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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two Days In -- Reflections

It was strange -- and wonderful -- to awaken early Sunday, but not by the alarm, and instead of heading off to do mindless commerce I headed out to the critters and the garden and picked like a madwoman... peas and dye flowers and lettuces for the pot luck later in the day and parsley... because it needed it. Over 6 POUNDS later, it filled the bathtub, where I stashed it to wash and hold until I could process it for drying and freezing.

By the time I had all this food hauled into the house, there were still HOURS until time to head off for the local MOFGA chapter potluck, so we got to start on one of our annual animal chores -- clipping and shaving the apparently unavoidable mats from our long haired rescue kitty, CC. This is almost always a several day project, both for our sanity and the kitty's.

Collaborative pea shelling
By the time we headed to potluck, our salad and a bucket of peas to shell while we chatted, the day began to feel a lot more normal.

It took a decidedly different turn, upon arriving at the farmstead of our friends and hosts. They had several sows farrow and they are not necessarily playing nice with the babies, so several had been moved into the house, with the intention that they would be bottle fed... but they were not really keen on the idea. We got the chance to hold and attempt to teach the little guys the joys of milk replacer from a bottle, with limited success. The baby pigs were great fun, regardless.

The predicted rain arrived while we were playing with the babies and with it, cooler temperatures. I know this is summer, but I truly appreciate the ebb and flow of the thermometer here in the Northlands. The 80+ degree days are so much more tolerable when they are mitigated by cool evenings and passing cold fronts that one can actually feel!

The rain continued as predicted through Monday, though it held off for a brief bit during the morning which allowed me to do critter chores most efficiently.   Knowing that more rain was on the way, I fed the fowl somewhat lightly, as when their food gets damp it clogs the feeders; I also walked the length of the garden on my way back from the turkeys to discover.... BEANS!

Remember when I said how strange it was to be planting peas and beans in the same week?  Well, now I will be processing peas and beans at the same time, which I expected. LOL I am most thankful for the abundant harvests -- not having to share with the deer has given us bumper crops -- and even more thankful to be able to "go with the flow" without town interruptions.

This is what 6 lbs of
parsley looks like, drying.
Parsley with ruler
One of the major tasks for this rainy Monday was getting the parsley out of the tub. I had run the water out after we got back from potluck and thrown a sheet of plastic over it, just to keep it moist overnight, but knew that after we finished shearing the matted fur from our long haired cat and dog, that the tub and shower would be needed! Some will likely try to tell me that, with the size of these stalks and leaves, I did not plant parsley but instead Par-cel (a type of cutting celery that develops more like parsley than the more typical very thick "rib" stems of the kind commonly seen in the store, but I can assure you, this is just plain parsley, planted where the chicken run was located several years back! In addition to hanging 17 bunches, I chopped and froze the bits that did not have long stems -- a heaping cookie sheet full that will be ready to bag up today.

I realized yesterday, while washing up from supper, that if I had still been working I would have been MUCH more stressed by a wet Monday (no wash day) and that having thus been "behind" in the work flow, with the beans calling to be picked Tuesday morning -- after the end of the rain, with laundry also waiting to be washed and hung -- I would have been additionally frustrated by having to head off to town to tend to the dubiously important task of "new release day" for music CDs and movies on disk.

Instead I washed my dishes, painted on a hex and fell into a sound sleep.

Completing this blog entry Tuesday morning, I am feeling calm and centered. The sun is up, shining through the departing clouds. The first load of wash is in the machine, K is busy cleaning the plastic totes that hold, for now, our second round of meat birds and second hatching from our hens eggs, and