Friday, May 16, 2008

my porch, coop and gardens (so far)



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

coming attractions

The next few weekends will be picking up on my little farm. Soon there will be angora bunnies, a hive of bees, and rows of corn planted by swirling pumpkin vines. All of it will happen in a fever storm the rest of the world will know as "memorial day weekend" - and I'll know it as get-everything-in-the-ground and get-your-animals-in-line weekend. I want everything for the summer growing season in the dirt by the end of next weekend, which means not only another raised bed or two (sod busting and all) but hand tilling three rows for sweet corn, mounds for the squash, and about a dozen tomato plants for salads, salsa and sauces. Can you taste the yummy? I can.

Besides gardenland there is chicks and goslings arriving, along with a Friday morning pick-up of bees in upstate New York. Saturday I'll be meeting an angora person at a Rutland Rabbit show to get a breeding pair of rabbits (papers and all), so in a few months I'll be selling my own farm-born bunnies... Holy night, it's going to be a long weekend. Which is exactly why I want to become a writer full time - to transition my career into something I love to do, that I can do from home. I'll get there eventually, right now it's office life 40 hours a week till I'm free to dive into these crash-course weekends in the real world of farming.

P.S. Check out how badass Rufus Wainright looks in that picture.

Monday, May 12, 2008

wooly buggers and royal wolves

This weekend I took a two-day intensive introduction to fly fishing with Orvis. The company has these schools that take complete beginners and show them how to fish. It was one hell of a packed schedule. It covered everything you could possibly need to know to get out on the water by yourself - I learned how to cast properly, how to tie delicate knots, read water, gear checks, etiquette, trout species, heck we even looked at charts of what bugs were hatching where and when so we'd know what flies to use. I came home both days exhausted, but happy. I didn't catch a single fish (I don't have the skill too yet), but I dipped my toe into this world of naturalists, travelers and outdoors-people. I am humbled by it's history and complexity. I am challenged by it's simple rewards. Fly-fishing and I are going to get along just fine. I can already tell.

After my certification was through, I went to the store and bought my own rod, reel, and fishing vest. Thanks to our discount I was able to afford slightly better gear than my tax bracket would usually allow. On the way home from work I stopped on the Batten kill to practice my casting, and relax from two days of classrooms and instructors. It was sunset, and the Hendricksons were hatching and wafting around me in little clouds. I wouldn't know what a Hendrickson fly was, or any fly for that matter, before my fly-fishing course. Now they seemed to be everywhere. Every now and then a trout would rise to meet one. I got excited at the sight of them. After a while I stopped trying to catch fish, and just focused on my casts. I listened to the redstarts chattering around me, (a bird I didn't even know the name of until I came home and looked it up) and felt the water rush over my hips. I didn't have waders, I just let the river get me wet. The sun set in the green mountains. I counted breathes like I would in Zen meditation, and thought about nothing. Thoreau wrote that, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.” There certainly is something to that. And since spinning reels weren't invented until after WWII, he was talking about fly-fishers.

I pulled in my dry fly, cut if off the line, stuck it in my hat and went home.