6:39 AM. Sun is just coming up.
Normally, about this time, our resident tomcat Barron comes to the front door and starts scratching. He wants two things. First, a snuggle. He’s the only cat on the property, and since he and Libby (our Labrador) do not like each other, we are Barron’s only family. I found him a couple of years ago , in the median strip of a 4 lane highway about 2 miles from here. He was a half-grown kitten at the time. If I’d not stopped to rescue him, he would have been run over.
Which means he owes me his very life blood. 🙂
(Remember that scene from the Star Wars series? That creature with the big floppy ears)
Second thing he wants is to get fed. If I leave his food dish out over night, sure as heck, a raccoon or opossum will find it.
Here are some of the issues currently in the mix:
My Dad, New remodel at work, the Rat Invasion, The apple crop.
I’ll start with my dad. Dad is 86. Until a week ago, he was still driving. Mom and him would go out daily for lunch. They moved to town in May, after 50 plus years on the farm. Last Tuesday I got a call from my sister in the morning. Dad had fallen and was en route to the hospital. Pretty sure he’d broken his leg. (He did) Quite a bad break. Doctor told my dad and sister (who is a nurse) before going into surgery, there was a very real chance he might never be able to walk again. Surgery went better than expected. He will be able to walk, (will probably have a limp) but considering the alternative, that was very good news. My mom, was already scheduled for hip surgery before all of this happened. Looks like the two of them will both be using walkers in the near future. They are so thankful to be surrounded by a large network of extended family. That’s the sort of thing you don’t think about when you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, healthy, and living La-Vita Loca. (Living the crazy life.)
It has been so touching, humbling, encouraging, energizing, and inspiring to watch how different ones have stepped forward to use their individual talents to help out. One sister is a nurse. She spent the first several nights with dad @ the hospital. Another sister, has the gift of administration. Between the two of them, they have coordinated all of the communication between the various health care entities, rehab, scheduling who is available to drive when and where.
Wife and I have been staying overnight with mom, helping drive her to her various appointments, etc.
You may have already seen this action photo of the crew who helped move them in May:
Several of you have come to mind recently. (Marilyn, Val, and Di to be specific) All of you have had to say good-by to your mom within the past couple of years, and that thought has energized me to make the most of the time with both of my parents.
Work. I am in the middle of a large remodel. It has been a mixed bag. House is situated out in the middle of 40 acres of timber. Yesterday we could hear the walnuts falling. It continues to keep me physically fit, and it pays the bills. I get to work with my son on the project. He scheduled his work load to be available to help. Considering, I started taking him to work with me about the time he was 5…he is a gift to have on the crew. On the negative side of the ledger, we’ve just finished enduring almost 2 weeks of nonstop rain. Financially that cost me in rental equipment, and lost productivity. I saw some yellow fungus starting to grow on the side of house Monday. One of my new co-workers decided to not show up the day we set roof trusses (between rain showers, over the existing house) That ticked me off. His phone has been surgically attached to his hand so I know he could see me calling to find out where he was. He didn’t answer. That proverb about a faithful man…who can find? Yep, they are getting harder and harder to find.
The rat invasion
Normally I equate rats with an active farmstead with grain and fresh feed supplies..(we don’t have either) Well, when I got on my lawnmower 3 weeks ago, 4 large healthy rats came tumbling out of the mower deck. We have a lawnmower with a 6 foot deck.(the mower is in front rather than underneath.)
Creep-ed me out.
Two of them were as large as squirrels. I had noticed half a dozen holes around the perimeter of our red barn (rat activity) but never gave it any thought until that day. As I looked around the basement of the barn, I could see multiple spots where the rats had dug tunnels right up through the concrete floor. The thing is, the barn is less than 100 feet from our 110 year old farmhouse with a limestone foundation. Come winter, the last thing I want is for that horde to send some scouts over to our house. So, I bought a 9 pound pail of rat bait. It was gone in 3 days. Bought a second. Same thing. Talked to Dave @ the store, he recommended the more expensive stuff. I am on my 3rd 9 pound pail of super-duper, heavy-duty rat bait. At $50 plus dollars a pail, the novelty has worn off. (and one feeding is supposed to kill them)
There is definitely a life lesson in all of this for me.
And finally the Apple crop.
Another Japanese Beetle invasion decimated 80% of our Gingergold and Honey Crisp apple crop this season. Each female beetle can lay up to 60 eggs in the fall. Last season, I thought..it couldn’t get any worse.
Well, it did.
Japanese Beetles on a Ginger gold apple
(I think they look like Christmas tree ornaments.)
Japanese beetles on peaches 2018
We did manage to save 2 bushel of peaches. Bartered for some peach wine, and peach pies from the neighbors.
In spite of the rats, the beetles, the no-shows at work, and the rain, I have a remarkably flippant, detached attitude most of the time. I can trace it right back to a book my dad gave me when I was 14. He said to me, “Junior, you need to read this book.”
It changed the trajectory of my life.
Not saying I’m on my game 100% of the time…but can’t imagine what life would feel like to just focus on the nasty.
Well, time for me to wrap it up.
Bus leaves in 45 minutes. DM