Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Laid Back Spring

I dont know how its been in the rest of the country but this has been a very mild and great spring in the Ozarks. Cool nights, warm days, no big storms, just very relaxing and good weather. Still, we sure could use some rain as we are in the second year of a moderate drought. This weather though has given us lots of "get things done" time and we are usually pretty tired at the end of the day...a good tired.

Its also the season of political silliness and this being a presidential election year we are experiencing our fair share of goofy ads, misleading promises, and frankly insulting and clueless rhetoric from both sides of the aisle. Missouri is a mix of extreme liberal in the population dense Kansas City and St Louis corridors and extreme conservative in the rest of the state which is sparsely populated and very rural. So we get some interesting politics.....boy will it be nice when this election season is over.

In the last week we had a couple bush hogging jobs, we have been working fund raisers with the Lions Club, planted, and helped with the installation of water, sewer and electrical lines for a Fire Department training building.

But to illustrate why our blood pressure is so low here are two situations experienced in the last two days. Yesterday, Holly was planting mellons, squash, etc. in one of the gardens while I mowed and when I finished mowing for the day I took an Adirondak chair under some trees where she was working to watch. It was sunny and about 79 but I was in the shade and the wind was light but cooling. Holly and I keep an easy company with each other and we love to talk and laugh together but we also can enjoy each others company without conversing and this was one of those days. Pretty soon I could smell the Honeysuckle and the wild roses and Bandit layed across my feet and fell asleep...I was warm but comforted by the breeze and soon I could hear various birds singing and insects buzzing by and....GONE. Fell asleep myself. I waked to an overall feeling of satisfaction and relaxation.

Then today, we worked all day and in early afternoon I was tired and hot and sweaty and after a sandwhich I sat in my easy chair in the family room to sit for a moment before going back outside. I had a Solo cup full of ice water at my side and turned to the PBS Create channel where Burt Wolf had some travel show on Switzerland (someplace Holly and I are travelling to in the future) and I started to relax. The sunlight was filtered and dappled coming through the French Door and blinds and the AC was keeping it comfortable, and it was so quiet........again...GONE. 2 hours later I waked in time to feed the cattle, do some poison ivy control and play a few games of yard darts before dinner. Tonight as I write this I feel relaxed, refreshed, and content.

You know, when we were contemplating buying a small farm as our retirement plan one of the things we always thought was just part of the whole experience was a red tractor. I used to have a metal one like this when I was a small boy that was part of a farm set many my age will remember. Remember the tin barn, the plastic corral, plastic rows of corn, a rooster, couple of cows etc.? Well as crazy as it sounds this International Harvester 424 fills a void for me and I am thoroughly enjoying having it. I brush hogged 7 acres of the neighbors and used the old John Deere rotary mower seen here. If you dont currently have a tractor, or have never heard an older one under load then you are really missing something. The sound is very pleasing.

I still need to sand blast this and paint it but its been properly lubed, the gear box oil changed, and a couple zerks replaced and it worked better than I could have expected.  
In the fore ground are our tomato plants, in the back ground the corn. The hay bales to the right will be our potato experiment and the peas will climb the cattle panels.

Onions, lettuce and radishes.
Beets and more lettuce..

Second year cherry trees are enjoying the mild spring..

The bananas took a pounding with the late frost but have come back and we expect they will be 15 foot tall this year.
The colour of the house has really grown on us and we like it. It looks so clean.

And I am sure the radish references are getting old but I cant stress enough how easy they are to grow and how much enjoyment you can get out of them. Even if you live on a sail boat (we have) you could have a small pot of radishes and they really spice up a salad. Look at the size of that one on the left...it was not mealy or of bad flavour....just crisp, spicy hot, and tasty!

 If you are living really rural like we are you do for yourself or perish. Both of us are heavily involved in the Volunteer Fire department and I must admit I never could have fathomed how much effort goes into making a rural volunteer department successful. All of us contribute something to the mix and we do our own maintenance, we write grants, we file taxes, and in this case, we dig our own sewer, electrical, and water lines. Rural folks know how to do things out of necessity and I admit I learn everytime I help out.

Luckily we had access to a track loader and we all have tracotrs with buckets and lots of tools so in 8 hours we had everything laid. Right behind where this picture was taken will be an old double wide class room we got from a school in Springfield that was closed down...it will be a training area and much needed office space for us. This is our hometown now and its satisfying being part of things like this.

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