5/20/2006

Outfitting The Farm

Nothing lasts forever, of course, and after a month or so that first ice storm ended and the weather turned distinctly warmer, with the temperatures often reaching into the 70s. I was ecstatic, full of renewed energy and a thousand different plans for the farm. I eagerly stripped off the many layers of clothing I was afraid had become a permanent part of my body, thrilled to be moving about without the restraints of three extra inches of cotton and wool. Hats, gloves, and scarves--necessities for even the briefest trip outdoors--were tossed off with gleeful abandon, and boxes of heavy sweaters were hastily packed up, to be stored away until some hazy date too far in the future to imagine.

Summer is here, I told my husband, as California did not truly have a spring, and so I was unaware of its existence. The animals noticed the sudden warmth, too. The dog lay unmoving in the grass, legs and head stretched out as far as possible so as to allow every inch of fur to be penetrated by the sun. The indoor cats began to protest loudly if the sun had risen and we hadn't yet pulled back the curtain from the window at the head of the bed. Once open, the four of them would race to the top of the pillow pile, each quickly trying to asume the warmest, most heat-drenched spot before the others. Then the elaborate settling down ritual would begin, arranging paws and ears so that no part would be in shadow. Often this would necessitate the cramming of face and legs directly against the glass, thereby ensuring the utmost of solar benefits.

But while the animals were ready for a toasty nap, I was raring to go, and so we headed to the Big City (population 9,600) to hunt for equipment and supplies.

"Lovely weather!" could be heard wherever we went. Everyone was happy and warm, and there was a rush to buy seeds and rakes and even tiny seedling plants. The man who sold used tillers was completely wiped out of inventory.

"I may have two available soon," he said, gesturing toward a rusty pile of parts laying on the ground out back. We asked how much; we were desperate. Maybe he'd put us on some sort of tiller waiting list.

"One-fifty to two hundred. I don't like to go above two hundred," he said, but offered nothing beyond that.

We pointed to the fifty or so riding mowers parked around us like some sort of lawn tractor trainyard.

"What about these?" If we couldn't till, we could at least cut the grass.

"All repairs," he answered, looking up at us with an ever-so-slight smile on his face. No wonder he didn't bother with a tiller waiting list.

We left his shop without leaving our name, bemoaning our fate as we drove down the road. Here it was practically the heart of the gardening season already, and we had no tiller. We couldn't afford to buy a new one, and obviously every used tiller within miles had already been snapped up. We were do distraught that we took a wrong turn--and then another and another--and were soon hopelessly lost. Just what we needed, we said. Tillerless and lost. What had we done to deserve this?

But then we saw it. A bright white tiller sitting in a front yard and wearing a little sign, For Sale $75.00. We were saved! A screech of brakes and shouts of joy. A few wrods, a short demonstration, and within minutes our new used tiller was strapped down in the pack of the pickup. The guy even threw in directions back to the highway for free. We headed home, visions of juicy, ripe tomatoes dancing in our heads.

But then the unthinkable occurred. It got cold again. It didn't happen overnight; it sneaked up on us.

"High only 50 today," the forecasters would say. We ignored them. But then the ice hit, proving, for the first time of what would be many, that the most predictable thing about the weather in Missouri is its unpredictability. We were forced to reconsider our position on the seasons. The tiller was relegated to the barn, and I went looking for those boxes of heavy sweaters.

Copyright 2006 FarmgirlFare.com

6 Comments:

Anonymous Candy said...

Well dont stop now! :) Excellent reading and writing I am enjoying every installment. Thanks!

6/01/2006 7:15 AM  
Anonymous Beverley, UK said...

Darn you woman!! That was way too short, I had settled in for the ride. Like Candy, I am loving this side attraction too!

6/01/2006 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Felice said...

I'm hooked on reading your farm history and ongoing daily happenings. Iit's become a highlight of my mornings to "tune in" for the next installment. I usually share these episodes with my husband at dinnertime. He's interested because he used to have a farm with animals here in Maine. Somehow his stories don't sound nearly as exciting and fun as yours. Thanks so much for all your time and efforts. The reward is ours.

6/01/2006 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Kristin said...

Thanks Susan. I am already looking forward to tomorrow when I may steal another glance at the farm - past or present.

6/01/2006 8:41 AM  
Blogger janelle said...

Hi Susan,
I am also a newly hooked reader! by way of posie gets cozy blog. I love reading your stories about the farm. . I have lived all over the country, but more recently moved from brooklyn to philly. . .I once lived in northwest arkansas in the somewhat country, and I know far too well about those march-you think it might be spring soon-ice storms. . too many times we had outages, with no power, heat, and iced into our long dirt driveway! Can't wait to read the next installment!

6/01/2006 10:16 AM  
Blogger Jade said...

I could just see it coming -- that getting lost would lead you to find the tiller. Funny how those things work out. I am also awaiting the next installment. . . .

6/01/2006 11:16 AM  

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