Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Farm Progress

Gosh it has been a busy month. I said that last time I posted here too. So  many  details. We finished up the school year on Sunday. Yes, Sunday. The end was in sight, and when it was she went full steam ahead. It wasn't a stellar close to the year, mostly due to my preoccupation with other things, but we did get a whole lot of learning packed in. To have every day lessons off of my plate feels pretty darn good. I plan to have her cumulative report in by the end of the week and so ends third grade. I haven't any fourth grade plans and papers to submit because it will be our last year with the Prairie Spirit S.D. I haven't even looked in to procedures for Battle River but I assume it will be somewhat the same.

I have barely begun the arduous task of packing up a household. I will be very discriminating at what gets to come along and what will simply have to find a new home. Paul, on the other hand, wants to keep everything for that just in case scenario. I'm packing so guess who gets to decide? Heehee. I'd love to pack up his hockey equipment and take it to Goodwill but he has already been asked to play!

(Athena's poster)
We had a massive garage sale where we sold all of the agreed upon "not coming" items. We sold our bedroom furniture which we have had for 30 years! We have our clothes in baskets and on shelves in the closet. Our new home has a walk in closet with double shelves above the hanger rod so there will be plenty of room for everything. I have about a third of the clothes that Paul has so my side will be nice and tidy. :)

It has not been as hard as I imagined to let go of this place. I LOVE this house. It is not fancy in the least but it is practical and homey and has everything we need and more. The yard has been a pain in the you know what because of the towering spruce trees. Hard to grow anything. Oddly enough it is those very spruce trees I will miss the most.

We took down Athena's play centre and stacked all the lumber. Paul will use it out at the farm. Athena helped her Dad all day, working with a power drill for the first time and measuring and marking for a new project they are working on together. He rewarded her efforts with a multi tool/jack knife of her own. She practiced whittling some wood and although it made me a bit nervous she was happy as could be.

Two years ago I planted a quaking aspen in our front yard. A little slip of a tree really. Barely 5 feet high. I chose it because it is one of my favorite kinds. (next to birch, maple and oaks) It leafed out last week and it is so cute. Our farm is filled with them. Literally thousands of aspens. Good trade. We may name it Aspen Ridge or Aspen Rise or Aspen something. It is looking more wonderful by the week. Paul has been up there every week for months.

We are heading up there on Thursday. There is an auction going on at the next acreage. 3 lots sold, unreserved! He is hoping to get a chance to bid on another lot, perhaps with more pasture, just in case a milk cow or two get added somewhere along the way. Athena and I are going up to plant a few rows of corn and a couple rows of potatoes, along with rhubarb, raspberries and her special rose bush we named the Athena rose. It has been doing poorly here in our yard so we are going to try a new spot for it. It is a climber which hasn't climbed more that a foot in three years. Stunted. Poor thing.

Paul got a farm truck over the weekend. An old '86 Chev half ton, aptly named Rusty now sits in front of the house. $500 and it runs great. He also picked up a giant Massey Ferguson tractor over the weekend. It has a bucket, a blade and a cultivator as well. He'll be taking it back there on Saturday and on Monday, the house gets to make her way up north to her permanent home. I am not sure if I will go to witness that, but he will be there for sure. Power is being installed on site as I type this and our well is being drilled too. If it weren't for Paul's diligence on calling and calling and calling these people we would not be so far along.

The movers come on June 24th to take everything away. Martha's kittens will be born just the week before, if she is pregnant, that is. I still can't tell except for the fact she hasn't been in heat for 6 weeks. I kind of hope that she isn't as it would be much easier not to have a box full of kittens crawling around as we drive up there.

(breakfast in her dog costume, of course)
It is getting very close. I still can't believe it is happening. I am looking forward to the quiet and the work. Nothing feels better than to be tired and sore and dirty from a hard day's work. The beer tastes that much better, the food much more satisfying, the shower feels that much more refreshing and sleep comes easily and deeply.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Over the Fence

google images
Days are turning into weeks and passing by so quickly and at the same time they are moving too slowly. My mind feels numb with details on some days and blank with the "in between living" on others. Maybe you know what I am talking about maybe you think I am nuts. Maybe I am nuts these days. It sure feels like it sometime. For instance, I sent my mom some flowers and put her street number on the form with a street name that she hasn't lived at in a long time. Oh well. Maybe it is the stress of the building/moving or maybe it is menopause or maybe a little bit of both. My yoga mat is calling me in not so subtle of ways and I am not heeding its call. I'll do it tomorrow, I always say and then I say it again the next day. But... this past week I have been witness to some beautiful things over the fence.

google images
On Saturday our neighbors son and his girlfriend go married in their back yard. The guys got ready across the street and the girls got ready at the neighbors house. Mostly I think the men drank beer and the women primped. I was on our deck when things got underway and thinking it was too intrusive to peek over the fence, I went upstairs and watched discreetly through my bedroom window. The celebrant stood on the lawn, the men stood in a row with black jeans and purple golf shirts. The bride walked up behind her bridesmaids and the couples two toddler sons ran around in Mrs. Busby's newly planted garden. The whole thing lasted 5 minutes tops. There was no music, no "churchy" stuff, no pomp and circumstance. It was one of the nicest weddings ever. Short and sweet and fire up the grill!

