God, I’m Tired

18 04 2013

By Snarky_Basterd

So the mental exhaustion of learning how to farm — and the ‘how to’ is just as if not more important than the ‘can do’ at this point — is like having a truck run your brain run over in the middle of the road.

And this happens by noon.

However, the difference between learning to farm and working a desk job is … with farming, you want to wake up tomorrow and learn more, while with the desk job you want that truck to put the rest of your body out of its misery, so you don’t have to wake up tomorrow and do nothing for nothing.


Potatoes, Onions, and Asparagus, Oh My!

16 04 2013

There is dirt under my nails. Lots of it. I’m sweaty, filthy, and sore. Yet running through my head is, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” Granted, most of the little songs that come from Baby Q’s musical froggy’s butt get stuck in my head but this time it’s apropos.

This morning Snarky really, really finished the chicken coop; he thought he had finished it yesterday until he found one of the troublemaker chicks outside the coop last evening when he went to put them in for the night. They’re still just small enough to fit through the holes so he added finer mesh wire around the bottom to keep the little suckers where they belong.

I played on the tractor, running the cultivator through the same field we disced last week. Apparently we’re about two weeks behind our neighbor in when we can plow since it was just a wee too wet in there. I kept getting stuck, my wheels spinning a bit, when the cultivator would dig too deeply, but as soon as I raised it a little, on we’d go. I’m going to have to run over it again tomorrow or as soon as it dries out some more.

I also cultivated the area next to the grape vines and blueberries and then went back to plant the asparagus crowns, onion sets, and potato eyes. Now, I have never planted any of these items before. Why? I don’t know. I’ve either inherited them in gardens to which I moved or it was always the wrong time of year. I, of course, started with the asparagus since it’s going to be a permanent part of the landscape. I got my handy dandy bulb digger and started making two 6″ deep holes (since I had purchased two packages of crowns).

After opening the packages, I discovered I had not purchased two packages of one crown in each, but rather about seven-to-ten crowns. I was gonna need a bigger shovel.

Luckily, while I was traipsing back from the shop with the shovel I remembered pictures I’d seen of asparagus beds, not holes, and subsequently dug a nice 5′ x 5′ x 6″ trench for the leggy things.

But squares are easy…it’s those rows that give me trouble; I have a hard time keeping them straight. Wobbly rows be damned I went ahead and planted about 40 potato eyes and about 120 onion sets. Now I just need it to rain so I don’t have to truck water up to that spot.

If you’re happy and you know it, stomp your feet.

I’m sure the potatoes and onions should have been spaced a little more but this isn’t about perfection; it’s about learning, adjusting, and just going for it, every single day. Thank gosh I read Joel Salantin’s You Can Farm. It’s always good to hear about the mistakes others have made as well as their successes. I come from a line of people who think that you have to do it perfectly the first time and there’s no room for adjustment. Well, perfect is fine, but if there’s no room for mistakes then there’s no room for learning.

Do you know why WD-40 is called “WD-40”? Because it wasn’t until the fortieth formula did they succeed in getting it right. That means thirty-nine mistakes! I’m not sure I’m willing or able to keep trying for something thirty-nine times.

If you’re happy and you know it, wave your arms.

Week 1 at Basterds’ Bluff

1 04 2013

The move went very well in spite of an increase in the moving rate; I guess those 30+ boxes of books (in addition to the rest of our stuff) took a wee bit longer to move than anticipated. The movers came a day early to avoid the threatening rain which of course made us scramble to ensure everything was done a day earlier than planned. Thank God for my sister, Michelle Ray, being here to help…we couldn’t have done it without her!

Temperatures being less accommodating than they were the same weekend last year (the weekend we got married) we cranked up the multiple propane wall heaters, opened the doors, and started putting things away as fast as the guys could get them in the door (which wasn’t very fast because they were so cold). As boxes and furniture began stacking and their comments of “how the hell you gonna get all this stuff in here” became more frequent I began to despair…how were we going to fit it all in?

Long story short, we did get every single item for which we’d planned into the house with plenty of room to move about and not one extra box or stick of furniture went to storage that wasn’t planned. Our kitchen is so big we actually have two refrigerators (one for food, one for alcohol and bacon) and an old metal-topped table in the middle…you know the kind: white, with that nice red painted trim around it, the kind of metal they used to make cars of (and probably painted with the same sort of paint, and it probably contains lead).


We’re at 2,000′ elevation and it snowed the first few days, with wind adding to the chill factor. Damn global warming.


The house is 95% put away, Snarky has the shop put together and all his tools put away. The house is truly a cozy little home and now that we’ve lived in the space for a bit we’ve decided that the addition for which we’d planned and budgeted is not needed. Woo hoo!


We don’t have a laundry which means I get to go down to the end of the road to our local laundromat and mass wash and dry. I must say I was a bit intimidated the first day…it’s been 25 years since I had to use a laundromat, so I only took four loads with me to break myself in. Easy schmeezy. Now that we’re not doing the addition (which included a laundry room) I’ve found an all-in-one ventless washer/dryer that runs on 110 that will fit perfectly in the big ol’ kitchen, right next to the portable dishwasher.


And, we have chickens. Six of them, three different varieties (of which we have no idea). Bought at the local Tractor Supply, the sign simply said “Pullets” and “Red Pullets”. Guess what? “Pullets” is not a variety, it just means they’re all hens (insert facepalm here). So we have two whiter chicks, two yellow chicks with red stripes, and two red chicks (two per kid). The kids are happy and, of course, the girls have named theirs; Thing 2, being nine, has named her’s some cutesy names like “Crystal”; Thing 3, being two, has named one of her’s “Poop”.

Things 1-3 with their brood.

Things 1-3 with their brood.

“Bye, chicks! Bye, poop!” she said last night.

“Is Poop your chicken’s name?” I asked.


And there ya have it.

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