Spent an hour and 1/2 moving wood chips with my brother’s skid loader yesterday.

We had a thunderstorm sometime in the middle of the night.  I vaguely remember stumbling out of bed and unplugging the computer.  Even with a surge protector on, we’ve lost two  computers so I’m not taking any chances. 🙂

When I looked out the window this morning  I could still see standing water in the tracks and tear marks from my multiple trips through the orchard.

It won’t take long for the ground to heal.  The tracks will fade.

I noticed a new gopher mound by the pile of mulch yesterday. I wondered if he’d found something tasty under that pile of chips and leaves.  Up until now, gophers  still get a free pass.  Means my soil is getting aerated.   The moles too, have free run of the place. Tunneling, burrowing and churning the soil.  I love the feel of wildness.  I am not one of those people who has to mow in a certain direction, so everything looks just so.

I am on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I am a farm boy, with an independent bent.

We moved to the country when I was nine.  Didn’t realize how much of an influence the sights and  smells of farm life were seeping into me until years later.

To this day, the sweet smell of  my neighbors curing hay stirs within me the desire to bale hay.  I can still hear the sound of our metal elevator, the “thump” as another square bale headed up the incline into the mow.

That was my favorite job.

Mowing bales.

The hotter the better.

Drenched with sweat,  It was a matter of honor to keep up with whomever  was unloading the wagon.  Sometimes dad would have us sprinkle salt on a load of hay- “Too help it cure he said, and keep the barn from burning down.” He said.

Eventually, after thousands of bales, we would reach the opening on the barn roof that the elevator was poking through.    That meant I could ride to the ground between loads.

You haven’t lived until you’ve felt the cool breeze against the sweat of your body, just after mowing hay, on a hot humid day in July, with the temps in the upper 90’s…  your body covered with chaff…

We never had a thermometer in the haymow, but I’m sure it would have been well over a hundred.

Simple times.

Simple pleasures.


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5 Responses to Wildness

  1. It rained the most between 3 and 5:30 am. Smarty me set my alarm and I beat it up anxious to make more jam I suppose.

  2. Jon says:

    DM, I enjoyed your recollections of haying as a boy and appreciation of the God-given pleasures and satisfactions of manual labor.

    Our barn had a fair amount of hay in it when we bought our place. Its pedigree was unknown to me and it had been there long enough that the hemp twine had long succumbed to little chewers. I figured that I could at least use it for mulch in the garden. Alas! It seems to also have been contaminated with Canada thistle seed. Now the battle is on. This summer my garden lays dormant under large sheets of 4-mill black plastic as I attempt to starve those hellish weeds of sunlight. I learned early on that pulling them only causes them to produce more in a hydra-like manner. No depth of mulch seems able to discourage them. I am reluctant to spray my garden with herbicides since I want to eat the produce. They are not that effective against thistle anyway. – Jon

  3. Laura says:

    Sounds like heaven to me.

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