May 20, 2010

The Way Not to Do Things

Here is Hubby with his brand new grill for the farm!

Good thing it's not a close-up view or you would see the dents and dings.

In preparation for our Going Organic field day on June 12th*, we decided we needed a grill for the farm. Actually, it is a good excuse. Hubby has been wanting one for a while now.

So, we went into town to stock up on supplies (don't we sound so 19th century wild west?) and made three or four stops for groceries, seed, farm supplies, and, finally, the grill. Since it was the last of our stops, we had gotten kind of lazy. We wedged it into the back of the truck and failed to strap it in. (Ominous foreshadowing there.)

We headed back out to the farm along Iowa State Highway 2 and picked up speed as we left town. Just as we hit about 55 mph, an oncoming semi truck, probably going a bit too fast to enter our quiet little Clarinda, sped past us. I felt the whoosh of wind and looked in the rearview mirror to see our new grill flying into the air like Dorothy's house in the Wizard of Oz. Well, since a house wasn't too heavy to be picked up and blown away, I shouldn't have been surprised that our grill was hefted out of the truck.

Needless to say, we pulled over and set about dodging traffic to retrieve the parts of the grill that we could find. Amazingly enough, we found everything and the grill itself was only bent out of shape, kind of like Hubby at that moment. The only casualty was the automatic ignition which can be ordered as a replacement part. (Happy birthday, Honey!)

After some minutes of expletives which I will spare you, we put everything back together and Hubby swore that he was going to write to CharBroil to commend them on the fact that their grills could withstand being swept out of a truck going 55 mpg down the highway and live to grill again!

Fortunately, Hubby had recovered by the next day when one of the neighbor girls commented on the new grill and was told the story. The immediate response from this 13-year-old country girl was incredulity, "You didn't have it strapped in??"

No. No, we didn't. But it's alright.

We not only have a not-so-new grill, but also a pretty good story to share.

*Please come out and spend the afternoon with us. It's a free lunch and a lot of fun!

May 5, 2010

The Way to Do Things

How about a few vignettes from the last few weeks in the country to elucidate rural protocol?


Number One:

Puttering around the garden one sunny morning, the girls and I heard a tractor coming down the hill from the neighbor's house. We assumed it was our great friend, Marlin, until it got a bit closer and stopped at the big barn up the hill and we saw that it was Marlin's son, Tyrel, loading up our tall ladder and taking it back up to his Dad's place.

It's customary around these parts to ask before borrowing items. But, as Tyrel headed up the hill, he was conspicuously looking back, waiting for me to notice him. Once I did, I waved, and he tipped his hat to me, and all was well.

Later, I came to find out that the menfolk had arranged for this transaction. They just hadn't informed yours truly about it.

No matter.

Number Two:

Since it's a busy time of year, I decided to go to the farm for more than a weekend. While I was there by myself, one of my chores was to acquire some seed for a food plot that we have which is in need of renewal. The Pheasants Forever people provide free seed to farmers interested in putting a few of their acres into a food plot for wildlife. I had the name of a man to talk to about this -- George. Andre had talked to him earlier in the week and George knew I was going to contact him. When I called him and said that I was at the farm alone, he was stymied. Not wanting to disappoint me, he asked if I would come into town and meet him at his office (he's also a realtor -- aren't all farmers something else?) and he would take me out to his farm, about three miles away, show me where the seed was, and, when my husband arrived, we could come and get it whenever it was convenient. (Oh, George couldn't help with the sack lifting because he had a shoulder in a cast due to a recent surgical operation. He is so hoping that he'll be able to cast in June when he goes on a fishing trip to Canada.)

It never entered George's head that I could heft those 50-pound sacks of seed into my truck. (I really could have, I swear.) I played the demure female so as not to disappoint him. I toured the two barns where the seed was located and I tried to make mental notes of all the good information that George was giving me..."this one is good for tall sorghum...this one for short...this one goes well with those two to create a good nesting ground...bring a bucket because this sack has holes, etc."

It's been two weeks and we still haven't picked up the seed. But I know where it is!

Number Three:

I was emailed from one of the Practical Farmers of Iowa* and asked about our wheat from last year. Could it be used for flour for baking? Why, yes, of course it can! And we have plenty in storage with our mentor, Dan. Ok, well, send us a sample of it so we can test it and we'll maybe sell it to bakeries in Des Moines. Sure! Will do.

I called Dan and asked if he could get us a few pounds of our wheat for this test. If it panned out, he may have an outlet for his wheat, too! "No problem," says Dan. "I'll get it to you this weekend."

We waited and waited.

Finally, on Sunday afternoon, an hour or two before we were to leave for Omaha, I called him and asked if I could maybe come and get the wheat. Dan informed me that he had already left the wheat at the entrance to our property. He didn't want to chance coming the quarter mile to the cabin and risk tearing up our grass road. So thoughtful of him. Would have been nice if he had called.

No worries.

Just getting used to the way things are done out here.

*These are the same folks who are sponsoring our Field Day on June 12th! Hope you can make it. Go to this link to RSVP.