Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Green, Green Grass of Home...

It's been a typical April here in the great Pacific Northwest which means that it rains...a lot...and the sun comes out about every third day...for a while...and all the time the grass is growing, and growing, and growing. This is a problem on the farm, for while we can rush out and get the lawn mowed while the grass is dry, it is much more difficult to get 40 acres mowed before it rains again...

And so, the grass is VERY tall between the rows...

And, The Farmer needs some help getting it all cut down...

And then, this is what happens:
Yep, I actually have to drive that little tractor he bought for me.

Look at me, smiling there...the epitome of the Happy Farmer's Wife. What else would I be doing on a Monday afternoon after all?

Well, frankly, I had thought of a not a few things, but I did realize that this was urgent, important, imperative!! And so I got my coffee (caffeinated) and my bag of chocolate kisses, licorice, and salted mixed nuts, turned on the radio and had at it!

And it was all good...for the first 3 hours...But then my disorder kicked in. You see, I cannot seem to ride or drive in any vehicle for an extended period of time without getting sleepy. First, just a little tired. Then, well, a little drowsy...and then the heavy-liddedness, and head-dropping-into-your-lap sleepiness begins to threaten the lives of all plants that are confined to straight rows...Not to mention the goodwill between a Farmer and his plant-murdering Wife.

It finally got so bad that I stopped the tractor and went to the house to eat ice cream. Hey! What else can one do? And you might note, for future reference, that ice cream is a very effective antidote to sleepiness, and my personal favorite as well. Of course, The Farmer said, "You're sleepy? You should turn on the air-conditioning." Of course, I knew he would say this -- because he always says this. "Keep it cool! That will keep you awake." He doesn't get it. When I keep it cool, I am cold. When I am cold, I want a blanket. When I have a blanket, I want to sleep...Uh-huh...it's always that way...but he will say it next time too.

Anyway, I revived, and finished the job...and was glad to be done because it came to me that at about 4 hours of tractor time, I start to want to hit somebody. There is just no rational reason for this feeling...it just comes over me. I take it as evidence that women are not supposed to drive tractor for more than 3.5 hours at a time.  Another piece of evidence for this is that, anatomically speaking, women are not made to be far away from restrooms, or at least bushes. Back in the day, Before Kids, I was Randy's hired man, and drove tractor for 8 -10 hours per day...Many was the hour that I reflected on this truth, firmly believing it was a sign of God's design for women's occupations. It was another of the many reasons I was thrilled to switch from Farmerette, to Full-Time Mom, part-time Farmerette.

But I digress...as usual...

In the end, I mowed all of this:

And all of that tall grass is now lying around like this:

...and most of the time our feet look like this:

And soon I will get to see all that grass I cut down again...when it comes in the mud room.
That's April for you!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Farming Game...Spring has Sprung!

Now, these are sight for sore eyes! Can you see them there? Wee little green raspberry plants poking their heads above the ground! Glad to know something is happening beneath the dark earth, and those poor little babies are not drowning, or freezing since we planted them in March.

I promised to tell you how that cold snap affected our fields and I'm happy to say, that other than slowing things down, there was no damage of note. We still have proof on the high/low thermometer that the temp hasn't gone below 29 degrees.
You might also note that the high since then has been in the 70's...the kind of weather that makes me want to do this:
(I'm weird that way)  while watching this:

Our neighbor has a cute little calf out there right now...I've named him Bucky -- I know, Whitey would be more apropos, but you haven't seen him run around. He's all tuckered out here from living up to his name.

But I think I was trying to tell you about the farm...

On our daily walk Daisie and I always check things out. A stop to check the thermometer is a MUST, although soon we won't be looking to see how cool it got, rather, how warm. Daisie patrols the perimeter to check who invaded the farm overnight.
"Take that, stranger! This is MY territory!!"
 Daisie is fierce that way...

We check out the new planting, and the babies...We're having terminology problems here on Randy Honcoop Farm. Which are the babies? The new planting? Or the First Time at Harvest One Year Old Field? We'll have to get in sync on this, or someone will go out and do the wrong thing in the wrong field.

Anyway, The Novices (the one-year olds) are looking like this:
pretty filled out, and -- gulp -- I also saw THESE!!
...Itty bitty buds! The potential fruits of our labors.
Oh, there's a long way to go from here to this stage:
...but we're hoping! And The Farmer is working hard already at babying them along. He's very involved with his babies, and very meticulous about their needs. It makes him happy.
And then there are The Big Girls:
They're looking mighty fine, and they have the itty bitties on them too...Oh my! Time is flying!

Compare this bush...
...with an earlier picture...
We've come a long way baby!

And in other signs of spring, the blueberries are already in full bloom!
Those will be yum.

And The Farmer's got my lawn looking like a big green carpet...
Though it's a carpet you have to mow...and mow...I'm just sayin'

Oh -- and I shouldn't forget a sure sign of spring...

You betcha! Tons of organic fertilizer on the yard...It might as well rain, the yard parties will have to wait until this stuff is all gone...phew!

