Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mountain Man

No time to compose. Grammar and punctuation may suffer.Tough. We survived two important fall markers. The first was the arrival of 10/10/10. My computer didn't freeze and the world didn't end. The second startled me. Under the kitchen window in the leaves and debris of the yet unfinished patio, two juncos search for seeds. I am not ready for winter.

I take a moment to check on the kids. The cat is perched on my car, already marked with muddy footprints. Mandy hides a piece of salty ham she scrounged from the outside of the live trap. I imagine that's like pork jerky to her. She gnaws at the leathery piece of home cured ham reject. At sixteen months she's come into her own as a working dog. Over the weekend she alerts me to yet another intruder. This time it's the neighbor's horses who have been grazing on our lush lawn. Somehow they found a break in a barb wire fence. On a pee break Mandy goes into full alert barking and growling. I see the fresh horse manure and hear hoof beats as the horses trot off to safety in the margin between cornfield and empty lane where soybeans were harvested.

Later the next day, a red truck pulls up and parks at the entrance to our road. I don't see the truck which belongs to a farmer who cuts hay off the police chief's place. Johann and I are eating lunch after a morning of intense bottling frenzy. Then I hear Mandy's gruff barking. I walk out the back door and see a bearded overall clad man walking down the road. As he approaches Mandy goes from watch dog to harmless pet, wagging her tail in anticipation of a new person to smell. The farmer's truck broke down just before he can turn onto the side road for another load of hay.

Johann and I listen to the farmer's life story, his attempts to reach his son-a mechanic in town and finally his wife. I inwardly grin when he signs off a telephone conversation to "the wife" with a "love ya". The farmer and Johann speak the same mechanic language, 3/8ths versus 7/16ths and twelve sided box wrenches, the evils of metrics yadda, yadda, yadda. They head off and I can get back to wusrt making.

The morning bottling activity included grape and raspberry wine. I work up a quick label for Johann's raspberry wine, calling it Mountain Man Vineyard 2010 Raspberry. The picture of Johann is the central feature of the label. As I suspected, we edge further into dark caves of wine making ordering plastic carboys made of PET, a specialized food grade plastic. The wine supplies company screws up the order sending the wrong size carboy which sets off a comedy of errors in which we hear the voice of God telling us, "Make your own beer!" when they inadvertently ship a complete supply of craft beer brew ingredients intended for someone in Virginia. The error is rectified. The correct carboys delivered and FedEx contacted with return authorizations for two unwanted boxes.

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