That same afternoon a real miracle occurred. Our elderly neighbor across the street FINALLY got rid of the junk car he was meaning to fix which had been sitting for 5 years in half of the driveway. He told me since we were moving away it wasn't going to be quite as fun keeping it without me bugging him about it all the time. What I really think was the reason was Mrs. Olson said "It's that stupid car or me. One of us has to go!" He chose wisely. Athena spent a good part of the afternoon planting peas and beans with them and of course had to have an iced tea break halfway through. They will miss her and she, them.

google images
On Sunday, perhaps the most beautiful thing of all, on the other side of the fence a few doors down I heard some sawing and hammering going on. As I stood to look over I saw Athena's friend Tyler in the yard with Step Dad and Birth Dad. The boy asked if he could help with the project and Step Dad said to ask Dad. And Birth Dad showed his son how to sand a board. "Speed comes later, after you have learned properly. Go slowly, take your time." And the rest of the afternoon the Two and A Half Men worked side by side. It stood out to me as quite lovely that these broken families can get along so well in ways that benefit the child so much. It was very uncommon and I took note.

And of course Sunday was Mother's Day. We got together with two our three adult daughters for lunch. All the little girls sat at their own table which was not next to ours. They were very good and very thrilled about the whole thing. Truth be told, little Josie, the youngest of the four, was best behaved. My other daughter may have come but she is at home growing us another granddaughter who is due sometime this month. Lots of girls in this family. Lots of girls means lots of laughter and LOTS of talking. Notice the men in their little corner talking about boring man stuff. It was a wonderful weekend in so many ways!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Not What I Bargained For

What a glorious weekend we had here in Central Saskatchewan. The sun shone brightly and now so does my neck. I am an avid sunscreen user but it seems so odd to use sunscreen when there are still little patches of snow in shady spots.

We spent most of the weekend outside enjoying the warm weather. Almost too warm, but I am not complaining. Saturday found us meeting up with our daughters family and perusing the annual Montgomery Garage Sale for hidden treasure. I spent 75 cents. Woohoo! I guess my mind was thinking, as I examined each thing I picked up, was "Do I really want to pack this up and transport it to our new home?" Clearly the answer continued to be "No."  Still, walking around with my kids and their kids was so nice.

Sunday we headed out to the farm. We like to call it the farm as that is what it will one day be when we get the chickens and the goats. Who knows? Maybe a cow one day. This is only the second time I have seen the land and the first without snow. What an exciting day! We had a bit of trouble with the trailer swaying behind the truck. Paul brought up a shed package that he bought from Costco and a trampoline for little Miss A. It took us a bit longer than expected and we were 5 minutes late for an appointment with the law office to sign papers. Only in small town Saskatchewan would someone meet us on a Sunday to do so. I was very appreciative of that.

Paul was meeting a guy up there to discuss building a road and he had to figure something out in the basement for another guy. Sump pit I think. Athena and I pulled on our rubber boots and away we went, traversing the property.

We made several observations:

  •  There are literally hundreds of wild rose bushes
  • Acres of Saskatoon berries
  • Pussy willow all over the place
  • Aspens, poplars, birch and maple.
  • Alpine strawberries
And that is just what I could identify without anything being in leaf yet. But the biggest delight of all is that we found not one, but two babbling brooks, one on either side of the land. We followed them down all the way where there was a little waterfall with a pool and on the other side it flowed down to a little pond with cattails growing in it. Oh joy. We hadn't bargained for water. Now we can get a duck or two!

The land seemed to go on forever, as far as the eye could see. I was awestruck that this belonged to us. I can't believe after all of these long years of wanting to live in the country that my dream was manifest. I still get goosebumps when I think of it.

Athena wished we could just move here right now and I wondered aloud how I was ever going to get her inside to do her school work. She said I could find her playing at the waterfall. Of course I would.

Now for the not so great news. We found an awful lot of this:

If you know anything about animal scat, you will know that it belongs to this guy:

I suppose having all those Saskatoons is what brings him here. Oh dear. Didn't count on that. We also found deer prints, moose prints and all the scat that goes with that. We found coyote poop too, riddled with fur. At the back of the land we found evidence of a deer kill. Dried hide with fur. Pieces the size of a dinner plate. Exciting stuff for a kid and her mama nature lover.

On our way home, tired from the two hours of walking up and down hill and vale, I pondered what I was going to do about the bears. Any advice?