Saturday, July 11, 2009

Scoffing , Pickled Onions & Wet Feet

Six days is a long time to be off. I wasn't really off, just busy. Chop wood, carry water.

Summertime and the livin' is easy... The person who wrote that is the same dude who rides a motorcycle down highway 131 on weekends. "Where do they get all that free time?" I wanted a motorcycle at one time. I didn't have thousands of dollars to squirrel away on a bike. Then, a friend told me what it was like to slide down the pavement in a motorcycle accident and first watch the leather and then your skin get eaten away by concrete. The image stayed with me. I settled for a Puch mini bike. It didn't add to my macho image.

Number two son( birth designation, not importance) drives three hours to work like a dog over the fourth of July. We set another endurance record: most splitting wood- 7 hours straight. The wood shed is full. I add an old door lying on its side at the front to keep the split oak, hickory and black locust from spilling out. He also helps mow, pick snow and sugar snap peas and too many other tasks to enumerate. We fed him steak, fresh potato salad, organic veggies, homemade sausage and scrambled eggs with Amish buttermilk.

I'm waiting on the canner. I've got four quarts of small onions due for a 20 minute water bath. The Pooch is taking an afternoon nap in Dawn's studio. He's been busy also. In three days he catches two rats and the an assortment of mice. I forgive him for an occasional bird he drops off in the garage. He's really pumped up about being outside and hunting. I bring him inside early one evening because Dawn says she hears grunting noises from nocturnal carousers outside the bedroom window on hot nights when the windows are propped open. Here's where the scoffing(on my part) comes in. Dawn teaches the Pooch to open the door by himself. He can barely reach the storm door handle when he's fully stretched. I scoff. Then, watching a movie, we hear the Pooch running at the door and jumping at the handle. He performs this twice. I get up and close the inside door. I no longer scoff. The little bugger is too smart for his britches.

Snow peas and sugar snap peas will bury us in a green avalanche. I eat the sugar snaps raw while I'm working the field. The pickled onions are the result of last minute weeding in the 10X80 foot onion patch. A few get caught while pulling up weeds. The small guys are saved for pickling and the bigger ones go in the drying tent. Approximately 25% have fallen over. In a week I'll pull the entire patch. Otherwise, critters in the soil take a liking to a sweet onion. The first of the cabbages are ready. Dawn and I will make Kim Chee later today. Dawn grimaces when I say we need to pick cabbage, "because they're bigger than your head." Red potatoes are resting before the big dig. The Kennebec's-the Maine staple- have been out there since Good Friday. That's over 90 days. They keep pumping up. Nightly rains and rainfall last Wednesday are a Godsend.

When it rains, I work in the kitchen on a slow remodeling project. It's the only time the Amish cabinet maker can take off from work around the farm. We install an island and the last of two cabinets that had to be reworked. Drywall finishing is next. Then, the next time it rains all day, Titus and I will be nailing trim and molding. His young son comes along as a gopher. The kid enjoys my Gary Larson cartoon books especially The Chickens Are Restless.

In the morning we're fogged in because cold moist air settles in the valleys. On a trip to the Amish across the ridge tops, the valley bottoms are white with fog. It looks like the fake snow you put around a Christmas tree. The Pooch and walk walk barefoot before nine a.m.

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