Letter to Friends: August 2016
When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Just about two weeks ago (end of December), Riah and I were doing chores very late at the farm and suddenly as I stood catching my breath, in the eastern sky over the Lengacher’s dairy barn, I saw the northern lights for the first time. I called to Riah and we stood in the bitter cold, marveling at the whole sweep of northeastern sky as it shimmered and quivered with curtains of light. It anchors us in ways we cannot measure to be out; out of our cars and homes and busy-ness, to be still and just watch and see all the wonder that is right now.
sooo…AUGUST 2016 was HOT, super hot! consistently, daily, sweat-producingly hot! I actually don’t remember a hotter summer. I am still (in January) sporting some pretty amazing farmer’s tan on my arms. I wore long pants every day because hay in boots sucks. If you wear a skirt, culottes, or capris the open gappy tops of cowboy boots and muck boots fill with very prickly bits of hay and straw, to prevent this I wore long loose pants that went over my boot tops and saved me from the dreaded “hay-toe”. Okay I made that up, there is no name for the immeasurably annoying/painful sensation of bits of hay in your socks, but there should be!
The garden, in spite of the moderate drought did very well. We harvested beans, broccoli, cabbage, more onions, baby carrots, beets, lettuce, kale, sunflowers, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers and more hot peppers than we could shake a stick at.
Our dear friends, the Olivas, came up from Pittsburgh several times to camp and jet-ski on the Shenango Valley Reservoir. We joined them for some spectacular meals and fun jet-skiing. Sandra taught me how to make authentic pico de gallo from our garden produce and man, was it GOOD! (we made pico almost everyday until the tomatoes ran out in late October)
We also canned pickles, dilly beans, peaches and beets. Because I did not have a kitchen at the farm, we put up a temporary canning kitchen in the garage. We also cut, processed and froze 10 dozen ears of corn on Sophia’s birthday.
The original “Conestoga Chicken Wagon”
Sophia, Mike and I putting the new & bigger mobile coop together
Speaking of the great transformations of life, this is the mound over our colt, Merry’s, grave. I decided that his spot will be a place of beauty and peace and joy!
Another great transformation is how our little children grow so fast!
(FLASHBACK 2008! Our kids participated in our dear friends, Brent and Kelly’s wedding) Congratulations on 9 YEARS!
Tessa and Sophia went to Touchstone center for crafts for a week long art camp. This was Sophia’s third year and Tessa first, they were roommates and made great friends while learning about metal smithing (Soph) and glass work (Tessa).
Sam’s Move-In day at Grove City College
The last week of August was a “Classic Carlin Chaos” week. We lost another wonderful congregant, Donna, and Mike was planning the funeral (again). He had a massive jaw infection through a broken tooth. Our breeding boar, Mr. Feeney, became terribly sick and needed to be spoon fed applesauce and electrolytes twice a day for the whole week (what kind of farmers are we?!) And DRUM ROLL, please….. Sam had to move in at college at the exact same timeslot that the dental surgeon could finally see Mike! Ta-da! but we did not expire or go insane ( or I should say more insane 😉
In spite of the heat and the chaos we did take a few minutes to simply enjoy. Mike and I plunked down in the hammock to take in the view of our future home.