Before the Grass Comes In

IMG_2168I’ve discovered that there is a new season on the farm – one that our city cousins don’t necessarily encounter.

I call it “Before the grass comes in.”

This season happens directly after the snow melts and before the grass greens up and starts growing – which signifies the start of the spring busy season.

I know the season has arrived when I hear  –

“Those varmint cedar trees need to be picked up and burned before the grass comes in.”

“I’ve got to get that baler fixed before the grass comes in.”

“Those locust trees down by the pond should be taken care of before the grass comes in.”

“I really should burn the ditches before the grass comes in.”

“There’s lots of brush and thorns to clean up from that last snow storm before the grass comes in.”

With each added minute of daylight as spring approaches, the list gets longer and my husband gets busier.

And I will admit that he’s not the only one with a list.

I know that as soon as the grass turns green all indoor projects will be put on hold until the ground freezes next fall.

There’s a shower that needs to be fixed, a quilt that needs to be finished and a basement that we’ve been slowly working on all winter.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if these projects sit undone. It’s hard to get motivated to work inside when the sun is shining and the temperatures are climbing!

After all – the grass is greening up!

Girl Power

Our van is broke.

Since it won’t start and it’s stuck in our driveway, Jan had to trailer it in to town.

(May I stop here and point out the fact that this is the third time in 18 months that we have had to tow this particular vehicle? Once on the way home from camping after rodents gnawed away some important wiring, once from Des Moines when the brakes locked up and now because it won’t start.

You may find this bit of history fascinating – but my husband did not.)

Towing the van into town meant he needed to borrow a trailer as the van is exactly 4.187643923 inches too big for ours.

So he borrowed Dagmar’s truck and the neighbor’s trailer.

IMG_20140922_133845_879This is when things got interesting.

The first time we towed this van we rented a car dolly.

The second time we towed this van we rented a trailer from U-haul that has a fancy come-along thing to pull the vehicle up on the trailer.

This time we have the neighbor’s flat bed trailer with no fancy come along thing.

Remember that the van won’t start.

He needed a plan.

He choose gravity.

So he and Buddy used the tractor to pull the van to the top of a small rise in the yard. Then he backed the trailer up to the rise, and they pushed the van down the slight incline to the trailer.

The plan worked well – at first. The van moved beautifully down the slight incline – but when it reached the trailer, there was a slight uphill to get it on the ramps.

And the van wouldn’t budge.

After several tries, they called for reinforcements.

And since both of our strong, handsome older boys are gone – there was only the two girls and me.

Imagine his reaction when two of the three of us showed up in flannel jammie pants wearing cowboy boots and flip flops!

shoesThey shall remain nameless – but I can assure you that I wasn’t one of them.

But sometimes you have to to work with what you’ve got and we were drafted anyway. At least two of the three of us lift weights occasionally.  (Once again – I can assure you that I am not one of them!)

It took several tries but believe it or not – we did it.

We got that van loaded up and ready to go into town.

No fancy come along thing.

Just brute strength. 🙂

Flip flops, cowboy boots, jammie pants and all.

Girl power.

Buggy Issues

Have you ever noticed that listening to the crickets chirping outside your open window at night is a beautiful symphony of fall that will lull you to sleep?

But one cricket chirping incessantly under the freezer in the basement is so annoying it drives one almost to insanity?

10363853_10204754165637991_3338193488871808662_nAnd leads to extreme methods of extermination.

Or that a few fruit flies enjoying the ripening tomatoes on the counter can easily be ignored.

But if left unchecked – those few fruit flies can become an militant army in the midst of a covert invasion almost overnight.

IMG_20140917_131721_498Which leaves you fighting a losing battle armed with several fruit fly traps and massive amounts of apple cider vinegar.

But sometimes the most annoying bugs are the ones you don’t see – the ankle biters.

These are the seemingly invisible ones that attack you in the grass and the yard.

You don’t even know were there until the next morning when you when you discover your ankles and feet are covered with tiny little itchy bites.

These – my friends – are the pressing issues that bug me today.

Planting Trees

It’s been a tough a year for trees around here.

We lost one in a storm last fall; then 5 more to nasty pine beetles.

Now that Jan and the boys have finally gotten them cleaned up – it was time to replant.

tree stumps

Since we lost a total of six trees, we ordered 500 trees to replace them.

Yes – 500. That is not a typo.

I was half asleep the night Jan placed the order.

I vaguely remember the conversation.

Jan – How about white oaks.

Me – I like oaks.

Jan – How about red oaks?

Me – I like oaks. (yawn)

Jan – How about pin oaks?

Me – I like (massive yawn) oaks.

I must have been asleep when he asked about the chestnuts and hazel nuts.

I was, however, wide awake when the UPS man started delivering trees – hundreds of trees.

And by trees I mean short twigs with long roots.

My heart sunk as I thought of the time and work it would take to plant those things. We’re talking days, weeks, even months, to get 500 trees in the ground!

But I didn’t need to worry – they make a machine for that.
DSC_0040

A handy-dandy tree planting wonder.

And – our county owns one.

And – we could use it for free.

And it was available right then.

Would you believe that in less than 6 hours Jan and Pedro had all 500 trees in the ground?
DSC_0043All of them.

We now have a hard wood windbreak started to replace the rotting silver maples on the north, and east. We have some beautiful oaks planted around the ravines to add some fall color.

And we planted several oaks in the yard, because they’re my favorite.

And because we need a new swing tree – although it will be many years before these twigs will support a swing! But that’s okay – there’s something hopeful about planting  a tree.

Grow little twigs! Grow!

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ~Martin Luther

 

 

Well – that’s a problem

Well -that's a problemWe lost our water on Friday.

Pedro was in the shower in the middle of washing his hair when the water pressure dropped and then quit.

This did not make him happy.

As soon as Buddy and I walked in the door after running some errands – he told us.

This did not make us happy.

And since we are not on rural water – but have our own well – there was nobody to call to come fix the problem.

Except for Jan.

So I did.

That did not make him happy, either.

The only one that was unaffected by this earth shaking news was Dagmar – who was on her long shift at the hospital all weekend and could actually shower, wash her hands and flush the toilet.

Jan climbed into the well house when he got home and discovered a blown switch.

Just a blown switch.

Both Jan and I were scared that the well had gone dry. It has been a seriously dry two years. People around us have had it happen. The possibility was very real.

But it was just a switch. This time.

Thankfully we had a spare and by evening the water was back on.

And everyone was happy.

But we’re cutting back on water consumption – just in case.

And praying hard for rain.

Photo by Angelsharum