....being neighborly for the past 3 days.
And we enjoyed every minute of it despite the heat! Today, it got up to 104*, but plenty of water and lemonade was provided for our work drenched bodies & parched gullets.
One of our closer "neighbors" (several miles away) needed some help with fencing in their 40 acres for their 2 bottle fed/to butcher calves, repairs of water lines & weed control. I can't call them elderly, as I hate that term...mainly, because someday someone will be calling me that & I don't like the sounds of it! They are wonderful people and their grown kids & grandkids don't live very close to help, so we try to help whenever they will let us.
Not that we didn't have things to be done here at home, because that is just a given....but making the time, having the opportunity to help others is such a pleasure for us! And one of the great rewards, according to Hubby, is we always get fed well! Boy .. do the country farmers & ranchers know how to take care of one's appetites! (I've always enjoyed that privilege when it is put on my shoulders. I love to cook for those who love to eat!!)
Noontime is suppertime...always was, and still is for that generation of this culture. Early to work, supper break, back to work for another 7-8 hours..light snack of leftovers, relax a spell & off to bed~ to do it all over the next day. Although the women do help some, they generally spend the mornings preparing the noontime supper.
These past 3 days, the "Mr." was out with us, handing out more fencing nails, gathering the fencing pliers we'd dropped 100' back (which would allow a break for us to dose ourselves with water...since he'd would walk back to the spot, look around a bit & then come back..... I'm not too sure that he walked any faster than we would have! The heat drains ya!) or he was mixing up more weed killer.
Mostly, he sat on the tailgate of the pickup propped against the rolls of barbed wire and the cooler which was filled with water, jugs of lemonade & fruit. He told story upon story...the words would just flow off his tongue, hour after hour! Not only did it help the hours pass quickly, it also filled our hearts with times of the past. He was born & raised on his place. His Mom just passed away this winter at 98 years. We heard stories of his childhood, his & the "Mrs." years as pig farmers on this ground. The raising of their children. Tough times, glorious times, none with regrets or sorrow. There was a constant twinkle in his eyes.......it never clouded over.
The first morning, arriving there at 5 a.m., they were disappointed we didn't come at 4:30 for breakfast! Now I am NOT a breakfast person, and getting up at 3:30-4:00 a.m. is not a real easy task for me, as I am a night person! But, Hubby, on the other hand, LOVES a good country breakfast to start the day. Truly...I USED to make them for him. I used to be up before everyone, and make breakfast time a great start to a new days beginning...but he certainly does not expect it from me now (he's never "expected" it but loves it when it happens!). I will surprise him once in awhile, usually in the winter, getting up before him. I'll make the coffee, get the fires stoked & house warmed, so when he comes out from the depth of dreamland, it is the aromas of a warm house, sizzling bacon & the love of his wife...filtering through the hallway to his nostrils that awakens him.
Needless to say, day 2 & 3...we were there for breakfast! Yesterday was Hubby's fav...biscuits & gravy (ALL food is his fav!). Today's fare was bacon, eggs (ours that we supply them with), & french toast ("Mrs." homemade bread style!) with homemade huckleberry syrup. Yummmm!
Day 1, I helped Hubby with the fencing & soaked up all the wonderful stories told by the "Mr.".
Day 2, I stayed back, while Hubby fixed water lines & got more stories..some I'm sure that shan't be told in mixed company :)
.... I helped the "Mrs." in weeding her flower beds and veggie garden. I even hung out some laundry to dry in the warm breezes. "Mrs." doesn't handle the heat too well, I could tell even though she would not admit it. I had to battle with her to let me work outside & her inside! I did take a lot of breaks to go inside to keep her company and watch her skillful hands preparing supper. She'd eventually, wipe her hands on her apron, bring the coffee pot to the table, shove the plate of fresh snickerdoodles at me (yep, she'd made them that morning!), then sit for a spell and tell me some of her stories! On my..........how I love the stories from that generation...especially the folks who lived on farms & ranches! The love in her words spoke loudly of her contentment & joys of a good life. I had such a wonderful time and I am ever so grateful that I opted to stay behind to spend the day with her! We giggled so much my toes hurt!
Day 3, today, was weed spraying...I'm not totally for it, for the environment and my nostrils...but it is their choice, and rightly so...
as it is their calves out there grazing ... there is Wyeth Lupine, Kochia, Field Horsetail in too large of quantities to feel safe. Their land hasn't been grazed & maintained for the past 10 or so years, to keep these noxious weeds at bay. There is plenty of grasses to last the summer, but...you never know, cattle won't usually eat noxious plants if there is plenty of good feed...but they needed to nipped in the butt now!
I told my Cowboy, he had to slow down today! I worry about him being in the heat so long, as he had a heat stroke while in AZ when he was shoeing horses. He is more susceptible now, we are told, and his tolerance to heat is much less. Sooooooo, being the 'other half' of this helping party...I packed the sprayer on my back for most of the morning. I was never so happy as to see the watch strike 11:00 a.m.! It was suppertime! Not that I was hungry.....but I needed to get cooled off and sit awhile with only my 105# of body weight instead of that pack on my back...which added half again the weight my feet are used to packing! There was only about 2 hours left of work to be done...fixing the automatic water fittings & filling the water troughs, hanging one more gate...one last 'trip around' to make sure all the fencing was secure...the neighboring wheat farmer might get a tad irate to find cows grazing in their fields.
Whew.....glad today was done! We sat in the cool shade of their locust trees with ice water and fresh Rhubarb pie!
(Which by the way, is my absolute most favorite dessert ever! No strawberries, no apples to tone down the tartness...just Rhubarb and a little sugar!)
Once we cooled off & got our bearings back, we came home. One more job had to be done...but luckily my Cowboy didn't need my help for that...gathering up the one Shorthorn which calved so late & her calf....loading them and taking them over to the "Mr. & Mrs." place to turn out with their 2 ~freshly weaned from the bottle~ calves....to keep them company. I climbed in the shower for a long cool one, then sat on the front porch with glass of iced tea...........ignoring the ache in my legs, my hands, my back....
Just savoring....savoring the stories told....savoring the giggles....savoring the memories of the past 3 days!
I will cherish them forever!
PS...one of these days...I'm going to figure out some way to attach my cheap ol' camera to my hip `permanently~so I can take pix like everyone else does!
AREN'T YOU CURIOUS??
I've got to tell you what was on the daily Suppertime menu...prepared lovingly by "Mrs."
1) Fried Chicken (yet another Fav of my Cowboy! His Fav list goes to eternity...really!)
mashed potatoes, milk gravy, home canned peaches, home canned beets, cornbread!
2) Baked ham, scalloped potatoes, spinach salad, homemade rolls, home canned applesause!
3) German Sausage they made themselves, potato salad, cranberry muffins, fresh sliced strawberries!
Hungry yet? Come on over!
Sunday, June 29, 2008
....being neighborly for the past 3 days.