July 6, 2011

Bites, Backs and Parties

It's 2:00 in the morning and thanks to an overwhelming urge to saw off my left foot (mosquito bites right on the ball of the ankle), I'm up and have time for a quick recap of all things farmy and family.

In the last two weeks, that rainy, cool weather I was complaining about fled, replaced by the parched, sometimes oppressive heat so characteristic of a summer on the plains. This means our days are once again dictated by the thermometer.

Harvesting and transplanting can only happen in the early cool hours of the day. And, we can't very well leave our sleeping baby in the oven that is our camper trailer in the height of the heat either. So, we try to get as much done between the hours of 7 and 11 as humanly possible.

Humanly possible. Now that's something I've been pondering lately.

Hunched over baby seedlings, sore hamstrings and aching forearms, I sometimes wonder: Just how long will our  bodies be able to handle this work?

It's one of my biggest fears farming. I (sometimes) enjoy the work. Jacob (most times) enjoys the work. But that's now, when our bodies are relatively strong and our stamina is robust.

What happens when the backs we built the business on give out?

Speaking of able bodies, Sunday, we had to drop off our friend Shannon, a remarkable young woman and the daughter of some good friends of ours.

Shannon is interested in studying agriculture when she graduates from high school and lucky her, she knows some farmers who just happen to have a little bit of "training" to offer. So Shannon spent a week with us, getting sunburned (Shannon! Don't forget your hat!) and mosquito bit, as she weeded onions, transplanted squash, harvested for CSA delivery, did dishes (God bless her) and played with the bean.

Before she left, several of my friends asked if Shannon could: a) be cloned and/or b) come back and stay with them next time.

I've known Shannon since she was a 12-year-old girl with a pink room. Now she's a woman. She's always been wise beyond her years, but even more so now. This girl has it together.

Not many 17-year-olds would hang with a (boring, workaholic) married couple in the middle of nowhere, tending to a baby and an overgrown little piece of ground. And even fewer would have fun doing it. But Shannon is a gem, I tell you. If something needs done, she's on it. If someone needs help, she's on it. Even if someone needs a twirl, she's on it.

If ever, ever, you doubt leaving this world in the hands of this upcoming generation, don't fret. There are Shannons out there.

Now, to the partying: The last photo was taken on one of those magical summer nights on the prairie at a picture-perfect picnic.

Every year, the parents of some of our friends throw a big 4th of July party at their farm way out of town. I love the drive out there (it looks a bit more like home than where we spend most of our time these days) and the food is always amazing and the company inviting.

This year, the previously mentioned friends brought out the big guns and amped up for a little rock show on a flatbed trailer.

I'm continually amazed at the talent, creativity and gusto we've found in our small town. (One of these days, I need to tell you all about the friends we've found here. Rural brain drain? Hah! Not a hint of that around these parts.) This is a prime example right here.

The day after this party, we hopped in the car for yet another party -- the wedding of some dear farmer friends of ours across the mountains.

I love a summer wedding and even more, I love a farm, summer wedding. They make me want to listen to old-timey country and eat strawberry jam and run sack races.

This one was filled with amazing food, great music and some of my favorite people, as well as some of Willa's favorite people.

Weddings also present a rare opportunity for all of us to be showered and dressed up in town clothes at the same time, so, in hoping to capture the moment on camera, I even went so far as to match our wedding outfits. But alas. Our baby was most of the time in the arms of said favorite people and Jacob and I were too busy frolicking with friends, so nary a family photo.

This is the only one that even came close and let's just say: Not exactly mantle material.


  1. What do you mean that's not mantle material? In my humble opinion that's a photo yearning to be framed.

  2. For the blood suckers: I have found catnip leaves rubbed on bare skin to be quite helpful. I have plenty of the vampires in my yard. If they do manage to bite, I pour a TBS (a small amount like this is not pungent) of ammonia in a bowl and dab on welts with a Q-tip. Welts are gone with-in minutes! I hate ammonia, but the results are very worth it.

    Thank you for being honest. That is why I find your blog inspiring. Things may not turn out exactly the way we plan, but human will is an amazing force.



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