Category Archives: countrylife

A Recent Conversation With Mama Moo Moo

The other day I stopped by to chat with Mama Moo Moo DSC_0061It can take awhile to catch Mama’s attention with all that grass out there. But Baby sees me.DSC_0077Yes, Mama Moo Moo. Come on over here. I want to talk to you.

Wait a second, Baby says. Where are you taking Mama Moo Moo and my milk supply?

DSC_0080Mama decides she’ll come over for a chat. Baby doesn’t move.DSC_0083We discuss weekend plans, the coming snow, and since it’s rather obvious – that very full udder.DSC_0075Mama Moo Moo and I would sit down with a hot cup of tea, but you know, this fence isn’t something her or I want to attempt to climb over.DSC_0090We go back to discussing her milk supply. “Girl, I’m just so full of milk! I jingle jangle all over the place!”DSC_0123 Which prompts Baby to high-tail it over here. Milk? Milk? Are they talking milk?

DSC_0095 Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmmm. Mama Moo Moo’s milk sure is good.DSC_0092 I know.

DSC_0096 Why she’s looking at me, Mama?

DSC_0098I gotta go, Mama says. We’ve got to get this nursing thing done cause he’s just gonna want eat in an hour again!DSC_0104 Mmmmmm. Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Milk, glorious milk.

DSC_0114 I try to be sneaky and go to the other side but I can’t get any closer or it distracts Baby and makes Mama mad.DSC_0113 Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Milk.

DSC_0120 Excuse me? She’s there again. Watching me.

Okay, okay. I say good-bye for the day, tell Mama we’ll catch up again soon.DSC_0110 Mama trots off when Baby’s done. Sometimes a mom just needs a little alone time.

moomoo Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Graaaaassssss.

grass So much glorious grass! Gotta eat it up before it snows. Like, tomorrow.

photoIsn’t she a beautiful Mama? And can you see? I caught her mid-sentence!

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Helping Hale Hay the field {with a possible wardrobe malfunction}

The last hay day was in October. Ten months later the farmers were back at it. And once again I was following around like the paparazzi.

Not everyone likes hay day. On Instagram (let’s be friends HERE) it was deemed the WORST day because it’s hot and hard work and itchy itchy itchy. But you see, I’m not actually doing the work – I’m just taking pictures. Of course I like hay day!

The other day I was salty. I had taken the kids to the lake in the morning and by the time we got back, we had missed the whole beautiful haying experience (them farmers work fast) -how disappointing. The one bright spot was that there were a few bales left and I knew my farmer friends would be back to collect.

My mother and I decided it would be the perfect time to color our white roots. Since I didn’t want to sit in a wet, sandy bathing suit, I left my top on, but took the bottoms off and wrapped myself in a towel. (uh…tmi?)

Just as I rinsed out the lovely rich dark brown color that was in too long making me look like a vampire, I heard my tractor friends!

Not wanting to miss the moment, I booked it outside with my camera. Still wrapped in a towel with nothing underneath.

I made it just in time to see Hale comin’ around the corner.

DSC_0045I could tell Hale was real excited because he was moving fast and there were only a few more hay bales to pick up. Hale is about…I’m not even joking…like almost a 100 years old and he’s still out haying the fields all over the neighborhood. Hale was ready to get on home to his missus and his cows after a long day.DSC_0041See that hay bale being shot out of the air like a rocket? I just love that! It lands right into the hay holder thingy.DSC_0044 Except uh-oh, the hay stopped baling and flying like a rocket. The hay was stuck.DSC_0046So Hale climbed down off the tractor to see what the problem was and in the mean time, Red came over to help finish the job.DSC_0047 I’m still snapping pictures watching Hale struggle to pull hay out of the feeder.DSC_0048 Watching Hale struggle I begin to feel guilty..am I supposed to help? But I’m not wearing anything under my towel…go help. What if the towel falls off? I don’t even know what to do. How am I supposed to help? I’m just the photographer! But…the hay is stuck…

Well, I couldn’t just stand there taking pictures! Clark Kent was a journalist and still managed to Superman in the most inconvenient of places.

