Sunday, July 13, 2014

Potatoes & Chainsaw Bikes

It is gently raining outside and I am very tired. It has been a long and glorious Sunday, and that tired is a very good sort of ailment. The day started here with chores and then I headed back into the pickup to head to the sheepdog trials. This time, Gibson stayed at the farm. It was a grand thing having him with me, feeling special and proud, but the club I am a member of, NEBCA (though lapsed recently, I think?)—runs on a volunteer heartbeat. So I returned without the glory of my good dog just to sit under a tent with the judge and help keep score. That was most of my day and while writing down points on outruns, fetches, drives, and shedding I learned much and had a wonderful conversation with the man, who turned out to work for Cornell University. It was fun kicking the tires with him. And while we watched the dogs compete out on the windy fields gentle rains came and left across the mountaintop farmland. Some one hired a bagpiper for the festival and the soundtrack was perfect.

When I came home I spent some time outside with the critters, doing chores and checking on beasts large and small. I weeded a small kale patch in my kitchen garden (pictured above). That little garden is doing well and providing plenty while giving the bee hive some valuable real estate. That whole front garden, long and true, is just potatoes. There are 24 plants in there and I am hoping for a harvest of sixty pounds of spuds. Sixty pounds will keep this one woman all winter, most likely. What a thing, that. It seems like a lot of potatoes, and it is, but what amazes me about growing potatoes is how much food you get for such little effort. This year it was one pass of the rototiller the Hoff family brought over. The year before: an afternoon with a shovel and hoe. Work, sure, but talk about a repayment. A third of my body weight in food! Hooo!

When the chores were done tonight I headed down to my friends' farm. The Daughton Family was helping me out with my truck, which is due for inspection by the end of the month and has several obstacles in its path to passing said test. Mostly having to do with some O2 sensor on the V8, which means I am emitting more emissions than I should. I joke around about how much I get around on a horse these days but Cathy Daughton said she doubted the state had leniency for hoofed miles. But they said they knew the part I needed and would help me install it next weekend. Cathy handed me some freshly picked gooseberries and we snacked while talking about how to get the truck road legal in three weeks. I am praying I can afford the repairs. If I can't, well, I have a horse and work from home. Worst things happen to better people every day.

The highlight of my visit to the Daughton's is Ian's invention (age 12). He has created a motor bike by rigging a chainsaw engine to a regular bicycle. It is genius. By adding a belt, a belt wheel, a starter button and some welding Ian has created gas power to his huffy. Ian is going places. I eat more gooseberries and wonder what people in the city do on Sunday nights?

The rain is starting to pick up and thunder is starting to rumble. I am thinking about the piglets. Earlier this afternoon I made sure they had a pile of bedding deep enough to sublet a rabbit warren. They had a dinner of yesterday's goat milk and some pig chow with some kitchen scraps and I am thinking of them now as I write you fine people. Out behind this farmhouse two piglets are dry and sleepy, buried in hay and listening to rain on a metal roof while they doze off with full belly. It makes me happy, as any thought of animals in comfort based on my direct actions does.

Tonight I am going to sit back and watch Babe, a favorite move with plenty of sheepdog trials and farm goodness inside it's truffle center. I have not seen it in years. I am excited. Rex is my favorite character in that story and it'll good to see him again. And on that note I say goodnight. Let us celebrate good dogs, beds of potato futures, snug piglets fat on goats' milk, and movies that keep us smiling. We're the lucky ones, us.


Blogger Unknown said...

On the note of growing your own food which leads to cooking from scratch, I was at Walmart yesterday and I think I actually had a a panic attack while I was there or at least the beginnings of one. Not only were almost all of the people there incredibly rude and so unaware of anyone else around them, the amount of boxed an prep repaired food stunned me. I normally dont shop at that store and go to a smaller grocery store which really isn't that small. After walking down two aisles I couldn't believe it.a everything was in boxes or packets and most of it was already cooked just needing some added water and a microwave. The other thing that struck me was the fact that most of the people were in those aisles. The produce section was nearly empty as we're the dairy and meat department and there was no one in the bakery. When I shop I normally only ashop the periphery of the store with occasional ventures into the aisles for staples like flour and the like. It made me so anxious to see that this is what our world has come to. A world of disposable perpackaged crap that had 80% of the people in that store some form of obese, most of them morbidly so. I was horrified and extremely glad that I have 20 or so potato plants and other vegetables growing. It made me even more proud of the fact that I was up at 5:30 am Saturday making slow cooker minestrone from scratch with far stand fresh vegetables and the fact that I am annoyed I can't find enough fresh peaches to can for the winter.

July 14, 2014 at 8:43 AM  

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