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Saturday, May 25, 2013


For a while, seemed like all we were growing were flat tires--two on my van, one on the pickup, one on the tractor--but the farm is lush and beautiful with all the spring rain, and today looks like we're growing a wedding!

Nathalie and Ki have been a central part of the farm project, cooking, organizing potlucks, eating our produce, and Ki has been a big help putting up the hoop house.  And this afternoon, to the lilting
sound of Kathleen's harp, they were married in our pasture, a circle of mowed grass, shaded by an old oak.

Natalie was lovely, in a dress that looked like clouds and feathers, and Ki and Tom were decked out in dueling seersucker suits.  Friends, family, the farm band, rows of white chairs, Mary Oliver's poem about peonies. 

I'm thinking back thirty years to the start of all this--our own wedding on the front porch, with Jill and her All Boy Band for dancing after, and fireworks, and barbecue.  And last year, Katie, who was about three at our wedding, in a little white dress and a circlet of flowers in her hair, was married herself on the front porch. 

Dabbing at my eyes.  Darn allergy--must be the grass. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

This week: Friends of friends of daughters

Inja: While you are lolling around Southern California, we are having our token sprinkling of snow, just enough to count. A far cry from the old days when the ponds would freeze and we went sledding down the Ingle's driveway.

About your friends: The count is now 21. One of them called Tom, but, alas, I was not here, and he left no contact info. Please pass this along, where he may or may not read it--

Welcome to Sulphur Creek Farm--any friends, or friends of friends, of India are friends of ours. Her people tend to be quite self-reliant, so I have few concerns. I hear you're having dinner at Monell's--great place!--and will be rolling in afterwards. Here are your choices for bed and shelter:

Down at the farm shed/pasture, to the left of the drive: There is cold running water, a stove and space upstairs and down for sleeping bags. The--uh--composting toilet (it flatters this structure to call it such) requires beating a path through the grass to the right of the shed and very likely holding one's nose. If you choose this option, please keep the gate shut so the cows don't get in the garden. And be aware there is a pit at the back to the left--our developing water storage cistern. Use flashlights! The cat's name is Moko. Our current farmers are Eric, Dylan, and Loran, but none are living in the shed at this moment.

Pasture: Feel free to put up tents anywhere. Potential hazards: cow patties and the cows themselves, who might be curious. Do not fear--they are very gentle and won't hurt you. The dogs, Ollie and Balthazar Jack, might also be snuffling around. Also harmless.

Up at the house: We're fine with sleeping bags inside the house itself, but am not sure we can accomodate all. The pavilion is open to weather, but has a roof, and if you push the tables back, is pretty good size. There are also porches, front and back, and lawn. I think all the beds will be occupied by India's sister Rachel and her friends, who will also be visiting. The cottage is off limits, unless you make friends with Dylan, who is living there.

Welcome to bathrooms and kitchen. Tom is sometimes a bit crotchety mornings, but is a charming guy, you'll find. You will be dear to his heart if you admire the succulents and his New Zealand rocks. (Don't ask--all will become clear in good time.) I'll probably be off to the hospital. Wish I could have breakfast with you all.

Brenda B., aka India's mom
Sulphur Creek Farm and Hostel for Wandering Tribes

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mail Man, Bells Bend Style

Haven't seen much of our mailman, being as how he's on our road pretty much at exactly the same times that I am striding through the halls at Stallworth or Vanderbilt. 

Came home early during the holidays, though, and he followed me up our driveway.  The dogs rushed over, and so did I, reassuring him that they were harmless.  "I know, they're looking for their treats," he smiled.  "Here's yours, Jack, and yours, Ollie", tossing them dog biscuits. 

Dale, his name is, and he's been tending our mail for ten years, coming all the way up to the house to put packages on the back porch and spoil the dogs.   He doesn't drive one of those little square mail rigs--he has an ancient something, with a fanbelt and pulley system connecting the steering wheel to a wheel on the right side--the mailman side.  I don't know how the pedals are adapted.  He bought the car already changed over, and I now have many unanswered questions--mileage?  Does he ever unhook the pulley system and drive sitting on the left?  How ARE those pedals adapted? 

Kathleen heard my story and just laughed.  Just last week Dale brought EricTheFarmer's packages, all properly addressed to his place down on Cleece's Ferry, and left them at Kathleen's,  6 miles up the road, telling her to tell Eric that his mailbox was full.  What's a mother to do? 

A peripatetic local treasure I didn't even know.  Dale, this one's for you--you're too cool!