Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Boomerang has landed...

...just where he launched from -- as good boomerangs do! Yes, our Jess is back at home, and the nest is not empty for the time being.

And it's not what you are thinking...He is NOT some shiftless, apathetic, hedonistic Gen X'er...using his money for entertaining himself until its gone and he needs to be bailed out...

Nope it's because he's chosen to pursue politics...He loves it. He wants to do his work behind the scenes.  His history degree has convinced him that we don't want to repeat it, and he wants to be part of the effort to preserve liberty, and this grand experiment that is the United States.

And this means, he wants to be in the Other Washington...and as soon as his tasks in this election in This Washington are accomplished (that would be on Election Day...), he'll be looking eastward.

So when your lease is up, you ask to move home...and because we love him, we said yes...

And because we know he will not stay forever...We're starting to like the empty nest...

Soon he'll be too far away, in my estimation, so I'll do my best to enjoy the days he is in the nest again.

Welcome back, kid!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thanks to you, Cassa Hardin, wherever you are...

...it’s all your fault.


Cassa Hardin got me started on a little fetish I have with numbers. I met her at halftime of a JV basketball game...back in the day. (Okay, kids o’mine, WAY back in the day!) She was a cheerleader for Nooksack Valley, as I was a cheerleader for Lynden Christian.

Yes - I was one of THOSE...but it was, as I said, way back when...when cheerleaders actually encouraged the team, and got the crowd to do the same. Not like it is now – some kind of pseudo-sport of its own, with the game as merely a backdrop, and not a particularly relevant one most of the time...

Oops! Excuse me – my opinion is showing...

And I digress...as usual.

Anyway, as we chatted over the cokes our concession stand provided for us to share with the opposing teams cheerleaders, Cassa mentioned her fascination with numbers on the clock, especially duplicates like: 2:22 or 3:33, or my personal favorite, 4:44! She told us she had a dream that it was 7:77, and woke to find it was 7:17 and she had missed her alarm...Fascinating!!

Now to be fair, you must remember that digital clocks were the newest gadgets of the day at that time. My parents had one of the early models that actually had a tiny rolodex of numbers inside it. We watched with rapt attention to see 1:59 turn to 2:00...so cool! And then to randomly look over and catch an 11:11, or 5:55, or 12:34...It was worthy of announcement to the rest of the family!

I really caught on to Cassa’s suggestion of special, though unknown, meanings to these occurrences as I was a big fan of digital clocks. Ever since I had missed learning to tell time in Second Grade (we went to Aunt Sal’s wedding in Montana during this crucial unit), I’d been counting by 5's to tell the time...Digital clocks brought certainty to my schedule, and saved time by being so direct about what time it was...Then add the mystery of waking in the night to find that it is 2:22...I mean – what are the chances?? What could it mean??

This fetish has taken on new life for me as I now seem to have more opportunity to look at the clock in the middle of night...Insomnia, my frequent companion, allows me more than one look per night at the clock by my bedside. If I have to wake up anyway, it’s more fun to see 3:33 on the clock and wonder at the timing of my waking...As I said before, 4:44 is my personal favorite. I love the number 4 – it’s so orderly and even, and if I made it to 4:44 before waking up, it’s been a good night. Part of me still wants to announce, “Hey look! It’s 4:44!” but I’ve found that Randy does not share my fascination...and my kids, raised almost solely on digital time, don’t get it at all.

I do feel kind of sorry that you never get to see 7:77, or 8:88, but since learning of the anti-Christ, I have no desire to see 6:66...Poor 6, the pariah of numbers...I hate to tell customers at the Thrift Store, “Your total is $6.66.” I almost want to ask them if they would like to put something back...

Oh my! I’ve got it bad – and now you know...Not sure that telling you this was a good decision.

On the upside, I’m easily entertained, which can be a good thing out here on The Farm.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Canning Curmudgeon...

In a fit of misplaced domesticity, I decided to do some canning this year.

