July 05, 2013

This is a test ...

Moving to this farm has turned out to be a test ... of my patience ... of my endurance ... of my physical strength ... of our bank account ... and of my will power not to just stop and scream at the sky "are you #$@&*#@ kidding me?!?"  Okay, well maybe I've failed that last one a few times ...
It has also been a test of my ability to live in chaos for an extended period of time while my family moves around me oblivious to the stacks of boxes and fixtures and tools. I'm Felix and I live with 4 Oscars (Odd Couple reference).

My mantra has become "There is no crying in farming.  Suck it up, sister!"  With that mantra I have repaired and replaced my garden fence so many times I've lost count (who knew I could dig 16 post holes in the Georgia clay and live to tell about it, twice?), I've suffered through bruises, blisters, a torn off toe nail, a hammer to the head--not intentionally, I assure you!--callouses, sore muscles, headaches, backaches, allergies, a sprained joint in my arch--who does that?  sprains their arch?!--and a VERY bored 9 year-old. 

However, I have a gorgeous front porch flower bed (despite the previous owners of this place who were TOTAL MORONS!  Who plants heavy garden cloth 12 inches below the soil plus 1000 pounds of pea gravel and thinks this plan will keep the weeds away?).  I've planted 3 lilac bushes, 2 echinacea, some flowers I can't remember the name of that look like red black-eyed susans, 120 iris, 16 gladiola, 7 blue angel hostas, 5 gorgeous tiger lilies (the only thing that I didn't throw in the trash from the original weed flower beds),


one rhododendron, a rosemary bush, some mint, some thai basil, 4 dahlias (2 might not survive the transplant, though) and 6 dragon wing begonias.  That's just the front flower bed, which has taken 5 weeks of almost daily effort to get in order. 

The garden is pretty swell, also. 


I got it in just in time for a second planting, so there are pole beans, zucchini, cukes, okra, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, bell peppers, chili peppers, sage, lavender, bee balm, pineapple sage, a potato, and 45 transplanted strawberry plants.  I transplanted 3 blackberries and 2 raspberries today.  In about another week I'll put in a more beans, kale, acorn squash, and pumpkins.  And what is better than fireworks on the 4th of July?  Honey bought me 4 powder blue blueberry bushes yesterday that are 3 feet tall!  By the spring we will have our own little berry farm and orchard.  Can't beat that with a stick!

In the last week I put up 10.5 pints of blackberry jam, a smidge of blueberry syrup, and 8.5 quarts of spaghetti sauce.  What I didn't can, I froze.  Peaches are next if we can just get these trees next to the house to get with program.  This is what my "helper" dogs look like by noon on any given day that it isn't raining.  They are just worn out watching me work, though they do spend a goodly amount of time chasing the rats and rabbits in the field ... which begs the question "What the heck are those lazy cats living here for?"



So all of that is A LOT for one person to do and to survive... but the real test came this week.  It's not that there are no hair salons here, or places to get my toes done, or that the only grocery store seems to be the one with the person at the door who says "Welcome to Walmart" in a heavy Southern accent while someone else is out in the parking lot walking their pig--no joke, here's a picture of the 200 lb. pig from today's trip to Walmart.  It doesn't look that big, but my 9 year-old could have thrown a saddle on it! 


The test:  I'm pretty sure I've broken a KEY knitting finger. (pause for gasps and condolences)  Did I break it digging post holes?  Did I break it cleaning out the chicken coop?  Putting up walls?  Putting in floors?  Moving truck loads of stuff that I can't believe I didn't know we owned?  Chasing off wild dogs?  All good opportunities for injury (I'm sure that I have one to report for each of those occasions, actually), but no. No.  Fate has a sense of humor.

I seem to have broken my finger while wiping my hands on a dish towel.  Seriously.  I mean it.  I broke my finger doing the dishes.  Let this be a lesson to you, ladies. Get someone else to do the dangerous job of washing dishes.

No, I haven't gone to the doctor.  Going to the doctor for a broken finger is like going for a broken toe.  What are they going to say?  "Yup, it's broken. $600 please."  My son fractured his ankle pretty seriously last year.  They gave him a boot ($400) and an ankle brace ($600) and physical therapy ($3000).  We walked into Dick's Sporting Goods the day after they gave him the brace ... same brace ... $30.  I can splint my own finger, thanks.  Unfortunately, the metal finger splint plan (2 for $2.95 at Walmart!) did not work out. They make those splints with little stupid velcro straps that attach themselves to my working yarn like duct tape.  That middle finger yarn tensioner thing inspired several under-my-breath expletives and just didn't work out.


However, the homemade 25 cent version works like a charm! (I've since upgraded to a tongue depressor and waterproof tape because I am still doing the dishes ...)


With this broken finger I have worked my way nearly through the legs of two pair of socks and done a few inches on that Entrelac cowl.  If this is a test, I'm pretty sure I've passed.

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