My husband, FD, announced last night that he and his friend Hoot would not be working on the cabin this weekend. In my last post, “How I Lost My Husband to An Old Wooden River Bridge”, I lamented a little about spending so many weekends alone over the past year, while FD and Hoot worked at building their cabin. So, I was elated last night to hear that he would have this weekend free. Maybe FD and I could actually spend a couple of mornings sleeping in late and relaxing in the pool during the afternoons.
This morning, I found myself waking up at my usual 5:30, then 6:00, and 6:30, each time checking the clock and thinking it must be time to get up. Sometimes, it is tough to shake the farm girl habits I grew up with. I was always an early-to-bed and early-to-rise kind of person. FD is the opposite. He can be a night owl and likes to slumber until late in the morning. When the phone rang at 7:30 this morning, I finally decided to get up. It was my youngest sister, Jules, on her way home from working as a Registered Nurse on the night shift at the hospital. It is quite common for her to call me on her thirty-minute drive home.
By the time FD arose today, I had most of my morning chores done. Daisy deer had come for an early morning visit, during which I fed her an ample handful of cherry tomatoes and a cucumber from the garden. After giving me some loving licks, she seemed anxious to be off to the deep woods, likely to feed her doe fawn, Spirit. Besides, the mosquitoes were getting the best of both of us. So, I bid her a good day and headed up the hill. Making my way back in the house, I found FD just brewing his first cup of coffee.
Once back in the house, I fixed a nice egg scramble with all sorts of vegetables from the garden. These days, I had to get creative with egg dishes, since our hens were producing mass quantities this summer. Usually, in the hot summer months, egg production cuts way back. For whatever reason, that was not so this year!
The morning was starting out cloudy and breezy. While we decided to spend the day in the pool, it was still too early to begin that leisurely activity, and since cloud cover prevailed, FD offered to help me dig up the remaining two rows of potatoes in our garden. I was happy about that. Digging potatoes is back-breaking work for one person!
After digging all the potatoes and laying them to dry on the picnic table, FD and I took the Bad Boy Buggy out for a drive around the property and through the woods. Down in the woods, the mosquitoes attacked us with a vengeance and it was not long before we sped back up top. Once there, FD asked what else he could do to help me outdoors. Was there something that needed fixing? I pointed out our pathetic bobble-head owl, perched on a pole near the blackberries. His head had been knocked askew for several weeks. Any bird would know it was not a real owl just by the looks of that upward cocked head, stuck in an abnormal position. What I suspect had happened to our fake owl, was an attack from a Barred Owl from the woods.
Perhaps I should back up here a minute and explain why we have a fake owl. You see, when the blackberries began ripening in early July, birds of all sorts began eating them! We tried several tactics to ward them away, but nothing worked. Finally, FD’s sister, Sissy Jo, came up with the idea of posting a larger bird of prey in the area. She found this bobble-head owl at one of her local stores and sent it to us. At first, I was not convinced this tactic would work, but I have to admit that after we put the bobble-head owl up in the middle of the blackberry patch, damage from area birds decreased tremendously. In fact, it let up enough to give us about a quart of big, beautiful blackberries every couple of days. I was elated! Then one night I heard a Barred Owl hooting from a tree just off the back porch. I had never heard an owl so close to the house before. The next morning, the bobble-head owl was all askew on the pole he was mounted on, and his head was cocked at an odd angle with the eyes looking skyward. Naturally, I suspected an attack!
FD’s repairs of the bobble-head owl, left our friend perched high on a new pole, head turning normally and looking fierce as ever! Meanwhile, I had gone inside the house to prepare bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches for a quick lunch.
After lunch, we found the sun was now shining brightly and the temperatures were nearing the mid-90 degree mark. With these conditions, the pool was looking mighty inviting. So, FD prepared the floating drink caddie, while I tuned into island music via satellite, getting the volume just right on the outdoor speakers. We quickly launched our floating rafts and perched on top, FD on the lounger, and I on my flat raft, which allowed for maximum sun rays. Digging into the drink caddie, we each popped open an ice-cold beer and savored that first refreshing sip of golden lager.
And then, just as we were getting comfortable in the pool, we heard this horrible, loud roar of a diesel engine… from the Honey Wagon.
For the past week, I had noticed city workers had been dealing with trouble from a sewer line in the alley just south of our house. I had observed them digging in the alley, and occasionally the Honey Wagon was dispatched to help. When this was necessary, the big Vactor 2100 truck would pull up revving its loud diesel engine. As it approached, workers yelled instruction, and soon the giant suction arm moved up and forward. More yelling ensued and the giant arm was guided down into the manhole. Always, one poor fella had to stay with the sleeve that reached down into the depths of the manhole, where I suppose the “honey-colored” waste lay awaiting collection. Each time the Honey Wagon showed up, the wind from the south would carry the horrid stench directly north in the direction of our property, our house, and our pool.
I supposed, incorrectly, that the sewer project would come to a stop over the weekend. But, as I heard the mighty Vactor 2100 once again kick into suction mode, and saw the black smoke billowing from the machine as it sucked raw sewage from the manhole, I realized that the city sewer system still has to work on the weekends… and so did that poor fella who was kneeling down near the sleeve of the giant arm. FD and I just laughed, as I got out of the pool to turn the music up a little louder. I was determined that the Vactor 2100 and its wretched smell were not going to spoil my relaxing afternoon with FD! And, in no time, the noise and the smell were gone, and FD and I were left floating in blissful happiness, without a care and the world, listening to Jimmie Buffett sing about the last mango in paradise… and paradise it was…
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…