After years and years of canning, I had given it up -- and gladly. I have never liked it. In my world, it was just something that you always did. My mom canned, as did my mom-in-law. The Farmer and I grew up eating canned beans, canned fruit, applesauce, and I do remember a few jars of nasty looking canned meat, that as far I as I know, never got opened and consumed. I think Grandma had given those to us...

Anyway, canning, back then, was not the excursion into Martha Steward Land that is now is...It was how you kept your family fed. It was cheaper. It was better -- most times, though I can't imagine that there was much nutrition left in those beans we water-bath canned for 3 hours of boiling...We moved into the 21st century when we got a pressure canner -- only 1 hour per batch!!

Being married to a guy who likes to grow things, we always had a garden that was disproportionately sized for the number of people in our family...And being Dutch, we could not waste any of it...Oh, the scourge of productivity! My mantra those years was, " There's nothing like the bounty of harvest to make one very crabby!" I canned and froze vegetables and more vegetables, and then we bought boxes of fruit to can too.

Of course, this was the time of my life where a day of canning meant watching the fruit turn brown in partially filled jars while I mediated arguments, changed diapers, bound up wounds, put "napping" children back in bed, cleaned up messes, and in between peeled pears and peaches. You know, that time of your life when you do 3 hours of work in about 6 hours...

The bane of my harvest existence were the beans. I swear (and I try not to do it very often) that no matter when you plant beans, they are ready to can during the week of the Fair. In later years, when we had become raspberry growers, it never failed that on our first day off in weeks, Randy would poke his head into the kitchen and announce, "The beans are ready to can." He knew just to poke his head in and get out before I threw something at it...After weeks of long pressure-filled days, I did not consider it a blessing to spend our day off picking, snipping and canning beans. Every time I picked them I had to resist the strong urge to pull the entire plant from the ground and end the trouble!

I felt it was my good fortune that as our berry-growing years progressed, our garden-growing diminished, as did the canning...And when the kids were mostly moved out, there just wasn't so much reason to can 60 quarts of beans and 30 quarts of peaches...I didn't miss it -- though, in good Dutch girl fashion, I felt a little bit guilty.

This year,  my bad memories had diminished enough for the process to look attractive again...After all, I wouldn't have to do 30 quarts, and store-bought canned fruit just isn't the same as the memories of home-canned...It would be EASY, and satisfying...

So after some procrastination (first mistake), I decided to buy a box of peaches and a box of pears...

Memories from the past began to re-surface when the box of peaches was ready to can on Sunday, during the football game...And then, because they were late-season peaches, most of them were stringy and unfit for canning. I missed the football game for 4 measly quarts of questionable peaches...Canning emotions came flooding back...The kind of canning emotions that make you want to huck stringy peaches at the barn wall, just to hear the satisfying splat of their demise..

And fruit flies are now our roommates...

And then, the stupid  pears came on -- but of course not all were ready on the same day...Nope, can't get all 11 quarts done on one day...must do 7 one day and 4 the next...

At least they turned out, and look nice in the jars...I'm not even going to show you the peaches...

And so my dislike   hatred of canning has been renewed...And the worst of it? I ordered a box of apples that hasn't arrived yet...

That'll learn me!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dutch Girl Dilemma...

Randy came home from one of his meetings the other day with an extra box lunch.  In it was a yummy sandwich, pasta salad, brownie, kettle chips -- and this:
A single plastic fork, which we didn't need...
We, in Dutch fashion, redeemed the lunch. It was not wasted...Imagine that it might have been thrown away if Randy had not taken it home! Terrible!

But the fork? We didn't need the fork...

Since then, it's been wandering around my kitchen...


...not really fitting in anywhere...

It's a perfectly fine fork, and never been used, but we have no use for it...right now...
So in my Dutch thinking, I keep leaving it around for the day, (probably many, many days hence) when we might need it.

In the meantime, it's in the way...and a constant annoyance...
But I just can't seem to do this:

Curses on my over-developed sense of responsibility!!

I should be free enough to dispose of it...but...

Anyone need a single plastic fork?
Please?
I'll feel so much better...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Has The Farmer lost control?

If you had occasion to drive by our farm yesterday afternoon, you might have seen this:
The Farmer, with a generator, vacuuming the grass...

