Friday, September 23, 2011

Salad Bowl

A quick trip out to the garden yielded a plethora of late-season salad makings. Doesn't get any fresher than this!

Taking the Long View

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now.  
~Chinese Proverb

Ten October Glory Maple trees planted last week along the curve of our driveway...ten years from now we are hoping they will form a beautiful alleyway leading up to our house. We're taking the long view; but in the short term, we are hauling five-gallon buckets of water out to them.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Please welcome my guest blogger today: Ed Galloway

“Except as a fellow handled an ax, they had no way of knowing a fool.”  

– Robert Frost, “Two Tramps in Mudtime”

I have a lot of shortcomings; just ask my wife or children.  Some of them even I recognize.

One shortcoming is being too ready to judge people based on their formal education or the way they talk – people who know how things work, who work with their hands, people who actually make things – even though, or maybe because, that’s where I came from.

Trying to learn what I need to know on Dover Road, I now know what it feels like to be on the other end of that position.  Recently, I went to a used farm equipment auction to see about buying a tractor. The auction took place in a field. There were several hundred attendees. It was hot. There was no shade. There were hundreds of items for sale, only a very limited number of which could I even identify.

“Oh, look, there’s a nice garden disk.”

“A garden disk?  No, that’s a post-hole digger lying on its side.”

There was a clean New Holland tractor about the size I wanted, even though I didn’t know how to start it, much less what all those levers and pedals were for. To prove my sense of these thing (and fortunately), the bidding on it started about where I was going to stop.

Anyway, my point is every one of the people there (little kids included) knew more about the equipment than I did. And everyone that I talked to was kind to me despite my abysmal ignorance (although I expect that they get a good laugh when I move on).  My esteem for these folk is great and growing. I know that if I pay attention to what I’m told I’ll learn something, and I’m learning to go easy on the prejudgments.

And so it goes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We’ve Been Busy

It’s been nearly a year since I published my first blog post on Farm Dover – and much has happened in those 12 months. 

Ed and I have gone from a wish and a list to feeling at home here. We’ve packed up our house on Calumet and moved 30 miles to our place in the country; built a lake (twice) and stocked it with fish; planted tulips and daffodils to greet us in the Spring; harvested kale, corn, tomatoes, herbs, pepper and beans from our first garden; planted an orchard, maples, an oak, a sycamore and two willow trees; said goodbye to Aunt Gladys; learned how to chainsaw, to can to beekeep; been (continually) amazed by the critters and weeds; welcomed Maggie back to Louisville, gotten Mary settled in a first apartment and wished Jack great success with his teaching year in Germany; travelled to Madison, Baltimore, France, NYC, Montreal, Juniper and Arowhon Pines.

It’s been a good year. Good, but busy. 

Even in the midst of the busyness, we've still found time everyday to enjoy the peace, the quiet, the visits from friends, the breeze on the back porch, the sunrises, the sunsets, and especially, each other.   

Monday, September 12, 2011

Make Way for Turklings

On Friday afternoon Ed and I made our way into downtown Shelbyville for lunch and a few errands. We parked the truck on Main Street and walked up one side to the Post Office before turning around and walking down the other side to a little cafe for lunch and a strawberry shake.

Along the way we stopped in two antique shops. Now, as you must know by now, I've spent the last two years getting rid of "antiques" and trying hard to keep our new home from too much "country" clutter. Nevertheless, it was fun to poke around these shops, looking at crocks, cast iron skillets and corn bread pans, old kitchen utensils, fishing lures, and out-of-print books.

While Ed was checking out the serious fiction (coming up with a first edition of Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn) I gravitated to the children's books, picking up a well-worn copy of Make Way for Ducklings, a picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey and winner of the 1942 Caldecott Medal. I have always loved the charcoal illustrations and the story of traffic being stopped in downtown Boston for Mama Duck and her eight ducklings to cross safely into the island lagoon, where they meet up with Papa Duck and live happily ever after.

The story's scene of the crossing of the ducks on the road was recreated for me this morning. As I walked down our drive, a Mama wild turkey and her 11 turklings crossed the road in single file and disappeared into the brush. Just as the 11th one was entering the tree line, Mama Turkey circled back out and got in line behind him/her, just to make sure they all ended up where she wanted them.

Once I got up to the place where they entered, they took flight – not exactly the most graceful thing I've seen.

I can only hope they make their home on our farm and live happily ever after.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lonesome Dove

I wish you could see us now. It is late Monday afternoon. The temperature has dropped 35 degree since this time yesterday. The clouds are hanging dark and low across our bush hogged fields. Summer has up and disappeared.

Ed and I drove out in our Ranger (think golf cart but without the place for golf clubs). We park underneath the big old tree that we've been working around to clear the brush and briars.

We unload two canvas chairs, our books, binoculars, and a single loaded shotgun. We've come hunting for doves -- all of whom have cleared out once they saw us in our bright orange vest and caps. (I just googled "dove hunting + fashion" and found out that we are supposed to be all in camouflage.)

Yep, not a single lonesome dove in sight. But nevertheless, a pleasant way to spend the last few hours of the long weekend. And, I won't have to pluck any feathers for our dinner...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

auf Wiedersehen, Jack

Ed and I dropped Jack at the Louisville airport this morning. The ride in from Shelby county was quiet -- none of us exactly felt like talking or even knew what to say.

I suspect Jack was excited to be leaving for a year in Germany and maybe a bit anxious about getting there and getting settled. I also expect he was tired of me asking if he had his passport, computer cord, boarding pass, turkey sandwich, etc.

I was excited for him but, as always when I say "goodbye" to my children, my heart was breaking. I much prefer to have my three nearby, but we have raised them to be independent, confident young adults...So Jack is off on a fine adventure: teaching English in a German high school in conjunction with an award as a Fulbright scholar.

Jack, please know that I am so proud of you. I'll miss your whistling around the house, your appetite, your piano and guitar music, and your help with all things heavy, or high up. I wish you all the best in the next year. I know you will be a terrific teacher. May you learn much, make good friends, be safe, and know that we will miss you back at home.

auf Widersehen & Ich liebe dich. mom

Jack, outside his cottage, this morning, before heading to Germany.