Archive for May, 2013

A Cock Fight, A Day in the Life of a Farmer’s Wife, Day 8

Birds crowed and dove at an unseen enemy. Loud enough to rouse us out of in bed after just finishing our first cup of coffee, we peaked out the window.

“What’s all the ruckus about, guys?”

We noticed the cat. He toated a small bird in his mouth. Tom sprayed the predator with a water bottle. Kitty dropped the bird who sat stunned.

“It’s a cat eat bird kind of world.”

After the bird drama, I ventured outside to feed our neighbors dog, cat, hens (who are caged), and a rooster who wanders the yard aimlessly singing lonely rooster songs . He’s a surly looking creature. Once, he had a harem of hens but they died. Now he’s a bachelor.

Everyone knows that hens are all called ladies. I called to them as they cooed and pecked. I summoned the rooster. We’d gotten along famously until then.

“Hello Sir!” I called happily.

Sir must have mistook my greeting for a threat. He charged me, jumped, and kicked me with his whatever you call rooster feet. Shocked, I yelled. He continued jumping and kicking. I called for Sam. He idled a safe 20 feet away.

“Tom! Help! The rooster is attacking me!” I saw Tom in the distance working on our soil blocks, but his head didn’t even turn.

Desperate, I took off my $5 Dollar General Store shoe. I smacked the rooster who responded with more kicks. I backed up and swung three or four times. Undeterred, the rooster kicked again–kicking my shoe out of my hand.

Kung-fu Rooster.

Finally, he backed off and I stopped sweating.

“How’d you make out with the rooster?” Tom asked.

“You saw him and didn’t help me? I called you when he attacked me!”

“I did notice until after the altercation was complete.” Tom smiled. “You’ve got to toughen up.”

At that point, I wished I’d had my shoe to throw at him. But then I laughed. He felt a little bad when I pulled my Bermuda shorts up to reveal two small wounds.

“I’m bleeding. You happy?”

We laughed again. Who knew a small farm could be such a treacherous place?

“Carry a stick next time,” Tom advised.

“Or heavier shoes.”

Tom put the rooster away that night.

Rooster Sir just may be fasting for the rest of the week.

I think he needs to toughen up.

But then, who likes a tough bird?

If At First You Don’t Succeed, You Must Be a Farmer

Our baby soil blocks

Sometime in the next few days, Tom and I are going to cut down an 80’ tree.

We’ve never done that before, but there’s a first time for everything.

Our property borders an old garage. The owner mentioned he was afraid a rotted pine might fall and damage the roof.

“So if you could cut it down, I’d appreciate it.”

“Sure,” Tom said.

“No problem,” I added.

As the gentleman pulled away in his pick-up, Tom and I looked at each other. “How the heck do you do that?”

“Dunno,” Tom said, “but we’re gonna try.

Our life’s been like that a lot lately. Not knowing anything but trying anyway. Like when we sat down to order seeds.

“Do cucumbers grow on a vine or a bush?” I asked.

Tom took a swig of the ice-cold well water. “Dunno.”

“How about asparagus? Is that a summer crop or what?”

“Don’t know that either.”

We ordered anyway. Then we visited the local Farm Supply store and tried to figure out an organic mix.

We came up with a combination of soils to make our baby soil blocks.

After we planted our seeds in ¾ and 1½ blocks, we covered them up and checked on them like newborns.

We almost sent out birth announcements when some of our seeds sprouted.

Another thing we did and had no idea how was when Tom unpacked his super-duper-raised-bed-builder. It gathers dirt, piles it, lays irrigation hose, and covers it with black plastic. I understand the next model up does dishes.

Next year.

We’ve never seen one of those except on YouTube videos. Tom looked at it and put it together. And then he practiced. He’s learning.

I admire him. I tend to give up when the going gets tough but Tom perseveres.

And that’s what farming is all about. Working and not giving up.

Kind of like life.

Read more: http://www.grit.com/blogs/blog.aspx?blogid=4294968271&tag=Pauline Hylton#ixzz2Upd7bW1R

Horse Talk, A Day in the Life of a Farmer’s Wife Day 7

“So let me get this straight.” I collected my thoughts as I leaned on the massive horse trailer my neighbor owned–one of many. “If I go into the fence where the horses are and they don’t hate me, they probably won’t kick me, right?”

Jamie nodded and looked at me. “Right.”

“It’s okay if I go into the pen isn’t it?”

“Sure.”

I asked him if I could ride a horse and maybe if my friends could ride when they visited.

“No problem.”

“And do you have the stuff to ride with?”

He patiently explained, “It’s called tack. I have about 35 different saddles and bridles and stuff. That’s what I do. I buy horses and equipment and sell them.”

Amazing.

I thought only people in westerns were in that profession. I asked about the horse I’d fallen in love with–the one with the blue eyes. He explained how he starts them in the pasture on our property when he first buys them and then transfers them to another 20-acre pasture he leases that has actual grass.

I’d missed them yesterday. There’s something both stately and comforting to look out your bedroom window and see two horses grazing.