Truly, there's a good reason for it, and so I am explaining here. I know there are people who know Randy who might assume that he had "gone off the deep end" finally...The same ones who drive by, and call him up to say, "You missed a weed on row 27..."

I know they mean well.
But if they saw this, I fear an intervention might be planned.

The reason for our grass vacuuming was this:

See where there's supposed to be a back window on this tractor?
Well, there isn't one...anymore...
It's actually all over the place now...

...a little bit on the shop floor...

...a lot of it on the grass.
We would have been picking it up for hours...and hours...
Besides, what do you have a generator for, if not to vacuum glass out of the grass.

We love our little generator...now more than ever!

And I hope my hubby loves me now that I've told you about his...uh...boo boo with the tractor window.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fog -- Harbinger of Fall...

Daisie and I went on our morning walk into the fog...

This is Fall Weather...I will concede Early Fall Weather, but we can't deny it, Fall is on its way...And probably soon.

And that's okay...I love Fall!! I have already decided to embrace the change, and the last vestiges of summer decor have been packed away, and all the autumn decorations are out.

So the fog this morning seemed appropriate.

I love how it looks too:
Our neighbor's farm cloaked in gray...

"Look, Ma! No casino!" (yuk,yuk)

The air is dead still...and Daisie and I get wet from all the moisture in it...

Fall colors are beginning to appear...
The Kousa Dogwood is dropping its "berries", inedible, but lovely little raspberry look-alikes...
And one lonely dandelion tries to say that Summer isn't over yet...

Sorry, dandelion...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Drama on The Farm...

The Farmer was working yesterday...which was Sunday.

Usually, we don’t work on Sunday, figuring that God gave us a good example of resting one day of the week, and we should follow it. If we are working on Sunday it’s for one of two reasons: 1) It’s harvest time, or 2) We are trying to beat the rain.

Yesterday, The Farmer was trying to beat the rain. With a forecast of upcoming intermittent days of rain, it was urgent that he get the dirt between the rows of our newest plantings seeded in grass...Oh! The timing is tricky – can’t be too dry, can’t be too wet. A nice rain earlier in the week set us up for the perfect conditions...If we could get the work done in time!

Drama on the farm!!

And therefore, a full day of work on Sunday...

The Farmer first had to complete his prep work...

The soil was worked, and packed beautifully...

But the ends of the rows were not...quite...right...a little ragged, rough...

So the first order of the day was to hand rake them smooth...


No worries...There are only a hundred of them...

He’s almost halfway, folks...


Only this far to go...

Yep – crazy lots of manual labor...This is when I shake my head, and think about OCD...but The Farmer hates driving over a bump at the end of his rows, and this is the best way to fix it. He's a long-term thinker...and is willing to pay the price of perfection. (I am SO not like that!!) Eventually, even I was pressed into service...As you know, I am not a fan of manual labor that involves dirt, but I did it – okay, without smiling once until I was done – but I did it. I guess I got caught up in the drama...Beat the rain! Beat the rain!!
Daisie! You're not making tracks out there are you? You know we'll have to fix that!

In the meantime, Daisie being the good dirt farm dog she is, decided it was time to put to death a bundle of knotweed. Besides loving to eat berries, she also loves to rip up weeds and shake them to death. Death to weeds! What a dog!!

Then it was time to put the seeder together – an implement Randy had to design and create himself because hardly anyone else seeds between their raspberry rows, and there's nothing out there for the job. It took us a little while to find all the pieces and get that puzzle put together. Then we trucked the seed out to the field, and he took off...

From that point on, things went swimmingly – and not literally, I might add! Clouds came and went, thickening at times and worrying us...I kept checking out the window to see how far the tractor had come, and what the sky looked like in the west...Until it got dark...In the end The Farmer finished the last round at 1am, just as the rain began.

Miraculous! Dramatic! And such a relief for The Farmer -- a satisfying, successful merge of perfect conditions, and perfect timing...And in farming, you just can’t count on that happening all the time...


Today, The Farmer slept in, to the soothing sound of rain on the roof.

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)