Tuesday, August 21, 2012

a bowl of apple oatmeal

The apples this year are nothing to crow about. A last spring frost killed many of the buds and only a few red ones shine from the green and tired branches. I can see them up high on the hill where the sheep shed's get the earliest of the morning light the few that remain lay in wait. I walk up there with a shepherd's crook and the sheep a pasture away see me, the crook, and the tree and know exactly what is about to happen. Sal, the oldest and most savvy of the flock, comes leading the flock, baaing as his old legs canter him towards me. Crooks and late summer near the apple trees mean one thing to these critters: falling apples. Soon I am surrounded by my flock and as I get a few winners to plop into my large button-down shirt I am using as a net, the rest fall around me and only know earth for a few seconds before they are gobbled up. The ovines crunch their merry way into bliss and I can see bits of steam leave their maw on the cool morning. Two crows perched on a dead tree look down on us and I wave and smile. All of this is a psalm to me.

Fall is on his way.

The apples were collected because oatmeal made on the stove with fresh apples, cinnamon, Brett's maple syrup and brown sugar is a powerful way to fortify a woman for a day like today. In the next few hours I will meet up with Ajay from the farm down the road, do all the morning chores and feeding, share my breakfast pot, and load up in the truck for the oxen competition at the Washington County Fair. Neither Ajay or I have ever watched oxen in action and we aren't missing the weight pull. Lunch will be served, fair style, and then we're coming home to dress in long pants and shirt sleeves (regardless of the heat) to help a neighbor bring in his hay. Haying is the marathon chore of the summer and the older farmers could use two 30-year-olds to buck and jive in the wagons and help load into the lofts. By dusk both of us will be too tired to eat and will return to the Fair for the pro-rodeo to watch the broncos and bull riders. We'll watch the glory and guts of the rodeo, tired and sore under the lights of the ferris wheel, baptized in hard work from a day of hay and sweat.

But it all starts with a bowl of apple oatmeal.


Blogger DarcC said...

This was a powerful ode to a glorious farm day. Well done.

August 21, 2012 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

I can think of no better way to watch a rodeo than tired out from haying.

August 21, 2012 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I LOVE the rodeo. My husband swears it's the "Texas" in me (I'm a transplant to Montana). I'll be very interested to hear what you think about the oxen pulls. I've been stewing for years on the merits of oxen power vs horse. Can't wait for your report!


August 21, 2012 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger jules said...

Fall dipped down here in Lower AL and left us a trace of things to come. I woke this am and there was a hint of coolness in the air. 71°! We haven't seen that since early Spring.

Finally, we have Hope!

August 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Nicola Cunha said...

A beautiful psalm! Thanks!

August 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Nicola Cunha said...

Thanks for the beautiful psalm!

August 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Big Sky Chicken Ranch and Victory Garden said...

Mmmmmm, Aaaples 'n' Oooooatmeal! Truly the breakfast of haying champions. I'm so frickin' jealous of the haying....

August 21, 2012 at 6:40 PM  
Anonymous T. Crockett said...

I just finished a book that the whole time I was reading it I kept thinking I needed to tell you about it. The book is The Orchard: A Memoir by Adele Crockett Robertson. It's the story of a single woman in her 20s-30s trying to save the family farm/orchard single handed during the depression. You and Adele are cut from the same cloth. I think you'd love it. It all takes place in coastal northern MA. The memoir was found by the author's daughter, who got it published.

August 21, 2012 at 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Christine said...

Hope that ode makes it into one of your books....beautiful.

August 21, 2012 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Beautiful! I could not only see what you were describing but could smell the leaves and apples.

August 22, 2012 at 6:18 AM  
Blogger Wendy Halliman said...

Someone is in desperate need of a medication adjustment! ;x

August 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM  

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