Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday 'doings'

Back and forth, back and forth between our 'city house' and the 'country house'.

I brought back another load of important stuff this morning and got it put away at the farm. The city house is still quite smelly from having the hardwood floors refinished and also difficult to navigate without walking on the floors until the new finish is fully cured in a few more days.

My husband loaded up all the old TV's and other old electronic equipment on our trailer (both our stuff and 'city house' neighbors' stuff, too) to take to the community computer/etc recycle day. I don't know what else he did at our city house to get it ready to sell. There is a long list of 'little things'. Because there is so much to do in both places, we often are working in parallel instead of together.

However, my husband and I did work together this afternoon to do a second harvest of our green garlic, this time specifically walking the fields looking to find where we accidentally planted double cloves. All those we saw were dug up and cleaned up to sell to Zingerman's Deli and/or The Grange Kitchen and Bar early next week. If we leave those doubles (and an occasional triple) in the ground, neither clove will develop into a full head of garlic because they are too crowded. So right now they are just perfect to use as green garlic, and the local chefs just love having us bring it to sell.

A friend came over to take back the honey extractor she had loaned us last year along with some of my 'stuff' that she is using to teach her 5th graders about Alaska. The two of us enjoyed sitting for a while on the bench on our front porch to watch the birds come into our feeders. No windows changing the view or diminishing their sounds! Some birds are skittish but most get used to me sitting there outside now that the weather is warm enough to do so.

I love my friend's bumper sticker which says "Got Nature?". Mine says "No Farms, No Food!" :-)

Next as my husband cleaned up some shelves that someone is coming to get to take away (via our local 'freecycle'), I swept out part of the garage to help make the shelves easier to see and get out. Cleaning out and organizing the garage at the farm will be a long process, but step by step, we'll be able to walk through there (someday even park our cars inside) and know where things are.

I dug up all the invasive garlic mustard I could find (mercifully we have surprisingly little of this horrible invasive plant). 

My husband had to enlarge the entrance ways to his bee hives, and even though it was sprinkling by that time, I walked out to the hives with him. It was my first time in months and months and months to 'walk our land'. I could not help myself, I kept looking for and listening for Kaya. However, even though it was sad to take this first walk without Kaya, I also realized for the first time that I didn't have to worry about her being overly curious and getting stung by the bees, walking through the wet areas and needing to be wiped down !! before going into the house, or always be on the look-out for a skunk.  :-)

I also walked into our woods for the first time without Kaya and was shocked to see how many of our dead ash trees came down this past winter. The path was literally covered with a mish-mash of downed trees. It looked like someone had thrown the sticks in a game of 'pick up sticks'. It was hard for me to pick my way into a small section of our woods. It would have been impossible for Kaya to do so with her lame back legs. I took that opportunity (now that I was in) to pull baby buckthorn trees (another horrible invasive plant) in one little section of the woods under some impressively large oak trees. I had a huge armload, which I carried out to the burn pile.

Underneath all the baby buckthorns I found many native wildflowers, including spring beauty (blooming), trout lily, may apple, and solomon's seal. I hope I gave them a better home, a chance to thrive again, even if it is just a little space.

Tonight I'm going to call my mother, get out my iPod and listen to warbler songs, have a glass of wine, and go to bed. Tomorrow morning (if not raining), I'll initiate my long-standing (34 years!) Mother's Day tradition here on the farm, which is to have an hour by myself to go birding during the peak of migration season. Birding with a baby or toddler in a back-pack or a front-pack can be done (and I have done it with both boys), but I'll confess that 'serious' birding is far more enjoyable and easier without that extra weight and distraction.

Some years my husband played with the boys while I took my hour or so alone, and some years as the boys got older, we planned a day to drive out to a nature sanctuary to take a nice walk as a family. Both were the perfect Mother's Day gifts for me!

I have been a very fortunate woman to be able to be a mother. The friend who came over today did not know I am a childhood cancer survivor in addition to my other cancer diagnoses. Nothing about being a cancer survivor is easy, and that goes double, maybe even triple, for being a childhood cancer survivor.

Without going into detail, just suffice to say again that I know that I am fortunate in addition to being grateful for the opportunity to be a mother. I have been able to raise two sons all the way to being young adults. Each is an incredible human being, and both give me hope for the future our world.

I have been able to make it through many very long, dark valleys to get to the sunshine of both my own and their weddings. What gifts I have received. Even if birding tomorrow morning gets rained out, I am a very happy woman and a very happy mother. :-)

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Kateri said...

It looks like today will be perfect for birding. :) I'm still looking for spring beauties on our property. No luck yet. We have one little corner that is untouched by garlic mustard and we have lots of wild flowers there. I'm sure it is a little glimpse of what our woods used to look like. I even found Jack in the pulpits yesterday! It is so sad how garlic mustard wipes out everything in its path. So glad you bought your property before it completely took over!

Diana Dyer said...

Unfortunately we do have a gazillion !!! baby buckthorns, autumn olive and honeysuckles (typical invasives on a fallow farm). We need to start pulling out the small ones and cutting down or using the tractor to pull out the small trees and shrubs before they set seed again this summer. And my eyes are always looking for garlic mustard. Step, step, step!

Susanna said...

I'm enjoying hearing about your farm coming together. :) I'm a fan of the bumper sticker "Yes Farms, Yes Food" -- exact same sentiment with opposite words! Andy, I believe, is more fond of "No Farms, No Beer."

Diana Dyer said...

I have not seen the Yes Farms, Yes Food bumperstickers, but I like that too. We're raising our own organic hops, too, and the brewery was functional on the farm before the kitchen! Thanks for reading and sharing your comment. :-)

Diana Dyer said...

Tonight I saw a new bumper sticker that said "Know Farms, Know Food". I think that I like that one best of all!

Elaine said...

What a wonderful Mother's Day tradition! I hope you were able to enjoy at least an hour of birding yesterday. Belated Happy Mother's Day.