Last Saturday the Pup and I drive down the road for doughnuts. We exit the U.S. highway to a short gravel road across from the Amish farm where I traded a tackle box, a fishing rod, two additional reels and a fish net for the Blue Heeler/Border Collie puppy. The doughnut maker is the wife of the Patriarch's brother. There's a sign on the highway Donuts with an arrow and another on their driveway: Fresh Donuts Today. There are two front doors. The one to the kitchen has a sign that says Open. I imagine there are English out there deathly afraid of being kidnapped and beaten by the Amish, hence the encouraging signs. I turn in the circular drive trying to avoid baby chicks running all over the front yard. I knock. "Come in, " is the response. The kitchen table is loaded with cinnamon buns in aluminum pans, huge loaves of bread in plastic wrappers and canned goods in glass jars. Sitting on a bench at the back wall is Enis, my carpenter.
I've been trying to get in contact with Enis for weeks. I want him to partition a space in the pole shed currently used for storage. Framed and insulated, it will be my winter workshop. Ted and Fred, the riding mowers, the tiller, push mower, string trimmer, chain saws and other mechanical implements can safely spend the winter in an insulated garage away from mice who love to chew wires and build nests in air filters in the metal shed we use for tool storage.
"Hey Enis," I exclaim. "I didn't expect you to be here." Enis tells me he waiting to put up some hay. We discuss the project and Enis says he'll call me at the end of the week. He seems reserved so I take ten doughnuts the size of tractor tires and head for home.
I'm contemplating a return to wood carving. If I make furniture it will be exclusively for sale at the Amish auction. In past lives I made unusual furniture out of recycled materials. Living in the Southwest with the Hispanic influences there, the triple and quadruple wash colors on my furniture were popular. In staid Norwegian country, they are oddities. I'll make furniture for the masses and carve for my own amusement. The photograph at the top is one example. If you look closely at Chubby Nun, she has a spider web in her halo. It's my finger poke at my upbringing and 4 years in a Catholic elementary school. Raised in a foster home, I wasn't baptized in the faith. I was told I'd spend eternity in purgatory- a scary thing for an eight year old.
I surf blogger again. For the past 12 weeks I've been so busy with farming and food prep for the winter, I've had little time for the computer, blogs and e-mail. A comment in one blog I follow about connecting up with other bloggers has me curious. I go to her site and check some of her followers. The 42 people who have signed up at her blog have some interesting material. One has 928 followers. I scroll to some of the older posts and find an amusing tale about a stray cat, putting a sign on the road advertising the stray: "Strange Pussy Found" with a photo and clever composition that makes me envious. I decide I'll keep posting stories of life here in the Driftless Region. For reasons of their own, not all of those who follow my blog are posted as followers. I suppose if I put some effort into it, I could attract more people. With additional coverage, however, I'd have to put up with cranky people, folks who don't understand the culture here, people with an agenda to push and possibly a crazie or two.
I enjoy the crazies. Over the years I've met a few who I classified as friends of sorts. Mo for example would bring me fireplace parts to my retail store, cassette tapes of African chanting called Tigrina and up until he was diagnosed with some mental disorder that necessitated lithium treatments, I found him to be extremely educated and intellectual.
It's too quiet out there. I've been focused on the computer. No sharp yips from the puppy indicating frustration with the cat's antics. The cat loves to torment the dog sitting above the dog on a step or porch railing, teasing her and swiping at Mandy's nose with his sharp claws. Mandy will get a few bites in before the cat rolls over on his back in a defensive posture. I've seen this tactic previously when The Pooch(the cat) got into a fight with a roving feral cat. The feral cat and Pucci rolled over and over in a writhing lump of fur until the black and white stray ran off, leaping over the snowbanks like a porpoise in the ocean. Life with the Pup is a test for me. ADD(attention deficit disorder) in the works. Watching a DVD movie in the evening is rarely without interruption. I walk to the deck, hoping that the computer doesn't crash or shut down and check on the animals.
Aw shucks. The cat and dog are both lying on a piece of carpet I put in front of the deck door. The cat is licking the dog's face. It's a quiet moment too precious to ignore. I know I'll never get a photograph of the event. The two don't sit still long enough for me to run for the camera, so I call Dawn.
More composition at the computer. Spell checking my writing, I hear the dog barking. This is not a yip. It's a warning bark. Walking out in the warm morning sunshine, Mandy is in full bark mode with her hackles raised. She's barking at the tree at the edge of the house. The cat comes out of hiding from under the deck to investigate. I ask the Pooch (the cat), " What's going on here?" He saunters over to Mandy who now is lying on the sand of an incomplete patio. The cat lies next to the dog and extends a paw to Mandy. Ah shucks, they may really be friends after all the bickering, tussling, biting and posturing.