The Farm Update
August 19, 2009
Good morning,
I know. I know. It has been nearly three months since I wrote you of the events and daily activities of the farm! Summer is always a busy time, and as it is my
favorite season in Michigan, having been the second favorite season until Mother Nature in her questionable wisdom decided to no longer give Michigan spring, thereby
dropping spring out of the favorite and just passing right along to summer as my favorite. This year, Mother didn't give us much of a summer either. I suspect this is in
retaliation to me for my often constant complaints of the weather we get. Or didn't get. I expect many months of barefoot. And indeed have been known to be barefooted early in spring jumping from bare patches of ground in the snow to another to get to the mailbox, just to avoid the winter boots. But the signs are coming. Along with my frown. The summer is fleeting and indeed we have only had about 2-3 weeks of it. I believe the first week in August I still had long underwear on under my sweats! I had considered my long underwear under shorts, but thought that might look rather odd. Probably good thinking.
And the extra blanket was still on the bed. So, I think I deserve a good fall. That will remain to be seen.
One sign that always saddens me and I watch diligently in August. The robins left on Monday. Or at least weren't here on Monday. I never actually saw them leave. If I had, I would have begged them to stay longer. It is a passage that never fails to bring me a few hours of sadness. Or days, maybe. I have come to believe that all the joys I look forward to, are related to spring. The return of the robins, the red winged blackbirds, trees budding out, and of course, waited for- with the holding of ones breath in the evenings in spring....the frogs songs in the swamp.
Along with the swamp activity, of course, comes the spring thawing out of Fritz the Anaconda, resident barnyard snake, my nemesis of the past few years. To say we are NOT friends is a major understatement. I have plotted his death for a few years now. Usually some well thought out caper ( but more often some not well thought out, fly by the seat of my pants plan) that would result in him gone and me free to wander the barns without constant thought of him showing up, scaring me about witless. And we all know, I sometimes only have half a wit to begin with. So, I began spring with my usual thoughts of where he might be lurking, when snakes actually do 'thaw' out (if they do), and how much of my 'kill Fritz arsenal' I had to have either on me, or in close proximity. I must admit it is hard to get any work done when you are hampered by an axe, hoe, and such hanging in your tool belt. And Ron's often comment of that I would probably cut my foot off trying to get Fritz, came into mind on occasion. Half wits, in a frenzy, quite possibly could whack their foot a good one with any weapon of choice. And I am quite mindful of the bonk on the head I gave myself with the handle end of the hoe when I stepped accidentally on the other end, where I had put it in the barn, as it WAS winter and I thought perhaps I didn't need to defend myself against Fritz. There I go. Thinking again. That occasionally is my down fall.
So, spring as it was, finally came. The hayfields grew tall, inspite of the cold nights.  The days weren't very warm, so I figured perhaps Fritz the Anaconda might be moving his long body in a slower pace. Due to the cold and all.  In late June, the farmer who cuts, rakes and bales our hayfields into large round bales came. I had not much occasion to be in the barns, but was still mindful of Fritz the Anaconda's haunts and stayed clear of them. Ronnie got the old tractor (not the huge new New Holland) going, as he does each year and cuts the grasses close to the buildings. And this year, with the purchase of the DR Trimmer he could get right up to the barn and all the outbuildings. Good thing, as I was refusing to go anywhere except where I could see clearly. You can see the stand off, can't you.
So, one afternoon late, Ronnie comes in after doing the hay cutting with that old tractor and haybine (both old relics), and sitting down on the porch with me for coffee, casually mentions, "Oh, and I killed Fritz the Anaconda. I hit him with the haybine."      !!!!!!!! (my thoughts)  I says, "how do you know it was Fritz?" after my heart stopped racing. Says he, after measuring off in air, he was this big. I, immediately came back with it could NOT be Fritz the Anaconda because that was way too small a snake. We always had argued about how BIG Fritz is. I continue, as I see him regularly that this is ONE BIG SNAKE. He then tells me, that that was the tail end. He had cut him in half. Now the story changes! If he has the tail end, that means the head end is still out there somewhere. Knowing Fritz, I believe he could live many more years with only his head end, as I  KNOW how long he has left, if Ronnie only found that long a tail. No joy here. And besides Fritz might grow another tail. Who knows?
He would do that just to un-nerve me. Yup. I am totally un-nerved.
Later that evening he comes in and tells me he found the head part. So Fritz the Anaconda, resident barn snake got pitched into the swamp. That one that used to be my favorite swamp. Euuuwwww. Now, I am left only to think about how many Fritz-lings he may have sired last year.
I thought briefly of holding a memorial for Fritz. But didn't. Am I in mourning?  Am I wearing black?  Can you see my BIG toothy smile and hear my deep throaty laugh?
However, I can't help but think in the back of my one half-wit, that Fritz the Anaconda will somehow get me yet.....
What have I been doing, now that I can go to the barn, but haven't? Clearly, not cleaning out boxes, which was my plans for summer. I have been gardening, which I will tell you about next time. And about the black bear. Sheeesh, I get rid of a snake and get a black bear. This is no doubt the same black bear of last fall, whose tracks I followed into the woods and the Christmas trees. Gardening in the evening has become tricky. Makes me wonder how fast I could scale an armpit high fence?
What I have done in the past 10 days?  Built myself a Picture Trail !!! I know! Who would have thunk?
With the kindest of help from Dawn Gunning of  I got the knowledge, with her great patience in showing me, how to build a PT.
I have uploaded several things this past week, and hope you will take a look at them. One just this morning is an old postal sorting table. Not shipable, it is by pickup only. And the price is reduced! I have two of them. Un-huh. I know your thoughts on that. It will be going into the barn within a month for storage if not sold.
While I have chosen albums with names, please look at each album, as some items could clearly have gone into another album but I chose one over the other.
As I mentioned before, I will not be making new folk art, but will be  focusing more on selling my own personal collections of folk art and antique smalls.
Other things are in the works.
One that intrigues me and scares that one half-wit almost to none, I have been approached about writing a book. My old newsletters will be a great portion of it,
along with new writings about farmlife and characters who live in small towns and rural areas from my childhood. I have always loved eccentric people and have thought
for some time, that perhaps I am going over 'to their side'. It is from these memories that the pages will come. Can I really do this? I don't know. But it is a new path for me.
Another new journey.
Thanks for asking to be a part of the farm and our life here.
Should you change your mind, merely reply with remove.
in fond regard,
life without Fritz,
hair growing out,
new challenges to meet and embrace