It’s been a humbling week on the farmlet. Nothing much has happened on the hoop house construction. We are both trying to get this aging thing and its requirements through our heads, but the Bearded One hurts the most this week. He carried 20-foot long poles down the hill by himself and skronked his back. He also karate-chopped kindling with his foot — he is a 55-year-old man, by the way — until his knee hurt. The only thing moving fast around here this week was stem cells.
“The Farmer and the Cow Man Should Be Friends” is a song from the musical “Oklahoma.” One of the biggest thrills of my life was seeing my now 20-year-old son playing the lead role Curly in his high school’s performance of “Oklahoma” two years ago. He sang “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” to the packed Seattle University Auditorium and I was in utter shock. Who was that grown-up person? My husband cried, although I didn’t notice because I was transfixed. I was very sad about this later because I’ve never seen my husband cry.
Anyway, “The Farmer and the Cow Man Should Be Friends” is about land usage in balance with nature and other humans. It’s really quite poignant. “Territory folks should stick together” they all sing and dance….in fact, the song specifically prescribes dancing with each other’s wives and daughters as a way to ensure peace.
Aside from that, though, fences are what help on the range, and they’re also what we’re using to keep our chickens and goats safe from the coyotes, weasels and cougars.
It was this chicken coop that helped inspire me to write an article about self-publishing, A Free-Range Writer, published this week to much lovely clucking. One of the cluckers was Nancy Rekow, publisher of “Minnie Rose Lovgreen’s Recipe for Raising Chickens,” a delightful 32-page, illustrated, originally self-published book. Minnie Rose knows chickens and how to keep them happy. We don’t want to create a war zone, where we curse the coyote even as we intrude into the wild. We want to create a place of peace, where all can flourish.
So I admit I’ve been a bit grumpy toward my sweetheart this week. The partner of the injured is affected, too, as she says Poor Sweet Baby, ties his boot laces and does all his chores. The stages of injury might even parallel the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. We’re both at acceptance now, for this round, but let’s face it, getting old is frustrating. I read once that aging cells copy themselves like photocopies of photocopies, getting grainier and more illegible over time. My jaw clicks with every bite. My hip sockets are genetically wimpy. Each day we ask each other, who’s got the brain today?
Because there is nothing harder than doing nothing, we went into Gig Harbor to Costco and several hardware stores on Sunday. The gas lines at Costco — for $3.56/gallon — were stacked five and six deep, reminding us both of the 1973 Embargo. And how fragile are our country’s supply lines. As we shopped, we heard many times how high prices were. I stocked up, sort of, with 2 bags of sugar and 4 of flour. We bought supplies for constructing the hoop house, which has, by the way, become a full-fledged project with lots of parts.
Jobs are always bigger deals than you first think.
We’ve also decided to hire a neighbor’s kid to help with the huge, ghastly fencing rolls. Better to pay him than the doctor. Avoiding the doctor is central to living cheaply and richly. So, no lifting anything away from the body. No kicking out. No twisting and bending simultaneously.
I’d also like to say a word for the nap. I’m fer ’em.
On the way home from Costco, we were both feeling wiped out. My husband started telling me about a cartoon he’d seen on PBS about an old couple coping with the husband dying of old age and cancer. The husband had written his wife a love note every day for decades. PBS radio aired their interview (which is the sound to the animation shown on PBS TV) and then he died the same day. The widow received thousands of letters from people who’d heard them on the radio, and in her old age apparently she reads one each day in lieu of his love notes. I didn’t understand the ending at first because my husband had choked up. I looked over and saw that his face was flushed. His eyes were swimming. He was crying.
It’s actually been a pretty amazing week on the farmlet.