The Farm Update
August 19, 2009
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
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?
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
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