So I slung the camera over my shoulder, sauntered down like I was really wearing something under my towel and starting pulling hay out of the hay baler. Hale looked at me and laughed. I’m not sure why…was it the towel, my vampire hair, or my complete lack of qualifications…and together we pulled the hay out. I felt like such a cowgirl in a towel.

Then Red came over and gave it to Hale for going too fast and causing more work when by golly, we could’ve been all hayed out by now. These two went at it for awhile. I thoroughly enjoyed the exchange.

DSC_0051This is Red. Grumbling, mad at Hale.

Hale was soon back in the saddle again.DSC_0055They must really love us because they are constantly mowing over stray soccer balls, shoes, and barbie dolls. I can only imagine what their feed really looks like, with little barbie heads intertwined with clover and hay, being fed to the Holsteins.DSC_0049There it is – a beautiful thing! That hay will feed the cows and horses all winter. And keep my chickens warm.

DSC_0054 DSC_0057If they’re lucky, they can get one more crop in October.  DSC_0059Hale and Red. I wonder if they truly know how much we love ’em?

And my towel did not fall off. But I did scamper into the house and decided it was time to get dressed.

 

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everything starts messy

Spring was so slow to get here that when it finally came, we clapped and did cartwheels.

Oh, we were happy for days with sunshine and warmer temperatures.

And then my nemesis – the black fly – came out in full force. Tried to wreck spring.

Swatting flies, I caught sight of the yard. Spirits plunged. There was just So Much Work.

I suddenly felt depressed. I couldn’t do it all. I just wanted to hibernate another winter.DSC_0637Every garden bed was covered with winter yuck, dead leaves and sticks. Weeds were threatening to take over the home land.

DSC_0715And though I knew the blueberry bushes wouldn’t always look like sticks, all I could see were weeds and…sticks.

garden And the garden. Why are we supposed to grow food when it’s so hard?

seedsWeeks earlier I was ecstatic about the seed packets received in the mail!

DSC_0720And now weeds dare to grow.

Instantly, I felt guilty. Me, who just weeks earlier was wishing for spring.

plantsInside, plants are bursting, so excited to go outside and put down roots in soil.

DSC_0134I have to take deep breaths often. Everything starts messy.

DSC_0140Actually, it’s messy for awhile.

DSC_0709Everything starts small. Even though, inside, things are happening. Changing.

Babies, families, habits, novels, dreams, exercise goals, eating regimes, household management…everything starts messy. And is really hard.

DSC_0703It just so happens, I started reading a book called, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Pressfield talks Resistance. Resistance is your adversary. It’s all the doubts, fears, you can’t do it, it’s too hard moments.

Resistance is not your friend. It keeps you from doing what God put you on the earth to do.

I may or may not have been put on earth to be a farmer, but it was the next right thing. Because I want vegetables this summer.

So I made myself go outside with a bucket full of seeds. And I planted something.

And it’s still messy.

chickensAnd if you’ve ever had chickens, you know how full of poop life can be.

But did you also know, that chicken poo is such a fantastic fertilizer that they sell it in 25 lb. bags? Mmm hmmm.

Perhaps a little mess is how the best things grow.

DSC_0699When the seeds were finally in, I fainted from exhaustion. Or maybe it was all the black flies sucking my blood. Either way, I was down for the count. Down on the grass. And I saw these small, white flowers. Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful white petals. They only bloom for about a week. And then they are gone. Easy to miss unless you’re knocked over on a field of weeds.

DSC_0647And years ago, I couldn’t get asparagus to grow. Mad, I gave up. But something must have been done right because Gregor told me to go look on the other side of the hill. There, on a neglected patch of grass was hundreds and hundreds of asparagus.

Take that, Resistance! (Want to come over for lunch?)

DSC_0773The darlings don’t know this thing called resistance yet…they think the dandelion weeds are gorgeous flowers. Gifts for their mother.

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I’m going to call them my beautiful bouquet of resistance.

And isn’t it the truth that these children I get the great privilege of raising are also my biggest messers…which makes me ponder why we think that everything in life has to be so perfect, orderly, and tied up with a bow?

I’m going to stop making my bed!

