Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Holy Ground.

(These guys, an Irish band called the Dubliners, look like they could be members of my family.)

The weather of late fall and early winter in this part of Maine includes wind. Which is good. For me at least.

I like the seasons and, being British, expect winds around the equinox. These are no disappointment. They already blew a chunk of asphalt roll roofing off our own small Womerlippi sheep barn. We had several short power cuts, one long enough for me to at least start the emergency job of finding all our battery packs and inverters to provide temporary light and to keep our freezers running. They blew down some small dead trees on our road. And they completely blew down a part-built barn owned by our local alpaca farm, Northern Solstice Alpacas.

Consequence being, I spent most of Sunday morning fighting flapping wet gritty roofing felt in a fresh gale with driving rain, and my students and I spent much of yesterday afternoon, between gales, rebuilding an alpaca barn. I quite enjoyed both experiences. There's something about a good stiff gale that gets my British blood going. And, when it's all over, you feel just a little bit more alive as a result.

Aimee, although she enjoyed the experience less, being an American, was good, and brave enough to hold my ladder Sunday. The barn is 18 feet high. It gets windy up there. the ladder would blow down by itself, already had, and I didn't want to be trapped on the roof. A couple gusts had me thinking I might soon learn to fly, without really wanting to know the technique, nor time enough to learn it. I also cursed, not for the first time, my lack of a roofing-nail gun. The nice thing about a nail gun, is it only takes one hand to operate, giving you another to hold on for grim death, or to hold down the new roofing before tacking it down. I have a framing-nail gun, but not a roofing-nail gun.

The alpaca ladies, probably wisely, left us to our own devices to rebuild their barn Tuesday. We had enough help to hold any number of ladders. And a suitable nail gun.

Our student construction crew is now fairly well-trained and experienced, and knows most of the tricks it takes to make construction easy, safe and accurate, like building framing tables and saw tables first so you work at waist level standing up, not ground level kneeling down. Measuring twice, cutting once. They also figured out the use of wind braces PDQ, and we attached several to the barn as we put up the frame sections, and a bunch more on completion of our work day to help the part-built building survive the new gale. I expect it to stay up, this time.

Now, as the old song goes, the storm is raging, and we are far from the shore of calm days. It's midnight in Maine, and I just went out to check around the farmyard. Everything seems fine, and seems to be sticking more or less where it belongs, including the barn roof. So far, so good. The biggest gust tonight was only about 30 mph. The National Weather Service was predicting sustained 40 mph winds, and gusts to 50 and 60. Our house doesn't even think about moving until gusts reach 40. It's been on this spot a long time, and has a better windbreak now than it probably had in previous years, while I already removed all the trees that were closest to the house that could have fallen on it.

It's supposed to settle down a bit by the weekend. Hopefully no-one else's house is getting tossed about either, and all the ships in the Gulf of Maine have made port.

This is one of those nasal songs we used to sing in pubs and Land Rovers when I was in the service. I do believe I even know it on the penny whistle, although I play the penny whistle rarely, now my old dog Liza Jane is no longer around to join in. A good song for a windy day. The kind my wife doesn't like. Maybe if she gets tossed around in gales a bit more, she'll get used to them.

(Either way, she's the girl I do adore.)

The Holy Ground

Fare thee well, my lovely Dinah, a thousand times adieu.
We are bound away from the Holy Ground and the girls we love so true.
We'll sail the salt seas over and we'll return once more,
And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more.

(Shouted) Fine girl you are!
(Sung) You're the girl that I adore. And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more.
(Shouted) Fine girl you are!

Now when we're out a-sailing and you are far behind
Fine letters will I write to you with the secrets of my mind,
The secrets of my mind, my girl, you're the girl that I adore,
And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more.


Oh now the storm is raging and we are far from shore;
The poor old ship she's sinking fast and the riggings they are tore.
The night is dark and dreary, we can scarcely see the moon,
But still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more.


It's now the storm is over and we are safe on shore
We'll drink a toast to the Holy Ground and the girls that we adore.
We'll drink strong ale and porter and we'll make the taproom roar,
And when our money is all spent we'll go to sea once more.


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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.

The earliest posts, at the very end of the blog, tell the story of the Great Farm, our purchase of a fragment of that farm, the renovation of the homestead and its populating with people and animals. Go all the way to the last post in the archive and read backwards from there to get it in chronological order.

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