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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Baby, it's wet outside

We are having a slower weekend than usual. I have painted around past the printing press along the east wall of the garage, built a bed along the west wall of the house, made a little bit of firewood, planted a few hills of lettuce, chard, calabrese, beets, red cabbage, bok choi, potatoes and peas -- sounds like a lot, but this is only about twenty feet of bed -- an example of polyculture.

A project I have been putting off, because I knew I didn't have the strength, was to take down Tall Son's old basketball hoop. The backboard, I could see, was coming undone -- thirty-year-old particle board backed by three-quarter-inch plywood, mounted on two wings of heavy plywood bolted at regulation height to the power pole that feeds our house with four 9/16X6 inch lag screws. And soggy from the rains, which have come back. As in -- HEAVY.

But, as I looked it over, I realized the thing had been moved to the pole from the front of the garage by my dad, the kind of project in which he excelled back in the day (having been a railroad lineman most of his life), by installing an even bigger bolt four feet higher up, and hoisting the assembly into place with a pulley. All I'd have to do was reverse the operation.

Except the wings would swing past the pole and knock me from the ladder once the last bolt came out. How to get up the ladder and back down without being ... encouraged ... to come down, as in suddenly?

I went to the garage and enlisted the aid of a good long rope.

Mounting the ladder against the back of the pole, I climbed up (carefully, rain coming down in buckets now), threw the rope over the bolt, lipped it through the hoop, and climbed down and carried the rope end across the driveway and tied it off to the keypost of the woodshed. Then tied the other end to a tee post in the garden. What we had now was a rope slide -- the kind you might use to slide out over a swimming hole and drop in. Except the idea here was for the hoop to slide down to the driveway -- away from your truly.

This actually worked pretty well, although the backboard, old, wet, and disintegrative (is that a word?) pulled itself loose from the hoop and fell onto the driveway midway through the slide. The main goal, though -- not to get whacked -- was accomplished.

Every farm needs lots of rope.

I had asked Tall Son if he wanted the hoop, and he didn't (I hope he remembers that), so I pulled all the rotted netting off and carried it out to the right-of-way to see if anyone else might like to have it. Curbing your freebies is a strong tradition around here, and one should give as one gets.

I put my toys away, came in, hung up my coat by the woodstove to dry, and made myself a mug of coffee laced with Irish Cream. Not local, but some indulgences are worth it, till TEOTWAWKI comes anyway.


Beloved went Friday to get feed and asked about Rhode Island Reds.

"We had some, but they're all taken, you wanta get on the list for next Friday?"

"Yes, please. I'd like eight."

So, yesterday, Saturday, she's gone all day to the pruning workshop at Master Gardeners, gets in, and there's a message on the phone: "Your-Reds 're-in-come-and-get-'em-before-five-bye."

"Dang!" she said. (Our idea of strong language doesn't amount to much.) "They're closed. Somebody must have changed their mind and now I have chicks. But I can't get at them."

"How old are they?"

"They're in, like, a big brooder and old enough to eat and drink, so they're safe for a day or two, but the crowd in there tend to trample each other -- I have to get them Monday, but I work."

"Maybe call in late?"

"No, early is important for this shift. What I'm gonna do, I think, is bring the rooster cage Monday morning, with chick feed and a a chick waterer, and pick them up and bring them to work with me; they can stay by my desk ... what?"

"Are you kidding? With the racket they'd make?"

"Oh, my crowd are used to it. I bring ducklings to storytime whenever I have a batch. And -- " (mischievous twinkle in her eye) -- "all of my co-workers are egg customers!"

[note, added later. They are home now and so cute!!!!]


  1. Eight. Today. Then ducklings next month -- a new kind. Then Beloved goes away to Wisconsin for WEEKS and leaves me in charge of the nursery ... (whine ...)


Stony Run Farm: Life on One Acre

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