DSC_0398These eggs from the most messy creature on the planet lays a perfect food every single day! Believe me, they don’t come out looking so pristine. I won’t tell you what analogy my son likened that too this morning, but you know…ow. wow.

Everything starts messy.

Especially the things worth anything.

The time is now. Get your hands dirty. Get messy. Make mistakes. Start again. Grow 🙂

 

 

 

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Sugar Season in a Small Town

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Every year, as February becomes March, our hearts begin to feel just a little bit giddy with anticipation. Down the road we wait for The Sign. When The Sign comes out it means that The Sugar Man is boiling!

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Yes, those are pet llamas.

Before I was swept from the west by a certain professorial boy, I thought syrup came from a factory. Maple and trees and sap happened in books, maybe. I don’t know. I was reading The Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High.

I grew up happily eating Mrs. Butterworth or some other generic variety. When I came to live in the sticks I saw buckets attached to trees and it was explained to me that the trees were dripping sugar that we were going to eat. is this for real?

The real stuff is so superior to the fake stuff that it took me a few years to like it. Saying that kind of thing in these pahts will get you looks of shock, pity, and a gasp or too – “Oh No!” It’s simply not done! In New England we eat real syrup boiled down from real sap procured from real maple trees. THE END.

The Sugar Man puts out the sign in March, after a long marathon of winter. All winter he and his crew have been checking buckets, sap lines, and taps. And every year is different than the rest. You need specific temperatures of cold and then a good thaw so the sap can run. It’s the life of a farmer: Some years are better than others with big bounty highs and disappointing lows that can kill a business. It’s part of the thrill.

When we see The Sign we travel down a gravel road that turns to dirt that turns to mud. Which is why March in this little town is also called “Mud Season,” a season to get your van stuck in the mud repeatedly with four children in the backseat shrieking, laughing, fighting, singing, and asking when we’ll get there. I love mud season. Because I love doing laundry.

Mud Season though, is better than Black Fly Season. A season which can make you go insane.

Mud Season you see, has amber waves of syrup.

DSC_0311This is Eric’s “The Sugar Man’s” Sugar Shack. Eric built it himself. It was a hobby that turned into an award-winning business. Why, his Tucker Mountain Maple, is a 1st place winner at the Sandwich Fair!

I just think it’s great that there is a town named Sandwich.

boards

Before we can get to the sugar house we have to traverse the mud by way of long boards, which is a rather exciting adventure for children and their Mama, too.

Public Service Announcement: You do not walk to the sugar shack in heels, flip flops, or anything white or adorable. Just believe me on this one.

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We know we’ve arrived by way of the giant maple leaf

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Walking into the sugar house, we are greeted by a warm mist mingled with the most divine smell…of sugar. Pure dark maple sugar that has been boiled down from sap that comes from trees – isn’t that remarkable?

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Here is Eric’s sugar record. The first year he put in 140 taps and got 24 gallons. Every year since he’s done better than the one before except for 2012 where we had the weirdest cold and warm spells and very little sap flowed.

So sad! Without sap there can be no syrup. We managed to procure a precious bottle and rationed it carefully for a whole year. Sometimes we have to hide the good stuff…

Boiling day is when we get to taste the fruits of The Sugar Man’s efforts. Eric and Heidi and their two girls, and volunteer sap collectors have long days collecting sap. Some seasons, especially when there is a record sap flow, there is very little sleep, just long days and nights of boiling and boiling and collecting and boiling.

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Of course, we have to do our part and drink those little sacrament cups of maple syrup samples. Preach!

There are different grades of sap and syrup. The lighter colored sap is the most desirable and will sell the best. The darker grade is rich and rustic and comes at the end as the tree is getting tired and running low, so it’s considered a lower grade.

When we take the little cup, the children look at their Mom – really? you’re letting us just drink sugar? Yes, darlings. Drink! Be filled! It’s plant based, right? It came from the trees!

It always reminds me of Buddy the Elf.

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And then we try the maple cream. Oh my goodness. On those cold, wet, dreary March days, standing in front of the wood burning stove drinking sugar and tasting maple cream dripped pretzels feels something like a Laura Ingalls storybook.

