Monday, July 7, 2008

back from pa

Back from a long weekend in Pennsylvania. Three days of family, gardening, fireworks and French toast. Now that I live in New England the drive home is considerably less of a big deal than it was in Tennessee or Idaho (10 hours or 4 day's drive respectively) I hit the road at 7:30 Friday morning and was home around lunchtime. Not too shabby.

The big project was my parent's garden. This is their first year planting any substantial food-garden. Not that they are strangers to fresh veggies, by any means. I grew up in a house that always had tomatoes plants by the back deck and my mom, who would happily eat out every meal of the rest of her life, knows there is no excuse to put canned pumpkin in a pie (plus, she tends a mean flower garden). So, they have grown and cooked with their own food before. But we were expanding the operation to mythic proportions for our own family's humble backyard history.

My neighbor here in Vermont is a retired botanist for a New York City college. He has a heck of a garden at his house, and he overestimated his flats of seedlings - leaving him with more food than he could plant. He graciously gave me a crapload of free veggies. So in the back hatch of station wagon I had corn, pumpkins, pole beans, peas and Russian yellow tomatoes. All going to 330 Columbia to meet their new home in PA soil.

We weeded, mulched, shoveled, hoed and planted as a family. My mom commented that she felt Amish, what with the neighbor's raising a barn next door and all (they are loudly rebuilding a new garage from the ground up). After our work was done we had a nice little patch of corn, two hills of pumpkins (two plants each), pole beans in stakes, peas along the fence and heirloom tomatoes planted in containers around the perimeter. I was proud of it. When all the work was done and the ground was watered we all sat outside on the porch with lemonade and the banjo. Good times.

By the end of the weekend we were bickering over stupid things and I was ready for a quiet log cabin. But it was a nice little trip back home and when I returned all my poultry was healthy and well. But there was a small tragedy. One of the bunnies had crawled out of the hutch and had made it to the chicken's fencing. Where it got it's head stuck in the wire and perished. No chicken had touched it, much to my relief that it didn't meet it's end at beaks and claws. But It was still a sad site to come home too. Now we're down to six bunnies, and if I end up with five I'll be content. I lost one to natural causes, and two to wandering away from home.

There was the somber realization that had I been home to watch them maybe I wouldn't have lost the little guy. But what is done is done, and now it's my job to make sure the rest grow up healthy so they can start helping other spinners get their own wool from their own herds. As Catherine Friend put it in her book, "Hit by a Farm", where there's livestock there's deadstock. Keeping animals means sorrow and joy every day. It's a reality I'm learning more and more as I expand my own homestead every year. And one i'll wrestle with personally as I raise my first ever animal for the table - our family's Thanksgiving turkey.

I am sorry though, little bunny.

2 Comments:

Blogger Diana said...

Wow! That's a lot of food in the back of your car. Nice neighbor! Hugs about the bunny, though.

July 7, 2008 at 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shit you are funny girl...I'm still giggling just thinking of the Amish comment. Happy Birthday.
-Sara

July 12, 2008 at 9:32 PM  

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