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Thursday, September 04, 2008


[posted by risa]
We're still doing Independence Days, but sporadically. Beloved is in demand at work, and I'm staycationing to do the roof, which leaves me too stiff and crotchety to pay much attention the ripening bounty in the gardens below. So this is a two-weeks' report, 'K?

Plant something: Beloved has put in some kale, cabbages, bok choi, beets, radishes, lettuce.

Harvest Something: Tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, cucumbers, zukes, chives, onions, garlic, apples, apples, apples, pears, blackberries, bell peppers, stevia, basil, rosemary, peas (still! Our first ever continuous year of peas!), celery, eggplant, eggs, bullhead catfish, nasturtiums, kale, cabbages, bok choi, beets, radishes, lettuce. A friend gave us figs.

Preserve Something: blackberries, applesauce, green beans. Not enough tomatoes to put up. A poor blackberry year. We'd make apple cider if we had time; anything bruise-y will go to the hens.

Store Something: We got in quinoa, amaranth, spelt, rye, oats, wheat berries, and molasses from the co-op. We're also collecting plywood, more deer fencing and eight-foot T-posts for the fencing.

Manage Reserves: We're saving the house by tearing off three-tab where the pitch is too shallow and putting on roll roofing instead. The winds tend to peel off roll roofing, no matter how much you asphalt it or nail it, but we will be adding vertical runs of lath with three-inch screws, as well as a trim of cedar one-by-threes all the way around, also with three-inch screws (Phillips-head, coarse-threaded -- one of the great inventions of all time!).

Prepped: Swept many years' accumulation of possum poop off the roof (well, you asked!). Tore down the gutters. Replaced dry-rotted siding and trim. Replaced insulator on 220 volt line to the pumphouse. Painted the trim along the top plate all the way around. Peeled off the old roofing. Built up a low spot with plywood.

Cooked Something New: Spelt bread. Pretty good.

Worked on Local Food Systems: We got in quinoa, amaranth, spelt, rye, oats, wheat berries, from the co-op.

Reduced Waste: Whenever we clear off garden waste we offer it to the poultry. Anything they won't eat we gather up again and offer it to the compost heaps, which are not as finicky.

Learned a Skill: how to use 3-mil plastic as an underlayment, by tacking it down with construction glue.


Naturally, as soon as we got the old roof off, a storm blew in from nowhere and began pelting the naked sheathing with a hard, cold rain, the first such rain since April. Water poured across the dining-room floor.

I ran up the ladder to cover the troublesome and now-unprotected low spot with a blue tarp (joining the legions of blue tarps in our economically strained area). Last Son, who was visiting to help get the roll roofing up from the ground (the ninety pound rolls are proving too heavy for me), followed to help.

I was a little concerned about his decision to come up, because I didn't have the long ladder in place, meaning he'd have to use the step ladder to come down, an acquired skill which involved dangling a foot down to find the top step, while hanging onto the corner of the porch roof like a fly. Such methodologies aren't part of his body's vocabulary; he's immensely strong but not agile.

I tried to talk him down and guide his feet into place, but he let go the roof before I could place his right foot on the second step. Down he came in what could be described as an "uncontrolled descent." 'K, a fall.

This was a serious matter.

His foot was now inside the ladder, meaning that he would go over backwards and hit his head on the pavement. He weighs a very solid 245 pounds. I'm his wimpy little mom, at least compared to him. But there were no alternatives. As mothers do everywhere all the time, I stepped underneath him, caught my child in my arms and lowered him gently to the earth.

I haven't the faintest idea how I was able to do this.

We looked at each other a little wide-eyed, and went into the house to sit by the fire Beloved had wisely made, and shared a microbrew, and that was that.



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