A deep breath…

I went down to the farm yesterday at 7:30 AM and didn’t come back until 2 PM, when I glanced at my watch and saw I was late to drive Jon to a medical appointment. I became aware I was pushing a little too hard when I peeled off my muddy coveralls and realized I was still wearing my pajamas, and hadn’t had anything to eat. This is the side of me that DH worries about. Every once in a while I lock into tunnel vision that forgets everything but getting the job done. Then I shake awake and find myself dehydrated, with low blood sugar, stunned with exhaustion, and weepy.

However, a lot got done yesterday. The men came and set the boards for the footers at 8 AM, and the concrete truck came at 11. img_3333

I had been so worried about those trenches I’d had trouble sleeping. Allen and I had met after work on Wednesday, re-dug the last trench and smoothed until dark. The 10′ laser stick had warped in the rain and I was afraid it wasn’t measuring accurately. Allen just waved his hand. “Will ya stop worryin’?” Still I’d felt sick. The concrete contractor would ask me on the telephone, “Are the trenches level to the inch?” It is amazingly difficult to level hardpan full of rocks and stones. I’d tried and tried, raked and raked. “Close enough,” said Allen. But I had a panicky feeling.

So I was unprepared for the jovial crew of long-haired men who swarmed all over the trenches in the rain, casually knocking together boards for the footings.

“Are the trenches OK?” I quavered.

“We’ll make ’em work!” a man said cheerfully.

This made me more nervous. However the footers were poured without incident. Here they are at the end of the day.

footers for the garage

footers for the garage

footer for the problematic mudroom wall

footer for the problematic mudroom wall

third time the charm?

third time the charm?

Meanwhile I spent the day struggling with the chicken house. My muscles still ached from the day before. However, after eight hours I had all the pieces disassembled, the broken nails and screws pulled, and the frame mostly rebuilt. (Some of the wood is looking a little battered by now.) I took the precaution of moving the coop parallel to the barn, in hopes that it would be less likely to catch the wind. With the change, one of its windows will be on the north face, but it can’t be helped. At the end of the day I sunk a t-post and tied a skid to it. With any luck it can’t tip again, and I can finish it today. I was going to say the work would go more slowly now, due to having to fit together small pieces of scrap plywood, but I guess one couldn’t go much more slowly than having to start over twice.

Luke wanted to work for me today from 9 to 5. I’ve been in such “emergency mode” for the past week that just the thought of another long day of pushing caused an inner wave of protest. I think he will work for me this afternoon instead. That will give me the morning to bake bread, fold the neglected piles of clean laundry, make beds, vacuum, wash the kitchen floor, and a thousand other things that will soothe my spirit. It’s terrible to walk in the door at the end of the day and feel the house reproaching you.

Finally, here’s Blackberry and her new lamb. I named her Lily, as she is speckled like the inside of that flower. She’s a purebred Clun (though unregisterable, as Blackberry isn’t registered). I’m hoping that the speckles are a baby thing that she outgrows, as they are a big no-no for Cluns. I mean to write to other Clun breeders to inquire, but haven’t yet had time.


That was a nice night. Blackberry is not a tame ewe and sitting with her in the dark, drying her baby with a towel, iodining the navel, and trying to get the lamb latched on to her swollen nipple, we all three got covered with amniotic fluid, blood, and milk. (I had to smile. Naturally it was the one time I wasn’t wearing my coveralls.) Blackberry was whickering deep in her throat, licking her baby, licking me. Very dear. No wonder I forgot the pesky chicken house!


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