Tuesday, May 22, 2012

nose to the grindstone

Sometimes people ask me in wonderment something along the lines of, "How do you do it all?"  This is a silly question, especially from people who know me. They know better, or at least they should.  I don't do it all.  I do barely any of it.  And what little I do is almost entirely unnecessary busywork I've taken on to help me feel superior to all the people who don't have their own aging houses on poorly-managed hobby farms.  The stuff I really should be doing, that social mores dictate I should be doing, is repeatedly delayed and avoided.  One of the great joys about my kids getting older, besides the higher tenor of dinner-table conversation, is that they are old enough to clean almost the whole house with very little oversight.  Remember how I was reading all those books during the winter?  It's because I do almost nothing in the winter. 

But spring and summer are very different.  That's when my chickens of busywork come home to roost.  If you read Tipsy's great post a few days ago--this one--then you understand that I was nodding my head and saying, "Preach it, sister."  Goats and chickens and gardens and home cooking are very virtuous, but they are relentless and tyrannical.  I have been a big fat dynamo for so many days in a row now that I hardly recognize myself.  It gets old. 

I have made a raised bed out of hay bales because they are free, and because the hay is so terrible I hate giving it to my goats.  It's mostly June grass, and it's going to make them sick, and I'm trying to get through it as quickly as possible so we can buy something decent.  The next two years of feeding the goats, while we're growing wheat instead of hay, are going to be very painful.

I made the raised bed because I bought so many tomato plants this year that I have nowhere near enough garden space.  But how could I resist them?  I have twenty-two tomato plants now.  If you want to know why I just googled "how long does it take a body to decompose in a shallow grave?" (good news:  not very long) it's because I planted most of the tomatoes in the pet cemetery garden, and realized while I was planting them that we were very lucky not to have accidentally tilled up Skiver and Aggie.  Tender mercies! 
This is what the main garden looks like when it's mostly weeded.  I think I'm going to have to tear out most of that kale, because it is not working like I want it to, and I have nowhere to put my beans.  I'm going to make another raised bed over by the milking shed to put the squashes in.  Potting mix is expensive. 

Last night we disbudded all but Cow, Rita's baby.  It was awful as always, but I am getting better at detaching emotionally.  It's a hateful thing, but it's got to be done for their own good.  Sally is being a jerk and won't stand still to let Sophie eat.  Oweth is huge and really loud all the time.  We'll probably eat him.


tipsybaker said...

Will you can tomatoes? The other day I was just thinking how lucky I am that I don't have a garden, because the pressure to can would become insuperable. (I hope I used that word right, it just sprang to my fingers.) And what do you know? Today I went out and started a garden. Sort of. One tomato plant so far and a compost heap and big plans that will eventually exhaust me.
I'm impressed with your garden. That was a lot of work.

Jenny said...

Yes, things like docking are much harder when you have bottle fed the babies. Oh, and Richard didn't have the proper "tool" to do it the easiest/least painful way. He used a pocket knife and it was a bloody mess. The poor sheep stood in the corner looking so betrayed and sad that they were bummers AND got all "taken care of" with a pocket knife! Your tender mercy made me laugh out loud. You're hilarious.

beckster said...

Well, it looks like you are doing quite a lot to me! You may not be doing as much as you would like to do, but you are a busy bee. You deserve to rest in the winter.