Friday, June 15, 2012
Junuary (No This is Not a Misprint)
Once again I wake up to the sound of rain. I ask myself why I live here on days like this. It's June and the beginning of strawberry season and I was hoping to be able to pick a few flats at a local farm to put by for the winter. Every year it rains on the strawberries and every year it seems you hear a story or two about strawberry farmers worried about their crops rotting before they can harvest. I put my rain coat on and grudgingly pull the hood up as I trudge out the door to do morning animal chores. Lucy, my golden retriever and Want a Be guardian dog, faithfully follows in my footsteps until we clear the porch then runs along the property line of my farm yard barking and searching for the interlopers that she is sure are lurking in the bushes around the perimeter of her kingdom. Most of the chickens are huddled outside their coop under the small roof covering one corner of their fenced run, the ducks happily play in the slick combination of mud and pools of water covering the rest of the run. I am always happy that I had the fore thought to provide the chickens with that dry corner on days like today and always kick myself for not making it larger. I enter the coop and turn on the overhead light for the hens to help make up for the dreary day and open the door to the other half of the coop giving the girls access to more nesting boxes and dry room to roam among the stored feed and equipment. Outside again I empty and refill water containers in the adjoining fenced pasture and prepare to let the ducks out of the chicken run where I had tucked them in the night before to sleep in relative safety. Standing there in the quiet of the morning it occurs to me that the rain sounds like a river or creek tumbling over the leaves of the trees like a stream rushing over smooth rocks. I look up into the dripping canopy of green surrounding our property and marvel at the different shades of green mother nature has provided on this small acreage. This is the norm for this time of year in this part of the country. I look across the property to the garden fenced with the best fencing the man could get to keep the deer out and I fret about the fact that I don't have the beans planted yet. It's still a little cool and I don't want them to just rot in the ground. The bean patch has been weeded and tilled for two weeks waiting for the soil to warm. Perhaps I will install the bean trellises today in anticipation of a warming trend. Pumpkins and cucumbers also need to be planted and in this area that means buying started plants from a nursery. We have talked about building a green house and weighed the pros and cons of the expense. I guess the $10 or $20 that I spend on started plants every year always out weighs the green house expense but oh how wonderful it would be to spend a rainy afternoon tucked away in the warmth potting up seeds and cuttings and maybe fussing with a few tomato plants. We don't intend to stay on this property so putting in a green house means leaving it for the next owner. The house will be too big when the girls go off to school and we want to build something smaller and more efficient. The man loves to fuss with technical stuff and wants to install solar and wind power on
our fantasy property. He dreams of finding a piece of property with a stream or small river so he can build a small hydroelectric plant. Property that includes a river or stream can be expensive so that may just be part of the dream that we have to give up. Standing in the rain and watching the seasonal stream running through our property, a ditch really, I imagine a picturesque farm with a mill wheel turning in a pond with cool dark pools of water deep enough to hide huge trout. It's a far cry from what I am looking at but the sound of the rain helps with the fantasy.
I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and I know there is no place more beautiful. Summers here are warm but not agonizingly so. We are surrounded by snow capped mountains painted against a backdrop of azure blue sky and accented with mounds of cottony white clouds and the sea is but a short walk or ride away. Winters are mild and what snow we get doesn't usually last
long. Spring is filled with blooming fruit trees accented with tulips and daffodils....and rain. My favorite season is fall. I love the harvest and the leaves turning brilliant colors against a backdrop of sky and low slung sun. Everything has a golden glow and a peace that only comes at the end of a hectic summer.
Chores finished I turn my steps and thoughts to the house.Waiting for me inside is a hot cup of coffee, the first of the day. I will make a list of things to do inside today. Bake bread, clean the forever dirty "mud room" do a load or two of laundry. All the things families need on an ongoing basis. Today I will also expand on a homesteading skill or learn a new one.
After all. Rain was invented so gardeners could do house work.