Eric, a former teacher and logger, and now an educator for NH Logger Association, used to chop all the wood himself and feed a wood fire evaporator and stove to boil the syrup. But now our Sugar Man uses pellets because it’s easier and he has ALS and needs it to be easier. We don’t worry of these things, or future sugar seasons.

A few months ago he said to me, “We’ll just go as long as we can go.”

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So that’s what we do too. We go as long as we can go. We enjoy the season we’re in, this glorious season of sugar.

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IMG_2903The Sugar Man and his Papa Sugar.

On the next warm weekend The Sugar Man and his troops will spray out all the sap buckets, a messy, wet, muddy process that marks the end of a glorious sugar season in a small New England town.

 

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Unplugging and Seeing Signs of Spring

Did your mother ever order you out of the house? To go play outside and enjoy the good earth? It’s been hard to do that in New Hampshire as we’ve been living in the movie Frozen. But hark! On Sunday, spring began to tease….

Mom ordered all minions outside to investigate if it really was true.DSC_0111The boy lugged over the trampoline so he could dunk.

DSC_0113Look who’s been busy…the voles. They are like big mice that burrow little highways underground. Doggie is in heaven, nose to the ground, sniffing them out.

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We hauled out the bikes and began a walk, finding trees that stretched high and dry

DSC_0133New England soil is full of big rocks. So when settlers needed to plow a field and build a home, these stone walls were built by hand. The stone walls go on for miles and are so artfully built that 21st century children can run across without a rock toppling. I’m in awe of the craftsmanship.DSC_0145Two will still smile for the camera

DSC_0150Finding puddles of mud to write messages for water buffalo neighbors

DSC_0153 DSC_0154 In just a few months, these apple trees will be in bloom

DSC_0164 We switch sides of the road and walk on the other stone wallDSC_0165This is the start-up vineyard up the hill; a hard thing to do in New Hampshire with so much cold. Will the trees survive?

DSC_0170And at the top of the hill we turn back around DSC_0177And follow all the melting water that flows down to where our house sits. Well. It came, flooded our basement, forcing us to pull up baseboards and part of Cope’s new bedroom wall. So frustrating. We’ve pumped the water out, but I block out all the work that still needs to be done. Let’s go back to enjoying Spring.DSC_0175This is an old hay machine. You’ll find this a lot out here; abandoned farm equipment no one knows what to do with. These relics around the neighborhood could fill a museum.

DSC_0171 Countryside as the sun starts to set

DSC_0180As we headed down the hill we saw a sight we don’t often see…four children playing together?DSC_0189It made me smile to see the older kids with their hands in the mud, dirt, and water. The boy got that devilish look in his eyes as he said, “Do you want to see our DAM?” “Mom, we’re making a DAM. Do you like our DAM?”

DSC_0202Proof! There were four who played. In mismatched pajamas. Perfect.

DSC_0215And then they were off again, headed home, flying fast.

I had to close my eyes and breathe in every oxygen molecule, bottling up the fresh spring air. Because I am a wiser New Englander: who knows when spring will come again?

Good thing I grabbed it. Tonight, the forecast predicts snow!

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The Dog Days of Winter

We are bundled up in the house today – It’s a snow day! It’s like Christmas, the children bouncing out of bed in the wee hours of the morning. snow

There was a dart fight, polly pockets, barbies, Pinterest browsing, a rowdy game of tag – all before 9 a.m. Then I made them feed the chickens, clean up the one million darts and polly pieces, and practice the piano because it’s not really Christmas and I’m mean like that.

I like snow, but I’m sorry, winter…it’s time we spend some time apart. Thankfully we have the Olympics. Shaun White, Nick!, Julia Mancuso, the Russians pairs last night! Heartbreak and Jubilation. I love it all, stay up way too late, and often fall asleep on the couch.

tree

I do have to say, it’s breathtakingly beautiful after a snowfall.

