Monday, November 4, 2013

Busy bees

It's been a busy couple of weeks for us, even busier than our normal hectic schedule.

It all began, of course, last Christmas, when Aimee made it clear that she was hoping for the long-planned extension to get built this year. The result has been that every other job has gotten short shrift. There are only so many hours in a day and days in a week. Seasonal farming activities that would normally take days have had to be trimmed to hours, sometimes short minutes.

The biggest loser turned out to be the garden, which has been, essentially, neglected since late July. But more on that later. This latest fortnight of hectic-ness started last Thursday with the preparation for the Maine Association for Search and Rescue's second annual Search Team Leader Course. I was one of the two co-founders of this event, and the primary host, and so this wasn't something that I could skip out on, even though I would much have preferred to use the weekend spent running the training on finishing up the trim work in the new extension. The course went well, and you will eventually see some pictures on the Unity College SAR team website. (I'm still waiting to get them from the official photographer.) I was limping with arthritis for several days thereafter, though the result of some very hard hiking after a fall in which I haven''t even really walked the dogs because of work on the extension. It didn't help that I'd spent much of the previous weekend on my knees laying the floor.

So I lost a whole weekend and most of my spare time in two whole work weeks to the SAR training, so nothing happened to the extension in that period except for Aimee's shower tiling job, which has proceeded very slowly. The quality, however, is very high, and we are both pretty happy with the effect so far.

My gimp went away slowly during the work week after the STL course, and by Friday I was walking more or less normally. Saturday saw us off to Scarborough, albeit not the one in Yorkshire with the famous fair of old folk songs, but the one in Maine that, with South Portland, is home to the largest shopping area in the state. There's a store that specializes in unfinished furniture, and Aimee wanted a vanity from there for the new bathroom. This was the kind of three-hundred mile round trip shopping expedition that is quite normal for Americans, but which British people simply don't understand. We had to take my battered Ford wagon because our truck is still on the fritz with a torched transmission, and Aimee doesn't drive a stick and so couldn't drive the Escort herself. Aimee compensated me for my lost time in the car, by helping me harvest and put up the spuds. We managed to get about 150 pounds lifted and into the basement root cellar before it got dark Saturday.

Next weekend is already scheduled up with a college event. Sunday, therefore, was the only day available in which we could clean up farm equipment from the dooryard to allow the snowplow to come by, finish cleaning out the barn, put the garden to bed, and put the ram in with the ewes. Normally we would have chosen to spread these chores out over the course of three or even four weekends, but that wasn't going to happen. By cutting corners and working fast, I managed all three chores in one day. We did have a little difficulty with one of the two little ewe-lambs that are too young to be bred. She did not want to go into the barn to be separated from the others and we finished up chasing her, then cajoling her, through the door.

The upshot of all this rather frantic activity is that I'm beginning to feel caught up.

But my arthritis has also flared up again, so I'll be limping around campus all week again.

Poor old man. If you'd have managed to convince me when I was young that all that running and hiking would result in this much pain when I was older, I think I might have taken it a little easier. But back then I was bulletproof.

Now I'm just bullet-headed.

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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.

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