quiet was shattered, not by trucks, but by a constant stream of honking cars.

We live on a rural road that is sometimes used to get to the boat launch on Lake Waubesa just a few miles to the east. Therefore, it's not unusual to have our share of boat traffic on a weekend morning or afternoon. Since our porch and courtyard are away from the road, the movement of cars is hardly detectable. Except for one day out of the year (yesterday) when the kids of our one and only neighbor decide to put up a sign in the yard: It's Dave's birthday! Honk if you wish him well!

I don't know if he likes this birthday noise. Maybe he doesn't want to tell his kids (all grown and living elsewhere) that it's a terrible idea. For us, it's miserable. Every other car that passes honks, sometimes more than once. A hint to all of you: if you're thinking of asking people to honk their horns to commemorate an important event in your life, do reconsider!

But today, Monday, it's blissfully quiet. It's the reward that comes with all the storms that passed through last night. The thunder would have waken the hardiest of sleepers (it certainly woke Snowdrop, who hates loud bangs), but the rain also brought muddy wetness to the construction site and so the crew had to take a day off. How lovely!

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The day is made quiet, too, by Ed's absence. He himself isn't loud, but as we share the small space of the farmhouse, inevitably we toss around comments throughout the day. But of course, not today.

My work in the garden is pleasant, in a wet kind of way.

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I'm happy that the garden finally received a nice shower. The soil was too dry. The flowers needed refreshment.

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But I don't spend more than an hour making improvements. In August, you slow down. Perhaps that's a good thing. You spend more time with each flower, appreciating its unique beauty...

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Even as you never lose your appreciation and love for the entirety.

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Beside the garden, there are the animals: on balance, they need little attention, even though they are constantly reminding me that they wouldn't mind a more frequent spraying of corn kernels, or even leftover cobs from last night's dinner. They pick out what the human hand has left behind.

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We now have four girls laying daily. That is one heck of a lot of eggs! I have to show you the line up from today's lot. Henny gives us the green egg and I'm guessing that young Pepper gives us the tiny tiny egg, though with a big yolk inside! (I also pick tomatoes, leaving some for Snowdrop. who adores the little cherry ones straight off the vine)

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Ah, Snowdrop! The little girl surely must have had a tired day after that stormy night. Indeed, I find her on her little mat napping. But, the school bells are ringing and she wakes up, at once explaining that she must hurry and get up now. Snowdrop has a nice balance of not wanting to break rules, at the same time that she likes to test the definitional boundaries: so I really must put away my slippers? How about if I just push them to the side? No? Well what if I put them in the area of the cubbies?

But bells and whistles make her snap to attention. I tame the impact by offering help with her nap bag and suggesting that we go to the playground for a long period of swinging.

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(I should note that the walk to the park playground is so very nice at this time of the year. I love to admire gardens of any sort. Here are two I think are pretty...)

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At the farmette, Snowdrop picks her way through the cherry tomatoes. The cheepers hover, but she is that much bigger and they're not sure if a tomato is worth their effort. I glare at them as they eye her little prize. You better let her be! And they do. None of our cheepers are especially bold.

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As we enter the farmhouse, she looks around the mudroom and asks with some amount of incredulity -- grandma, how did you clean this?!
I have to laugh. She would notice! I point to the little broom and dustpan.

Inside now, after a huge bowl of cherries, blueberries and peaches (August fruits are so heavenly!) and a few good books, she launches into a story.

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Each time I see her after even a short break, she seems that much older, more perceptive and attentive to all that happens in her widening world.
She asks me now -- Grandma, would you go with us to visit the dancing penguins? We would have to take an airplane because they live in Antarctica. We could pick you up and then you could fly with us! We would play in the cold and of course, we would dance. Do you want to go with us?

She knows it's just a fantasy, but I can see that these images make her so happy. And her joy becomes, of course, everyone's joy.

As she leaves to go home, I wave good bye, then glance at the image of some movement in the branches of the crab apple. Is it a lurking animal? A predator?

Oh, little chicks, ever since you were babies, you have loved using your wings to fly as high as you could possibly go!

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Evening. The setting sun is at once beautiful, right here, in this stretch of the Big Bed...


... and it is a reminder that I must put the cheepers into the coop. I'm still thinking of ways to grab each girl without having her flap her strong wings in my face. Maybe in a week or two or three, or is it a month or more or less I will have figured it out.

In the meantime Ed calls to let me know that they're sailing around, not going anywhere at all just yet, as they wait for the winds to pick up and send them on their way.