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Tenny does not think it’s too cold. He could frolic with his friend, Reubens, all day long.

hen

It’s so cold the hens don’t want to leave their coop. I don’t fault them for this as I try to never leave the house. They also stop laying as much unless they have light. Even a regular lightbulb will encourage laying. I find that fascinating!

hay

Cope took this picture of me. Hauling hay out of the barn for chicken and bunny warmth. I tell you, the roles we play in life…

cope

Here’s my girl getting her basketball on. This is really her first time playing on a team except one short stint in elementary. She is proud of the eight points she has scored this season! Sadly, she got a concussion two weeks ago and is out of play for a bit. This also means I haul the hay.

champs

Nelson is also a baller. My heart jumps and sinks with every swoosh in the net, and near-basket that only almost goes in. I watch his face light up when coach puts him in. I tell you, small moments mean so much. They can live for months on a game-changing play, when all their buddies slap them on the back. The reverse is true, too. Oh, the emotion of the game!

boy

Here Nellie boy tries out for a summer AAU team. My heart was pounding, both of us sweating with anticipation…please don’t cut my boy! Oh, it’s hard for a middle school boy who lives for sports. He’s small, but runs his guts out. He made the team 🙂 Thank you, Coach!

brynne

When it’s too cold to go outside, we pay money to give our mother multiple heart attacks. Here Brynne flips at a local gym. I hate this. I just do. 

paige

Paige finds a quiet place to read. In the closet. Sometimes you just have to carve out your own space, don’t you?

valentines

Valentine making for the big day tomorrow. However, another storm in coming, followed by freezing rain, followed by another winter storm. Pounding! The girls are very sad not to go for their valentine party 🙁 And I can’t make my fruit heart. Wah!

Knowing the storm was coming, I had to get my long run in this morning. Thankfully my running buddy is back! Our run went from cold to enjoyable to grueling as the storm began to chase us down the road.

The snow under our feet made the miles feel like we were running in sand, making our hamstrings and calves burn with lactic acid. At 15 degrees, it was so cold, that my left hand went numb by mile 11. I knew I was going to pay dearly for it. Even with a hat and a face warmer, our hair and faces were covered with frost. So grueling.dead

“Mother, are you alive?”

I wasn’t so sure, walking into the house and collapsing on a pile of polly pocket pieces and Lala Loopsies. My hand was hurting so badly I thought I had frostbite and it was going to fall off. Remember being a little kid and your hands were so cold they hurt? Cope has no memory of this ever happening to her. Gloves must be made better these days. The thawing out process produced many painful sounds and noises from my mouth as I rolled around on the carpet, finally finding solace parked in front of the fireplace until I could feel my fingers. The children stared at me, eyes wide, wondering what their mother had turned into. They scurried to procure chocolate milk and peanut butter.

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Rendered useless. Though it was hard, I’m grateful I have legs to run down winter roads. It seems like just yesterday that I was nursing babies or terribly sleep-deprived from changing wet beds in the middle of the night, and all I needed was a little break to walk down the road, some fresh air and sunshine. Now, my babes are old enough to take care of each other while I go traverse country roads in the snow. If you aren’t there yet, don’t worry. Enjoy your stage. Shawni reminds me that Life is Long. There is a season for everything. It does occur to me that perhaps you will never look forward to running in snow…

faster

I begged Cope to give me this wrist band. I wear it at all times, to remind me that spring will be here soon, and I will be glad for the miles run when I meet the Rocky Mountains in April. Sometimes, to feel inspired, I listen to Martin Luther King’s last speech, I Have Been to the Mountain Top. I have been to the mountaintop…and I have seen the promised land!

Amen.

Come back tomorrow – I have a cookie recipe that will get you through the winter. It has a special ingredient that will knock your Sorel boots right off your feet!

xoxo!

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Hay Day

Happy October!  My favorite month of my favorite season.
 
From my window where I write, I see a hay field.  I’ve spent much time looking out this window, watched many seasons come and go.  Around here, you won’t see much oohing and ahhing over the name brands of the latest pair of jeans, watch or car. But now, you’ve got a tractor?  We’re talkin’ big time. Shucks. 
 
Even my professorial husband longs to be part of the club.  Every time we pass a tractor shop he wants to take a peek.  Keep on walkin’, his wife says, you keep your nose in the books.  But we both agree – we’ll be farmers someday.  And still read books.  And he can have his tractor.
 
