Monday, July 19, 2010

Dispatch From Piqua

Arrived late Saturday night, July 3. Bad crash just north of Chattanooga had us sitting in traffic not moving on I-75 for 2 hours.

Reunion at Julie and Steve's in Athens, Ohio, July 4. All were there save for 2 nephews and a sister-in-law. Great food, great games, pretty good fellowship. And quite sad. Mom's absence, for me, was abundantly and palpably present. Or, rather, her presence was absent in the most fundamental way. Still working through that.

Lots of mowing and pruning of apple, cherry (I think) and peach trees. The tractor did everything I asked it to do. Eventually.

My 1/2-mile easement to the house is riddled with blackberry bushes with the most sweet candy-like berries.

Moon Pie dog was completely and totally in her element.

Jess came over Monday the 5th to help with the new chainsaw, a magnificent Stihl that's a treat to use. 4 killed. We ended up visiting for nearly 5 hours. A good visit. Al came over the following Wednesday. I was having a bad morning. He planned on working, but I was so tired we just talked for about an hour or so.

Thought about mom and dad nearly the whole time.

Met my neighbor who has farmed the property surrounding me on the west, north and east sides for 32 years, a Mr. Tom Hill. Seems like a good man, though far too young to have farmed for 32 years, unless, of course, he started when he was 10.

Lots of foraging for fuel for my (future) wood burning stove to survive the winter. Unprompted, Mr. Hill said he would consider it a favor to him if I were to keep his woods surrounding his tillable land free of fallen and dying trees. It's times like that, with Jess standing right there next to me, when faith in Jesus H. Christ gets in the way of my atheism. I've already apologized to him many times for calling His Father an Incompetent Asshole.

Got back down here yesterday, Sunday, around 6 in the evening. It felt, and feels, strange to me. Different. Almost... unfaithful, if you will.

All in all, the 2 weeks were filled with anxiety, excitement, fear, sadness, loss, and a moment or 2 of strict clarity. I plan on being up there permanently before Labor Day.


tia said...

Did I mention that I have a small but perfectly good wood stove you're welcome to? You figure out how to get it to Piqua and it's all yours.

And hey, is that a picture of your own tomaters?

bright said...

July 3 is when that insane heat wave hit us...hmmmmm.......

(nice tomatoes!)

((captcha: punvide!))

Schmutzie said...

"Honey, remember that guy who started the back 40 and his lawn mower on fire this Easter?"


"I told him he could burn the dead trees from our woods."

"You told him WHAT?"

"Provided that he cuts them up into small chunks and he puts them in a nice fireplace, or wood burning stove."

"He's gonna clear the brush, like GW?"

"Yep, and he's not even going to charge us."


"Not only that, he gave me these tomatoes, and he told me that he plans to give me more tomatoes, and wants to know if you like tomatoes. I told him you do, and he said that we should consider him our official tomato guy."

"That's nice."

"Gotta dog too. Catches groundhogs."

"Are they good tomatoes?"

"They look pretty nice to me."

Keifus said...

"Welcome back" hardly seems appropriate. Go back soon? Welcome back to the electronic ether anyway.

You've got me on Jayber Crow, incidentally. Berry is a beautiful writer.

switters said...

tia, yes those are my tomatoes. They're the prettiest tomatoes I've ever grown. No cracked crowns. I think it was the compost. How much does the stove weigh? Can we ship it? Though Vermont is beautiful this time of year, all that underwear.

bright, it was hot and humid, but nothing compared to down here. And there was always a breeze sweeping over the bean fields. It's the miserable winters I'm afeared of.

smut, when Al and I were visiting, his boy texted him, and when Al was texting him back, I said, "Are you drunk?" He said, "What?" I said, "Are you drunk?" He said, "What are you talking about?" I said, "This commercial on my TV says that when you text, you're drunk, like you've had 5 beers." He paused, then laughed. I think he's the only one who gets my jokes sometimes.

Keif, I'm much relieved to hear that. For a trilogy, I'd recommend A Place On Earth, and then Hannah Coulter. I just ordered The Memory Of Old Jack, Andy Catlett, and A World Lost. I'll let you know how that turns out. Also, keep in mind I'm going to be heating the crawl space and cellar with baseboard heaters to protect the water pipes. How can I stick it to the man with regard to my electric bill? (For you as well, smut.)

Cindy said...

This all sounds juicy.

The journey, the destination, the neighbors, the dog, the family and the losses we all carry with us.

I feel like I'm standing with a group of folks around your campfire in a dark, cold, clear night.

Do keep the wood piled high, okay? I like being here, and the warmth feels good.

Keifus said...

In my house the basement is deep and technically livable, and I have baseboard heat. The big plumbing umbilical to the kitchen was embedded in a big cavity, however, insulated against everything but the outside wall. After the pipes froze, my clever strategy was to build a bar, and I put a long vent in the soffit over it so the house could keep the pipes warm. Prolly not a solution in your place.

Annoyingly, sticking it to the man seems to have a really high capital cost. (Heating tape and pipe insulation has got to be better than a space heater though. They sell that for domestic use?) Wind turbine, solar panels, or solar heater has got to cost big $$. Burning anything for electricity for home heating (assuming they make generators that run on arbitrary fuels) kinda highlights the silliness of that energy cycle.

Matt said...

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Growing Tomatoes In Containers