An October first cool spell hits overnight. At first light, the eastern sky is filled with cottage cheese clouds and rose colored sun-rays. The reflection off the rest of the landscape is dusty rose. I'm filled with awe. I consider going back inside for my camera. I have dozens of rosy dawn photos. I'll use one of those. With a sweat shirt and a polar fleece jacket on, I'm still chilled. Mandy and the Pooch take care of business and head for the back door. The Pooch forgoes his chicken liver breakfast for hunting the perimeter. Mandy has a favorite chair to climb on. On the back of the chair is leftover Wal-Mart blue polar fleece fabric I'd tossed into her dog house. I removed it when we got a new cedar shaving, faux sheepskin dog bed.
Mandy drags the fleece remnant from the back of the chair onto her lap. Putting her paws together as if in prayer, she suckles a piece of fabric she's pulled up into a cone. Her paws flex on either side of the fleece. I learn yesterday on a trip for organic eggs that her true birthday is June 6Th. She'll be four months old soon. Leaving the Amish farm, I pick up the dog rather than trying to coax her into the car. There are too many distractions. "Have I got the right Mandy?" I quip. She almost as big as her mother. Walking to the car the bucolic scene of geese roosting on the ground near the bulk store, a bin loaded with apples, a loose chicken or two, cows and horses grazing off in the distance and corn shocks in the garden, I shake my head remembering my daughter's visit the past weekend.
In previous visits to the Amish farm she worries about roaming turkeys. On this visit she keeps her daughter close in hand. If it were anyone else, they'd be walking the property showing a city kid the animals. There is so much life that her daughter is missing being cooped up in the central city. My son and I gawk at a bald eagle flying across the highway on a trip to town on this same weekend. He, too, is confined to downtown Milwaukee 5 days a week and an apartment bordering the ghetto. His view is different, savoring the sand hill cranes flying overhead and the cool fall air. I wonder what happened to the oldest kid. At four she walked through the woods to a farm school. The disconnection to nature is sad when I consider how she's stuffed her life full of city baloney. When their house is broken into, she talks of buying a duplex in the nearest suburb.
Yesterday's trip to town is a busy one. Stops at Tractor supply for the dog bed and an expensive can of venison dog food followed by a side trip to Wal-Mart where I catch up on the latest gossip and buy the cat fresh chicken livers are only two of many trips. I talk to my mechanic about the truck and schedule an appointment. The trip to the hardware store is canceled when I actually find all the hardware I need for constructing a door to the dog house at Wal-Mart. We shield our eyes passing by the cheese corner. They've got a new sandwich I've had twice in the last week. It's gooey and delicious. When I pull up to the hospital drive-around to run in and pick up a prescription, I'm cussing at the driving habits of a geezer in front of me. I'm remember telling myself when I was younger, I'd never be like those gummers. Now I'm almost a gummer( I still have my teeth). I'll never be a slow, oblivious and dim witted as the people I run across daily.
The last of the green peppers go into the dehydrator. Dawn has the day off as a trade for working a fund raiser on the weekend. I finish off a half bushel of apples in the dehydrator which fill a gallon freezer bag. I take a sample to my Amish friends for their two youngest children. Having a five and ten year old watch over Mandy while we travel to Lacrosse is comforting. Mom asks if I'll dry some apples for snacks for the kid's lunches. They offer to trade apples for the cost of electricity. I tell them I'm doing it as a favor for a friend. "We still are friends?" I ask "Maybe I should run an extension cord to your place." The idea is so ludicrous that we all guffaw. I leave the farm promising that as soon as the dehydrator is free I'll take car of their apples. Mandy falls asleep immediately on the short drive home. She climbs into her doghouse to nap when we arrive.