I have to admit, I’m kind of a farmer stalker myself; who’s driving what, who’s haying where…there’s been farm drama, neighbor conspiracy, and donkey talk that would rival The Housewives.
 
Oh yes, it’s quite exciting.  I feel an anticipation as summer wanes and fall comes into full swing, because that means its hay season, the crowning glory of the field.
 
I love the dutiful farmer (they often really do wear overalls!), the long grass, the drying, baling, and gathering.
 
My father grew up on a farm in Idaho and often expresses his wish that we had too.  So I feel lucky that we’re getting a tiny piece of that wish.
All spring and summer the grass grows wild and free.  First you must get your Little House romp in while you can.  After the romp, you must turn the grass over to the farmer.  Your time is done. 
 
Hay is especially valuable if it has clover; cows love clover for its sweetness and good hay can fetch a pretty penny.  The other day I needed a bale and was told it was going to cost me TEN DOLLARS!  Ha.  I went to talk to my farmer friends.  It pays to stay tight with the farmer. 
If it’s a good season, you can get a couple good hay runs in.  I don’t know if that’s what it’s called, I just said that.
 
The long grass is cut and then sits for days in the sun drying.  It’s a careful balance of rain and sun.  I know this from my observing, from my comfortable seat in the house while sipping something cold and sweet.
After cutting, the hay is then fluffed and set to dry again
and fluffed one more time for good measure.  If you try to gather hay while it’s wet, it will rot and be worthless. My farmer friends tolerate me while I snap picture after picture, waving all excited and giddy – it’s HAY DAY!
Nice and dry, perfect for baling.  See how I’m mastering my farmer lexicon?
Sometimes, if rain is coming, the farmers do the cutting, baling, and gathering in one day, from sun-up to sun-down.  If I’m away for a day, I come home disappointed that I missed all the action.
This is Hersey Farm, just down the road from us.  It is a multi-generational farm that is now protected from building; this makes me so happy.  I see this picturesque, romantic scene and swoon.  I’m sure they see and feel the hot sun, sweat, fatigue, and a long long day.  My dad always laughs, “haying is hard, hard work.”  Hence his computer job.
But it sure is a beautiful sight from where I sit. 
These guys are getting older and I wonder – are there young kids to take over the haying?  Is there a place on the college apptitude test for haying?
The end of a good hay run:  Hay for the winter.  Hay to keep the summer weeds down.  Cow and horses will be fed and kept warm.  My chickens will have a nesting spot.  
 
Next time you go for a hayride or see a bale of hay outside the supermarket or sit on a hay bale around a warm campfire, remember the farmer and the pains it took to gather that hay.
Hay makes for some great photo shoots
And is somewhat itchy.
 
It’s late in the hay season now but if we’re lucky we will have one more hay crop this year. If it doesn’t snow or hail or monsoon…the weather is always full of surprises.
But the grass continues to grow, waiting for the next romp and the next hay day.
 
I’m watching out the window, like a scene out of Rear Window, keeping tabs and biting my nails with anticipation.
 
Coming from a hay field near you…
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Hay Day

Happy October!  My favorite month of my favorite season.

From my window where I write, I see a hay field.  I’ve spent much time looking out this window, watched many seasons come and go.  Around here, you won’t see much oohing and ahhing over the name brands of the latest pair of jeans, watch or car. But now, you’ve got a tractor?  We’re talkin’ big time. Shucks. 

Even my professorial husband longs to be part of the club.  Every time we pass a tractor shop he wants to take a peek.  Keep on walkin’, his wife says, you keep your nose in the books.  But we both agree – we’ll be farmers someday.  And still read books.  And he can have his tractor.

I have to admit, I’m kind of a farmer stalker myself; who’s driving what, who’s haying where…there’s been farm drama, neighbor conspiracy, and donkey talk that would rival The Housewives.

Oh yes, it’s quite exciting.  I feel an anticipation as summer wanes and fall comes into full swing, because that means its hay season, the crowning glory of the field.

I love the dutiful farmer (they often really do wear overalls!), the long grass, the drying, baling, and gathering.

