After days with rain as our constant companion, Sunday dawned with the blaring palms of the Sun. Everyone felt the trumpet call of light, and gathered to work, squinting a bit yet still basking in the warm gold of morning.
J put a gate and half wall on the hot tub shed. I don’t know if that will stop the marauding raccoon from eating my cat food, but it will keep out the chickens, who had learned to fly over the flimsy lattice gate I had put up, thus depositing their eggs and more unpleasant gifts randomly throughout the structure.
Katie and Renee planted seeds. Tons of seeds! They are now under the lights in the shop, along with Zach & Molly’s seeds, which were planted Friday. Katie brought all sorts of seed treasures with her from France, where she spent last summer, and also from Georgia, her home state.
I lined a portion of the driveway that was widening more than it should with river rocks. Soon there will be festoons of daylilies on the protected side. I wheeled around picking up trash with the wheelbarrow, then proceeded to clean up the hot tub shed. Jason put up a fence to contain our formerly free-ranging chickens. Once Spring really hits they can roam no more. This means I will really be In The Eggs. I know they were laying them all over the place. Now they’ll be laying them in the coop like they’re supposed to.
J and I have decided to make the hot tub shed the official micro goat barn. It needs only minor modifications to serve that purpose marvelously. We’ll have to move out the hot tub, but that’s really fine. J & I are sustainably motivated, and the aforementioned hot tub runs off coal-powered electricity. Mountain top removal coal. So maybe our interns can retrofit our tub, make it wood-fired, and make another spot for it. J and I already have a solar-powered hot tub on our deck, but we’ve never gotten it fully functional. It just needs a few hours of J’s magic hands and it will be perfect. And with the electric hot tub out of the shed, I’ll have a little micro barn with running water and electricity, plus space for milking me wee goats, and maybe space enough for some angora bunnies. Renee would faint with joy.
The day began to slow down a bit. Clouds began to gather. The wind stirred up, and the temperature began to drop. Rae was finishing up supper—pork roast, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and roasted veggies. She really is a dynamo! I went inside and got on the computer, to discover that I had made three sales on my Etsy shop! Could the day get any better?
We finished the day up with baths for the littles, and a good two chapters of Prince Caspian. We are almost done with it. McKinley can’t stand for me to stop! “Keep reading! Keep reading!” he insists. But his sister is already mostly asleep beside me, and he begrudgingly turns out the light, and snuggles under the quilt next to me. I think that I could stay awake a little longer, get a few things done, but to end the day here, sandwiched between the warm bodies of my kids, is too delicious and perfect. I’ll get ten hours of sleep, I calculate, and drift into a long night of dreaming.
Monday morning I woke and, after getting children flurried off to school, I wasn’t exactly sure what was next. I meditated. I fed the animals. I gathered up some laundry (this part of laundry is always easy enough!). I went next door to my office, my brain starting to coagulate around things that needed to be done, when Kim arrived.
Oh yes! I’d volunteered to help Kim get her Etsy shop set up, and was glad to do it. Kim & Pete are dear friends of ours, and they are full-time second generation potters. Their Dragon Mug is especially cool. I didn’t know the story behind it until yesterday, and now I am so thrilled that I own one! Check them out at mcwhirterpottery.etsy.com (especially the dragon mug description!) Their shop is just getting started, and they have lots of very cool things that they’ll be listing soon!
But as I was working with Kim other things began to creep in. I’d told Alex I would need the truck for getting hay and straw. She’s living with her boyfriend now, and the truck is their only transportation. She’s been trying to get a job, her maternal grandmother (birthmother’s mom) has told her she would go halvsies on a car for her, but that Alex had to save up some money. This has proven to be very difficult for Alex. But I think she’s coming out of this, growing more flight feathers. Today she starts a new job! Anyway, her boyfriend took her to class and showed up with the truck while I was working with Kim. He’s a sweetheart, and didn’t seem bothered at all when I told him that I couldn’t leave just yet to get the animal feed.
Then Alex started pinging me on Facebook, which I had open only so Kim & I could get in touch with her hubbie about a password we were having trouble with. Blip. I need to get picked up early. Blip. Is boyfriend there yet? Blip. Blip. Blip. Close Facebook.
I called the feed store. Do you have hay? I asked. No, but Hay Ladies does, here’s their number. Call Hay Ladies. They don’t normally sell hay on Mondays, but they will, and I agree to meet them at three to get some hay. I look at the clock. It’s half past noon. They are all the way on the other side of the county. It will probably take me forty-five minutes to get there. Which means I need to leave at 2:15.
I start trying to wind things up with Kim. J calls, wondering about lunch. I give him the plan. I also need to go to the Feed Store and the Post Office, to ship off some Etsy purchases. And oh, damn, I need to go to Amazing Savings, too, in Asheville, for groceries. The cupboards are rather bare. I send Alex a note via facebook that she’s gonna be waiting a while to get picked up.
I sort it all out in my head. I’ll go to Hay Ladies first, cause I won’t have time to run my errands in town, and the boyfriend can follow me in the truck, get the hay and feed, and go back to the house while I go on to Asheville to run my errands. My belly rumbles. Then I remember that there’s also a shipment of J’s that needs to go out. Blood pressure rises.
I go to the house to make lunch. The phone rings. It’s Badger, and Alex has gotten onto Facebook and asked him to call me and tell me to get on Facebook so she can talk to me. I grit my teeth. I’m hungry, it’s 2:10 now, I need to leave in five minutes. J isn’t here yet, and I need him here so we can invoice and ship his package (his laptop has all the necessary stuff). Thanks for relaying the message, Badger, but she’s gonna have to deal, I say. I cram a sandwich into my body.
Go back next door. J has arrived, and is on the phone with Badger, who has called at Alex’s request to relay a message to her boyfriend. Our FedEx account is in unpaid shutdown. I call Hay Ladies. Can we make it 3:30? Yes, they say. I have a little relief. J is on the phone with FedEx, trying to sort things out so we can ship this package. I get my Etsy shipment ready. I sort a few other things out. The kids get off the bus. Renee is snuffly. I tell her I’ve gotta go to Asheville. This makes
her cling to me. It’s time for me to go. J is STILL on the phone with FedEx, lost in a tangle of administrative BS.
I have to go, I tell him. They’re meeting me for the hay. This is perhaps the most stressful moment of the day. He’s on the phone, can’t really talk to me, I can’t wait any longer for his shipment, and Renee is clinging to me, crying, don’t go, don’t go. We raise our voices, not because we our angry at each other, but because it’s just so incredibly stressful.
In the end, I take Renee with me, and she made my errand-running far more pleasant. I rush to Hay Ladies, all the while trying to calm myself down and anticipate that they will not be angry with me for making them wait fifteen minutes. Renee clearly absorbed some of the effects of my stress, but by the time we are half way there, she is chattering happily about things, and when we get to Hay Ladies, the proprieter is the friendly and relaxed, not bothered at all by her waiting for me.
From here, the sailing is much more pleasant. There was still some rough weather to encounter when we returned home, for Iwas so tired, and J had once again not managed very well without me. Dinner wasn’t ready, and it was eight o’clock. I’m hoping this won’t happen again. He’s got to be more on the ball when I’m not there.
Even though it was super late, I ended up reading to the kids anyway. There was lots of hustle and bustle downstairs, and their beds are in the loft. They would never go to sleep with all that commotion going on right below them. And I realized I desperately needed something calming, something peaceful, to ease my troubled mind. Prince Caspian it was.
And after all that, I ended up chatting on Facebook with my sister and then my old friend Aimee, who made me laugh. For that, I was immensely thankful.