Monday, April 19, 2010

I was her fan...Now, we're buds...

I got to meet Ree Drummond, of The Pioneer Woman fame, last Saturday! It was a good, good day... well,even better than that!
Every day, I read this woman's blog: thepioneerwoman.com. Every week, I cook or bake something -- usually more than one thing -- from her cookbook. She's clever, witty, funny, smart, and now I know she's gracious, friendly and truly beautiful too. She always makes people feel good with her writing, her pictures, her humble accounts of the craziness of how she, a city slicker, ended up on a ranch in Oklahoma. I admire her...I want to be her! Well, with my own twist.

So, anyway, when I heard she was going to be in Seattle, and that my friend Tami was going and offering a ride...I HAD to go!! And what a time we had...

My companions on this adventure were: Kelly, Tami & Holly...

Oh! We had such a good time...so much talking, laughing, relating. Oh my!! These women are clever, witty, funny, smart, and gracious, friendly and truly beautiful too. I admire them...and now they're my buds too.

Of course, since we were in The Big City, we had to do a little shopping. Kelly and I spent just as much time doing some Big City coffee drinking (yep, Starbucks) and visiting, while Tami and Holly did some efficient and successful bargain hunting...Oh the joys! Bargains  in the Fancy Stores!!!

Over dinner, we discussed what we might say to P-Dub...I had no idea what I was going to say! "I like your blog" seemed pretty lame. Some of my other options seemed too personal: "I can spend hours looking at pictures of your kids riding horse", or silly:"I know my dog would like your dog", and more lameness: "Uh--I don't buy salsa anymore since I got your recipe." Tami decided to discuss spanx...(Ree is so gracious that this did not turn out to be a risky topic at all!) Holly had Ree sign books for her daughter and future DIL (as yet unknown) so she could talk about that. Kelly dipped in on a great conversation about Ree's former vegetarianism while we waited in the bookstore, so she was ready to relate that...As I said, these are clever, witty women!

After all my deliberation, all that came out of my mouth was : "Thanks!" and later, "Thanks for coming to Seattle."

Certainly nothing memorable came out of my mouth...but I think P-Dub just might remember this group. Undoubtedly, we were some of the noisiest, happiest and laughing-est"buds" there...

As much as I enjoy P-Dub, it's safe to say I will enjoy these women more...They are doing good work in my hometown, raising families, supporting their friends, contributing to community in so many ways...Sometimes just by laughing and talking and enjoying an adventure all together...

So it was a good, good day...One I'll remember with laughter and warm feelings for a long, long time. So thanks, Ree -- Thanks for coming to Seattle!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Farming Game...

Long ago, when we were first married, we played this game a lot. It reminded us of the real thing...You start the game with $5000 -- that you borrowed. Nothing else...just $5000 borrowed dollars. Then you must purchase a crop or cows to "harvest" to make money, and hope you make it through the first year without your chance expenses eating it all up. Like I said, it's just like the real thing.

At this point in our lives, we were employed in agriculture, but we were working other people's land. We had only 2.5 acres of our own, and lived in a 20' x 20' apartment created in the corner of the shop. The tractors had the better digs...Well, we and the tractors had the same digs.

Anyway, we loved to play this game -- and we played it with two distinctly different strategies.


It was the riskiest, and had the biggest expenses...seemed dangerous to me...


They didn't cost so much; they were cute. They weren't expensive...



I've always thought it somewhat ironic that, long before we had an inkling we would be raspberry growers, Randy was choosing fruit and that risky business to successfully make money, however imaginary.

We continue to play The Farming Game to this day...and, like the game, some years you make money, some years you don't. And like the portent of earlier games, I have bought animals that have consistently lost us money...We can put a specific dollar amount on how much  my joy costs...I have a patient husband.

When you live your life playing The Farming Game, you learn to hold things loosely...The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. You also learn to sit on your hands when the Lord has given...not always sure how long what He has given will have to last. Overall, we have been blessed thus far to have won more than we have lost in The Game...And though sometimes we look at predictable income as a security we covet, most of the time, we love the life we're living...You have to love dirt, and growing things, unpredictable hours, income and charting your own course, (i.e. not always know what you are doing!) -- The freedoms that come with the risk tend to spoil you for other ventures.

We intend to play The Farming Game as long as the Lord will let us...

Today, we are wondering what the Lord my take away...It's wintry here -- in April!
Wild weather! Possibility of SNOW showers???

Hail this morning...


My poor blueberries are trying to bloom in the midst of this...

And the babies we just planted...poor babies!!

We hope they are not freezing or drowning!

And the one-year-olds!! All those little leaves may be exposed to frost if it clears tonight...

Uh-oh Daisie...maybe we DIDN'T have enough time for a walk...


When we started, it looked like this...


Twenty minutes later, we're making a run for it, in another hailstorm...

Ahhh, The Farming Game...I'll let you know how that risky fruit crop weathers this weather!

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)