“You won’t recognize him when I bring him back. He’ll look just like those horses.” He pointed to the healthy looking ones in back of his house. “The white one there is nice.”

“What’s her name?”

“Horse. She’s for sale.”

I pouted. “I really love that blue-eyed horse you had here.”

“He’ll be back. He came from a family of young-uns who let the horse do what he wanted.”

“I need you to help me learn how to make a horse do what I want.”

“I can help you with that.”

I couldn’t help but smile. “When you see that blue-eyed horse, tell him I asked about him.”

“I will.”

I think Jamie smiled too.

A Day in the Life of a Farmer’s Wife, Day 6

I thought you might be interested in what I did a few days ago. It was incredibly interesting to me since as a city girl, wildlife had nothing to do with animals.

First we visited the farm of a young man of 25 years with about 50 years of farming experience. We made arrangements to meet  him at a local park and thought we’d follow in our van. He opened the car door to his well-used truck and invited us to ride with him.

“The roads are wet and pretty bumpy. I can barely get my truck in there.”

We traveled windy roads with majestic views of low mountains.

“You could spit into Virginia from here,” he explained. I decided against it. Mine always seemed to hit the side of the car.

First he showed us his bottom land. It had a grayish brown hue as opposed to the red clay on our land. There were several rows covered with black plastic. Healthy plants pushed through.

“We’ll be harvesting soon. I think there’ll be several thousand pounds of squash.”

He uttered those words as if he were stating it might rain. I couldn’t imagine that much squash. Ever.

Part of the reason for our visit was to see his irrigation set-up. We’d purchased the same one and had no idea how it worked.

“Let’s go down and look at the pump.”

We traveled through thick brush down a steep embankment to the river. Quiet and cool, I imagined Tom and Huck hanging out at a place like it. A large highway passed overhead and I wondered how many dreamy places I’d missed in my life as I talked on my cell phone on my way to a mall or a concert.

The places that are really beautiful and no one notices.

He took us to his two other fields and let us pet his cows. They felt soft and furry. He fed one Nab crackers. He might process some of his herd, but says,”She’s our pet. We’re gonna bury her.”

He showed us a lot of land on a lot of hills owned by his father, mother, and grandparents.

Up until recently, I hadn’t known many people whose land dated back for generations. Around here, it’s the norm–not the exception.

It was right kind of that man to help us out. We’re gonna take Joshua and Katie to dinner sometime. These are young people that I’d like to get to know better.

Later, I took a walk with my neighbor and new friend. Her two girls joined us. Christy lives about a 1/4 mile from me on a dirt road with a sign that reads, “Rainbow Lane.” She owns a mammoth horse and two guard dogs and a 1975 Chevy truck. I’m kind of jealous.

I shared with her my fear of horses. “There’s nothin’ to be afraid of, once you know how to act around them.”

We decided to visit the two on our property. She petted them and spoke to them and scratched them. I admired her courage. The horse I’m partial to has blue eyes and followed me all the way down the fence.

I think he likes me. I named him Blue. He just doesn’t know it.

That afternoon, Daphene–Mom’s new caregiver noticed something on my neck and picked it off.

“It’s a tick,” she announced.

We found one on Tom later.

When you’re a farmer’s wife, you gotta be tough.

We ended the day making soil blocks for our baby seeds.

Then we played solitaire and watched fireflies.

Exhausted and tick free, we fell into bed.

 

 

A Simpler Life, A Simpler Church

“We are headed for the throne, we’re meeting in a school, and we’re getting there through the lunchroom.”

I smiled at the thought. The sanctuary of my Florida church home for almost 30 years housed around 400 people. A built-in choir loft sat nestled below the heated baptistry. The stage held a large podium stocked with small bottles of water for my friend and pastor, Steve Kreloff. I’d been on the stage many times. Directing our small orchestra, ministering with the praise team, or singing with my daughter Sarah. Sometimes, I even sang alone.

But yesterday, I worshiped with 50+ believers in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, with a body of believers called Christ Community Church. Although visiting off and on for the last year, we’ve been regular worshipers for the last 5 weeks.

I like it.

They celebrated 5 years as a church. Not a building. A church.

We meet in a school, seated at round cafeteria tables. A small sound system divides the lunchroom equipped with two mics and a lone music stand.

Dr. David Brady has a broad education, but what I love is his pastor’s heart. A heart whose sole desire is to lift up the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He does that through teaching the Holy Word of God.

All of it. Not just some of it.

Teaching the whole counsel of God is hard, not only for the pastor, but for the congregation. You see, the pastor’s job is to equip the saints (believers), to take God’s message to the world.

All of it.

Not just the parts we like.

The equipping of the saints is happening in my Florida church and my Mt. Airy church week by week through the teaching of faithful men and Tom and I are the richer for it.

Although our new church home meets in a school, we aren’t missing anything.

A simpler lifestyle with a simpler place to worship. It’s okay by me. I like resting my Bible on the cafeteria table.

During the service, we feasted on God’s Word. After the service, we shared hamburgers and hot dogs and spinach pie and yummy desserts.

Fed spiritually and physically–all in one day.

I think I’m gonna like it here.