Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Flip Side

The beautitul weather has kept me from posting anything for the last few days. This time of year, when you get 70 degree days, you simply don't stay in the house. But this flipflopping weather we have in this area this time of year can be a real aggravation, too. We went from having real winter temps to springtime, literally overnight. It is almost like there is someone sitting on a cloud up in the sky with a remote, flipping the weather on and off. It's hot, it's cold, it's hot, it's cold...rain, drought, hurricane, ice storm, heatwave,brrrrrrrrrrrr. That really makes it hard to adjust to the season. I have tried to put away my summer clothes three times and finally have just given up. Save me the trouble of hauling them out in March, I guess.

Of course, the very nature of simple living prescribes cutting down on one's wardrobe but it is really hard to do that in a place that has such changable weather so much of the time. We lived in the Pacific Northwest where the weather is pretty much the same year round, except for the rainy season, so nobody has seasonal clothes. I loved not having to decide what to wear every day...just opened the closet and pulled something out. Living there was a great lesson in learning that you don't have to have something to wear for every day, occasion, weather event, etc. And it everybody is very relaxed about what they wear. In fact, I don't think I saw anyone wearing a tie in all the years we lived there.

While the weather was nice this week, we took advantage of the time to get some of the more mundane chores done around the farm. When things are really busy around the Farm, there are lots of things that just get pushed to the side for when you aren't busy. If you are the kind of person who has to have everything "just so" around the house, do not get into farming. There are lots of times that things don't get done for weeks, if they are things that can wait. There is a lot of "weighing the consequences of inaction" around here.

For example, we just now had time to put the water barrels in the barn. We use 55 gallon drums to spot water the garlic that was planted back in November and since there was no rain coming, we had to water the rows before mulching them. Since we didn't know when it would rain we chose to leave the watering barrels in the field. Fortunately, it finally did shower enough recently and so it was time to bring the barrel trailor in and unload it, so we can use it for some other projects. Which leads to the next project.

We live on a very old farm and there is lots and lots of detris that was left behind over the years. Back in the "good old days" you didn't throw away anything that might be useful later. The motto "reuse, rebuild, reclaim, recycle" is nothing new to farmers. It is like a litany to them.

Since going to town was a 2 hour each way mule ride hanging onto things was a matter of prudence. (The Farmer's great grandparents, whose farm was across the road from this farm, never owned a car and never learned to drive.) If the plow broke, no work got done so it had to be fixed. Unless the damage required welding or other major repair, the farmer fixed it himself. Having spare parts to glean through was a necessity.

Unfortunately, all those old tractor parts and other items start to collect over the years and since they are generally outmoded and useless, they need to go. But we can't just throw them away, since there might be something useful after all, so each item has to be considered. There are 4 outbuildings here on the farm that have everything from old black cast iron wash pots (with holes in them...) to an ancient machine that resembles a lawnmower. Many of these items are now considered "farm antiques" and have value, so we can't just haul them to the dump.

We have been working on clearing out these buildings for nearly 7 years now, gradually and when we have time. And we also use them for storage of our own farm equipment, etc. which makes it harder, because we have to work around our own stuff. Plus, I refuse to work in any of these buildings when it is warm enough for spiders and wasps to be active. Someday, I envision those buildings cleared out but I may never live to see that day....but its okay if it happens and okay if it doesn't. Priorities have to be realistic on a farm and those old sheds and their contents have been sitting there for close to 40 years. Guess they have never been high up on anybody's list...