I'm waiting for my dark roast with steamed milk cup o' coffee to cool down. I have a short break before heading out the door this morning having started my morning routine extra early at 5:18. Pooch the cat was stretched out on his back on the bed. Mandy still dozed in the futon bedroom. Her birthday ride to the Amish farm was a resounding success. Her birthday coincides with the Amish patriarch's birthday. We deliberately set that date after thinking back to the possible moment that Mandy Mom could have encountered her soul-mate. The Amish patriarch was in a back room separating cream in preparation for making butter in the rear of the house.
"You're working on your birthday?" I ask. His wife chimes in with, "He had the morning off." Last year he wanted to go fishing but this time of year is crazy busy with work. Me: "You aren't going fishing?" Pa: "Nah."
I mention the cost of Canadian walleye at the local grocery chain. $5 more per pound than in Lacrosse.
Pa:"they're hard to catch." Me: "But they taste great." A short visit turns into an hour in which grain prices, commodity speculating and a few teases from the Amish Matriarch spice up the conversation. "Got a baby pickle coming up?" "You're kidding," I sputter. "I just planted the my "Cross Country" Pickling cucumbers from Fedco Seeds. She admits that the pickle is from a vine in a hanging basket someone gifted her. Cucumbers in a hanging basket?
Mandy and I depart for home knowing I'll get a few choice comments about the "short visit". Mandy was able to scrounge up a chicken head left over from recent chicken plucking. The dog also makes me the fool when the youngest Amish girl gives Mandy Mom a handful of Beneful from a bag I bought weeks ago. Mandy wouldn't touch the stuff at home but gobbles it down on their wraparound porch. I'd brought Pa the kibble as a mirthful comment about their low key birthday celebrations.
Open close, open close. Recent weather events have me running around the house opening windows and later, closing them when a 60 degree morning turns up toward 80 in the afternoon. Shade, sun, shade, sun.The same routine applies for drapes and curtains. Dawn and I take time for lunch at the "Corners" restaurant-a former Dog and Suds with decent food and a newly remodeled building. The previous owners, the Larsons, sold out after everyone in the family put their heart and soul into the drive-in eatery. Dad did the cooking. Mom was waitstaff and the kids were back up. Dawn says they retired and moved to Florida.
On our way home a car flashes it's lights at me half way from the elk farm. I'm puzzled at the warning. There are only a couple of sheriff vehicles that cruise the state highway. They do little to keep the the heavily loaded gravel trucks from speeding. I hear them hitting their engine brakes rolling down the hill and straightaway to the Viola Curve, fearful that they'll crash at the bridge or into cars turning from the county highways merging just beyond the bridge.
Dawn guffaws as we crest the top of the hill. An annual event becomes a standing joke whenever I stop my riding mower to talk with my neighbor. "Hey why dontcha knock over your mailbox and get it over with?" We laugh. Last year a young couple riding a borrowed, fancy new car, manage to roll the car when the young man driving loses control after a tire catches the edge of the highway between the pavement and gravel shoulder. Skidding across the highway on it's top, the car wipes out my neighbor's mailbox and comes to rest in their driveway. No one is hurt.
Dawn's guffaw changes to a gasp. The mailbox is gone. On the north side of the highway just off the pavement a car with smashed windows leans precariously toward the ditch. My neighbor's van sits in the driveway-the right side rear panel completely caved in. No one seems to be hurt, thank God. I make a mental note to be even more cautious when I pull off of our lane onto the highway.