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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mushrooms! Mud!

ETF's highly successful mushroom workshop brought 14 folks out to learn how to drill fresh oak logs, pack the spawn, wax, and stack--ours are stacked by the creek so next fall they can easily be soaked to trigger fruiting.

Of course, Eric and his friend Ben spent LAST weekend sawing down the trees, cutting them up into logs, and hauling them out of the woods. At one point, I hear, ETF harnessed himself to several hundred pounds of logs loaded into a (durable) kayak, to sled it out of the woods across the mud. ETF himself wound up loaded onto his futon for a couple of days nursing some seriously pulled muscles.

Nothing is as simple as it should be.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


An explosion of light over the hill this morning--it's been a long time, and we eagerly seek out small signs of spring. In Europe, people would be taking chairs outside, to lean back against a southern wall and just sit in the sun for a while.

We still have a thin frosting of snow here and there: under the cedar trees, in the shadow of the bluff behind Billy Johnson's house, and tiny patches on the north side of every cow patty, a festive polkadot pattern across the pasture.

So--a bit of sun, and I am instantly looking forward to ripe tomatoes and zucchini. Yes, I know they are still months away, but a person can dream, can't she?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Art. Again.

Well, since I did Don's portrait (see post about Movie Night), he did mine a couple of weeks ago when we got together to draw in his barn/studio on Little Marrobone Road.

So here it is. Proof, should you require it, that all is not farmwork out here in Davidson County's far West.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Winter Freeze

We are slowly emerging from snow and a deep freeze: today is dreary slush with the constant dripping sound, from every leaf, gutter, and fence.

Our bedroom birdfeeder has become the focus of a cadre of fluffed-up starlings, cardinals, doves, and sparrows, who all sit motionless in the birch tree, staring at us through the window. The starlings--not my favorite birds, foreign bullies that they are--are particularly ominous, tiny thugs hunched in their black overcoats, metallic green glinting off their necks, those little yellow eyes focused unblinkingly, demanding only the best black oil sunflower seed. The cardinals, on the other hand, are positively ornamental, thoughtlessly cheerful, crests tilting back and forth curiously.

The ghost-cat--known only from unconfirmed sightings of a pale shadow slipping behind the old smokehouse--has actually been seen huddled under the vent on the back steps, but raced off as soon as the door cracked open. During the snowstorm I also caught a glimpse, white on white, a soft ribbon of life trotting across the disappearing grass.

Our old Kubota and Tom have been hauling round bales of hay to the feeder in the back pasture.

Inside, around the kitchen table, the endless discussions continue: which varieties, seed orders, hoop house or no hoop house, and if so how big, budgets, manure spreaders or no manure spreaders. Etc. Etc. These conversations, at least, are brightly perennial, even in a frozen February.