Letter to Friends: September 2016
I am looking
but cannot find
They have flown by
they will not halt
and all I have is
A Story: I am laying in bed when my phone rings, “Hello?” It is my neighbor Naomi, can I drive her to Meadville tomorrow? The peaches we ordered are ready and we can pick up her bushels and my half bushel. It sounds like a plan. I will swing by her farm after lunch and pick her and her husband Larry. The next day is another beautifully clear and blazingly hot summer day. I decide to take our van. I know there will be a few other errands in Meadville and I am not sure what we will be picking up. But the van is a mess, so I spend an hour cleaning out trash, used napkins, empty water bottles, collecting random swimwear and towels, organizing tie down straps and tow hitches. I even vacuum it out since at some point cinder blocks, pig feed, and straw have all been hauled in the back (it’s been a long time and this van NEEDED some love) I am pouring sweat by the time I am done. I check the horses water and fill two buckets and wash off my face with the hose at the same time. then I drive over to Naomi’s just up the road. Larry, Naomi and their son Justin are ready to go. Naomi kisses her youngest Maria and hands her off to big sister Jennifer who whispers into Maria’s ear to keep squirming 3 year old Maria still. Naomi sits up front and Justin and Larry in the row behind us. We chat as we drive north along back roads, Larry directing me as we go. We pass their old farm in Jamestown, where they lived before moving to the dairy farm above our farm. The sale sign is still out front (update: it sold in November) and Naomi and I commiserate on the challenges of two homes to manage. After several stops in Meadville to get sugar for canning, a tractor part, and ordering a few supplies we end up at Heagy’s orchard. A surprisingly young guy drives up on an ATV and talks amiably with Larry about the peaches and the weather, best it’s been for two years for growing peaches. Naomi pays and we load the bushels into the back of the van. Off we go again, retracing our route south as we discuss the myriad or ways to use the fragrant peaches heaped in the back.
September seems so long ago, I wrote the account of getting our peaches back in September though we went to get the peaches in August. I had planned to write an update then to catch you up on the summer but that didn’t quite work out. Perhaps that was the theme of the month, “things that didn’t quite work out”.
Memories: We hired a local well driller to clean out our well so we could run water to the barn. He was hopeful that he’d be able to clean it out and, boom, we’d be back in business. Our house water comes from a spring behind the house but in the exceptional dryness of this past summer it would run down too low if we watered the garden so we were hoping to use the well as a back up. But alas, the well had sat too long and needed to be re-drilled. The hope was to re-drill the original well, but alas again the well pipe was too narrow for his equipment to work properly. So plan C, a few feet away he drilled an entirely new well. It has tons of water but it’s still gets pretty red with iron and we are still figuring out how we will fix that!
My pumpkin harvest, no really that’s the whole she-bang. I had never seen black squash bugs before and didn’t realize the damage they could do to my pumpkin patch, but they decimated all my pumpkins, zucchinis, and squashes. I now know what they look like and that intervening early is REALLY important.
Riah and I took a very soggy selfie after we received 2+ inches of rain on September 8th. After longing for rain all summer, getting it all in one shot was not exactly what I’d been hoping for. It washed alot of my bark mulch down and out of my berry patch and created some impressive ruts in the field.
Okay, this one wasn’t necessarily my problem but when I saw this poor toad I couldn’t just let it go, I felt like I was a kid again watching those blasted National Geographic specials. Do you remember, where the cheetah would be chasing a baby antelope, in slow mo’, desperate to live? And I would shout at the TV, “Save it, somebody, you with the camera, save that little guy!” They of course never did because that wasn’t the point, they were observers, capturing the drama of life and death, blah blah blah. I, on the other hand had no such constraints, so I bent down and poked the snake. He was pretty committed and so I did it again. It was at this point that it dawned on me that playing God was perhaps not a great idea, this snake had worked hard to catch this toad and that who was I to mess with the balance of the ecosystem here on the farm. Too late, the snake released the toad and slithered under the barn and the poor toad whose back legs had begun to digest already tried lopsidedly to hop into the brush. I wished I had just left them alone to work it out, since likely someone else ate that toad later that day.
September 6th we had scheduled for the spray foam company to come and insulate our house. It was the day after school started, and we had wanted to moved into the house for the beginning of the school year (in case you missed it as of 2/9/17 we are still not moved in, just to give a sense of how completely off our rockers we were to think that was going to happen). We realized it would take a big push to get the house ready and that we’d need to run all the wiring and plumbing that went in exterior walls as well as adjust the framing. We tried SO HARD, we had the kids work with us, we pulled an all-nighter! and we were no where close to ready by 4:30am the day they were scheduled to come. So we cancelled (boo-hoo) and ended up needing to find another company because they were very unhappy about the last minute cancellation (though, truth be told, had they showed up and tried to spray foam they would have been a lot more unhappy). All’s well that end’s well, the house was finally insulated in November.
Today: But, lest you get the idea that nothing works out, I will tell you that on the whole most things go along pretty well. Perhaps the biggest problem we have is biting off more than we can chew, having unrealistic expectations, ignoring our limitations, and trying too much at one time. However, our lives are also very interesting, full of challenges and variety. Life today keeps us on our toes, is never dull, and reminds us how much we need each other and God.