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Hard-Working Visitors from Alabama (Friday) April 23, 2006

Posted by Joe in Uncategorized.
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Joe’s mom, Becky, and his grandfather, J, have been talking for weeks about when they could come up to help us get our garden in. On Thursday afternoon, they rolled up, horn a-honking and arms a-waving.

Joe grew up spending his summers at his grandparents’ farm in Russellville, AL. He worked alongside J putting in fenceposts, working cattle, hoeing out weeds, and digging up potatoes. J doesn’t put in a garden of his own anymore, but he is still eager to share his wisdom with us young’uns.

After a walk around the farm noting the blooms on the pecan and walnut trees, the enormous fallen oak, and the caterpillers wreaking havoc on the developing plums, we settled on the porch in rocking chairs to visit.

Friday morning, we were up early and watching the weather forecast. Rain was predicted but we had lots we wanted to do. J thought we ought to get done what we could before it started, so with nothing but a cup of coffee in our bellies, we headed out to the garden.

J started with the potatoes and pulled dirt up around them. We began hoeing out the radishes, carrots, sweet peas, and onions, and then the rain started. We headed back in for a big breakfast, hoping the rain would quit. About an inch of rain came down by mid-afternoon making the garden impassable, so we turned our attention to other things.

First on our list was an electric fence. Last year, we gave away a lot of fine produce to the deer and raccoons. Already this season, we have found many tracks in the freshly tilled garden rows. We hope to put a stop to that.


Next, we turned our attention to the huge oak that in November came down across our power lines and driveway stranding us. Joe and 2 good neighbors used chainsaws to cut our way out, but the bulk of the tree had not been dealt with. J sharpened the chainsaw he had given us as a “farm-warming” gift a year ago and then we headed down the driveway.

Joe cut up the branches and split them and the rest of us put it in the bed of his truck. We talked a lot about how much warmer we’ll be with the old woodstove Becky brought to take the chill out of the winter air. Benjamin also did a fair amount of balance beam work on the trunk of the tree while Lucy (our “Tennessee Black Dog,” as the pound called her) lounged in the cool hole left by the upturned roots.

With a bed-load of firewood stacked, we went to the house. J fried some crappie he caught and some home-made hush puppies for dinner while I took notes for future reference.

By sundown, we had heard from Joe’s sister, Robin, that his dad, Jim, had come through surgery in OH with good results. With a prayer of thanksgiving, we headed to bed.


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