Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Long View

I read a book on Swedish lifestyle recently, and how the Swedes value an unobstructed long view. The Swedes would love Quebec. We can view sunrises and sunsets from our house, so I guess we struck pay-dirt where "the long view" is concerned. I have named the window in the kitchen that overlooks the barn my "wide screen TV". People cannot fathom that we survive without cable, but there you have it, it can be done and we are living proof.

Grab a chair, pour yourself a tea, and check out what's on our very own reality show:

There's something different on every minute.

The Long View also applies to my philosophy. My yoga and meditation teachers (so that's what she does all day long...) remind us to be "in the present", but it's about the future, non? It's about where our work will take us, the pay-off, the ultimate goal.

Of course, this philosophy applies primarily to tasks and chores that are back-breaking and frustrating. Removing an old stone-lined road that meandered to nowhere was one of those recent projects where we had to look forward and remind ourselves that this chore, too, would end. We had to stop every few moments to watch the birds, pick up a frog, pet a cat or dog, and watch the sky.

This is how we came to spend a few weeks in the early spring (when the weather permitted) removing several tons of 1) gravel, 2) old waste concrete and 3) field stones which made up the bulk of the "stone road" as we came to call it. The gravel was segregated and is kept for future drainage projects; the waste concrete was hauled to our municipal dump by the tractor-bucket load and will be used around the municipality for shore-reclamation projects, since much of our municipality lies along the shore of the Saint-Lawrence river, and all remaining stones were piled up on one side of the barn for future projects, a stone fence, perhaps?

All said and done, I must confess to a pet peeve I have. Don't, and I mean DON'T ever bury concrete as a means of disposal. It will come back to haunt you, and if not you, then future generations. Do the responsible thing and GET RID OF IT!

The land this stone road meandered through has now been plowed, and will be planted next spring with wheat.

It's helpful to have neighbours with a huge inventory of farming equipment! Here our neighbour's son, quite possibly the coolest farmer around, showed up one evening with his aviator sunglasses and straw cowboy hat, and I immediately dubbed him the "urban farmer" for his innate fashion sense. When JL isn't helping milk cows, weld, repair electronics (just a handful of farm chores), he jams with his band. I just love country kids. There's not a lot they can't do. Eric rode in the cab with JL, and somehow I got stuck with the task of removing remaining rocks as they were churned up by the harrow. It wasn't all bad; when the job was done, we drove into town for an ice cream. (No, we didn't take the tractor).

As it was, with every torrential rain, more stone and concrete was exposed. We removed two more front-loader buckets with concrete and stone, and expect even more after next spring's plowing.

The barn swallows have taken their place in the barn again, and the babies have recently hatched. I found the tiny pinkie-fingernail-sized eggshells on the ground, mottled brown and white. I haven't done a head count, because I don't really want to know if one goes missing, albeit I do go into the barn and make sure no babies have fallen from the nest. Generally, there is always a cat or two on my tail, and I am sure they'd love a baby swallow as an appetizer. Hence, no head count.

Our corn was planted at the end of May, and by the first week in June, the first little rows of green appeared. The corn is now hip-high, and let's hope the weather cooperates some more.

When the hay gets cut and baled on our neighbouring fields, I am always praying that 1) the wind's not blowing in our general direction, and 2) if it is, I am home to close the windows before every surface in our house gets coated in dust.

These 2 little guys had the right idea: they had front row seats and were enthralled in watching the baler poop out bale after bale.

Have a wonderful summer, and remember, it's all about the Long View.


Danny said...

I enjoyed reading this. Your view looks wonderful. (I don't have cable either!)

Robin said...

HA! I love watching the balers poop out hay. It never fails to give me a smile and I'm not 12 anymore.

I wish we had long unobstructed views. Every time we go by a farm house I always think about what a beautiful view they have.

Those are some awesome rocks you dug up. The digging up part sounded miserable. Do you think the previous owners had a plan to build something at the end of the nowhere road?

We don't have cable either but we do have netflix. We mostly haven't watched normal tv for the last three years. I don't miss it. I will admit to missing some of the cable tv's home renovation shows. I was a little addicted to them. :) I am know out of the loop when it comes to the latest tv advertisements and movies out but somehow I am ok with that. Hmmm. maybe admitting that is going to make me sound older than I really am...

And driving that tractor into town for ice cream would have been hilarious!

Robin said...

LOL. I just noticed that I commented on a really old post. And to make it seem even more like I am loosing my marbles, I didn't even realize it until now. :D

Shim Farm said...

Hi Robin, as luck would have it, the fields got cut yesterday, and it's been so dry lately that they were able to bale the hay today. Never ceases to put on a smile on my face, either! I love the look of the golden, fresh cut hay, and the big round bales casting long shadows on the field. It's just gorgeous.

You know, there are lots of things we don't understand about the previous owner's garden design methods because the stone road lead nowhere. It ended at the fence-line. Not only that, with our clay soil, it served as mosquito breeding ground for months in spring, because all the run-off would collect there. Like we need more bugs! LOL...

Our TV is still under a drop-cloth upstairs. Haven't watched TV in years, and we're so disconnected from popular culture we're lost when we go to Blockbuster to rent a DVD, which we watch on Eric's honkin' huge laptop. Mainly we end up watching animated films like a pair of kids LOL. Me too, I'm out of the loop, but some of the stuff you get through osmosis anyhow. I don't think we're wired enough to get Netflix yet, maybe one day?

Yes ma'am, I know what you mean about those cable reno's a good thing we don't have cable 'cause I was addicted to cooking shows for a while too! Anyhow, it's way better to be active than passive when it comes down to it, and I don't think I could go back to a TV watching lifestyle any more.

And now you've made me hungry for a Blizzard! LOL...where are the tractor keys?!

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