My father grew up on a farm in Idaho and often expresses his wish that we had too.  So I feel lucky that we’re getting a tiny piece of that wish.
All spring and summer the grass grows wild and free.  First you must get your Little House romp in while you can.  After the romp, you must turn the grass over to the farmer.  Your time is done. 

Hay is especially valuable if it has clover; cows love clover for its sweetness and good hay can fetch a pretty penny.  The other day I needed a bale and was told it was going to cost me TEN DOLLARS!  Ha.  I went to talk to my farmer friends.  It pays to stay tight with the farmer. 
If it’s a good season, you can get a couple good hay runs in.  I don’t know if that’s what it’s called, I just said that.

The long grass is cut and then sits for days in the sun drying.  It’s a careful balance of rain and sun.  I know this from my observing, from my comfortable seat in the house while sipping something cold and sweet.

After cutting, the hay is then fluffed and set to dry again

and fluffed one more time for good measure.  If you try to gather hay while it’s wet, it will rot and be worthless. My farmer friends tolerate me while I snap picture after picture, waving all excited and giddy – it’s HAY DAY!

Nice and dry, perfect for baling.  See how I’m mastering my farmer lexicon?

Sometimes, if rain is coming, the farmers do the cutting, baling, and gathering in one day, from sun-up to sun-down.  If I’m away for a day, I come home disappointed that I missed all the action.

This is Hersey Farm, just down the road from us.  It is a multi-generational farm that is now protected from building; this makes me so happy.  I see this picturesque, romantic scene and swoon.  I’m sure they see and feel the hot sun, sweat, fatigue, and a long long day.  My dad always laughs, “haying is hard, hard work.”  Hence his computer job.

But it sure is a beautiful sight from where I sit. 

These guys are getting older and I wonder – are there young kids to take over the haying?  Is there a place on the college apptitude test for haying?

The end of a good hay run:  Hay for the winter.  Hay to keep the summer weeds down.  Cow and horses will be fed and kept warm.  My chickens will have a nesting spot.  

Next time you go for a hayride or see a bale of hay outside the supermarket or sit on a hay bale around a warm campfire, remember the farmer and the pains it took to gather that hay.

Hay makes for some great photo shoots
And is somewhat itchy.

It’s late in the hay season now but if we’re lucky we will have one more hay crop this year. If it doesn’t snow or hail or monsoon…the weather is always full of surprises.

But the grass continues to grow, waiting for the next romp and the next hay day.

I’m watching out the window, like a scene out of Rear Window, keeping tabs and biting my nails with anticipation.

Coming from a hay field near you…

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Our Little House on the Prairie Moment

I’ve missed you all; can’t seem to catch a breath and write down my blogging thoughts.

It’s late and time for sleep, but I’m savoring summer as I look at these pictures I found on my camera.
The other day.  The sun was just thinking about setting, and the earth looked magnificent in the late summer light.

Soon, this tall grass would be cut down and dried into hay.

“Go run through the field like Little House on the Prairie,” I told the girls. Before the grass is gone.  And the cows eat it.
So my fearless Brynne took off into the field, not knowing what lay beyond that blade of grass or the next.

My eldest is just shy of an inch as tall as me.  The grass was high.

Now hold hands and walk to me while I sing the music…du du du-du…du du du…you know the theme song… Look – It’s Laura, Mary, and Carrie!
It took, like, a million shots because every time they ran to me they fell down. Over. and over. and over.  And laughed a lot.  Then they did it on purpose because Mom was taking pictures and it was just fun to run and fall in really tall grass.
So I took pictures of the magnificent sky.
Ah!  I almost galloped into the sunset myself.

Setting, setting, almost gone…
Is that Carrie’s foot?

Du du du-du, du du du…

They were itchy and scratchy by the end.  It was a moment we laughed about all night.

Then, the very next week, the grass was cut, dried, fluffed, and baled.  I’m really glad we got our Little House moment in.  You can never have too many of those.

Making any good memories this week?  

It’s our last full week before school.  I cry.  

Listen up summer. If you have to leave us, can we at least make it long good-bye?

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