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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Choosing the path less traveled.

I sat and watched Sprocket, a Blue Tick/ German Shepard mix, standing in a pool. The water from an underground weep had stopped flowing several days before. The land has yet to be parched, however in our situation, this feels like drought. The water we rely on quickly diminishes, and a pool only deep enough to cover the stubby legged dog's ankles remains.

She suddenly jumps, all four paws landing back in the shallow water the same time her snout submerges. She has discovered that there are more than just frogs in this creek. Crawfish is now on her rustic menu. I enjoy watching her. She is stubbornly intent on the task at hand. Utilizing whatever tools are on paw. She has pushed an ice chest off the bank, allowing it to float in one place for a bit. Her nose nudges it aside, and underneath she finds crawfish have gathered. If only more of us could be that ingenious. 

As much as I enjoy lounging in the shade, doing nothing more than contemplating my dog's accomplishments, I have to use what water I have to wash laundry. It would be simpler to find a laundry mat. But I am stubborn about money. And my hands do a decent enough job. A few items I do take to the neighbors, however pride and not wishing to be a nuisance keep me from washing more there. 

Water sits in the cast iron tub, soaking up the days rays. The uncomfortable chill diminishes, and I grate my laundry soap bar over top. Sprinkling the water like parmesan cheese, its buoyancy impressive.  I have learned my limitations. Only two loads of clothing can be washed. I run out of clothes line, and my hands can take no more than that. 

I normally hum while baking in the sun. It helps keep my mind off the pain in my hands. Not the washing that causing the hurt, but wringing out the water from jeans and towels. After the initial wash, I wring and throw them to the ground, piling up beside the tub. I rejoice when laundry fairies arrive. Their wings fluttering widely trying their hardest to help. Alas, they are a useless group. Their puny arms can not lift the water logged cloth, nor can their petite wings speed up the drying time. Butterflies make for worthless servants. As hard as you might try to train them, they just don't have the upper body strength to do much, except maybe smothering, en masse, an intruder. 

After the laundry is hung, to begin their two day drying time, I am able to lounge again while sipping on sun brewed tea. You know you have arrived in purgatory when no one sells unsweetened tea at any store or restaurant you may venture into. Another thing I must do for myself. The horrors! Although recently I have found a few unsweetened tea establishments. 

I watch as Husband and Large do manly things. Splitting wood or digging holes, or even standing chatting for 30 minutes about something that will take them less than 10 minutes to do, such as manly things go. 

Small and Medium march over the boulders and scattered rocks that lie at the bottom of our drying creek, their puppies protecting their rears from any bears. Once those two heard that their gimpy mother had travelled the old county road, known as our creek, they were determined to do the same. 

The days tend to run together. Little seems to change, and less accomplished. Or so it feels. I wait for the clothes to dry, I get a bit better cooking on my obsolete stove, I discover new things on the small plot of land I am free to roam, and I wait for things to fall into place. Blood, sweat and tears covering us all. 

The day wore on. A trip into town garnered us a place to set up a motorcycle shop. And then home again. My days almost feel mundane. My normal is harder by choice, yet the tedium makes it bland. The humidity here is awful as I was warned, but it is the lack of wind that troubles me. It will take time to adjust, until then our aching muscles will be soothed by the piercing sun.

I find myself in a small fall garden spot that Husband lovingly tilled for me. He forbids me from using the rototiller because of my knee. The dirt a lovely loam, thick with sand, black dirt and years of natural composting. My only complaint would be the sticks and stones that threaten to break my bones. The stones will be dealt with by hogs. They should do a lovely job of bringing them to the surface. And my spring garden should go in much easier with their help.

Peas were pushed into my recently hoed row, just as thunder echoed through the holler, reminding me of old radio programing. the thunder a creation of a man shaking a piece of tin into the microphone. Trees undressed as the wind persuaded them. Rain suddenly ripped through the air. I hobble slowly through my yard, giggling to myself. My movements at that moment reminded me that I should perhaps whistle while I work. Then the clouds erupted. Rain poured from the sky. And as I lie on my bed, listening to it hit a tin roof, ever so loudly, and know that I would never change this for the world.


KF-in-Georgia said...

Can y'all keep a lookout for a used wringer? Yard sale or Craigslist or whatever? That would save your hands, let you do more laundry in a day, and get your clothes dryer faster--which may be important as the weather cools down.

Unknown said...

I love this post. I don't even have the words to tell you just how happy I am that you are content.

Catherine said...

It's amazing here, isn't it?! Danny and I spent the day roofing the barn, and I kept looking out over the mountains and the holler and thinking, as you did, "I wouldn't trade this for anything."

DFW said...

I breathed a sigh of relief at reading your post. I believe you guys are setttling(sp?) in. Welcome to the humid south.

wendyytb said...

I, too, love this post. So thoughtfully's almost poetic. It's wonderful that you are happy in your chosen life.

Sandy Livesay said...

A true piece of heaven :=)

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you that the words you have written have pulled me from my little farm beside the Pacific Ocean to a holler far away. Can you feel me standing there beside you, yearning to help you with your laundry, watching the dog hunt for crawdads and listening to the rain on your tin roof! Thank you for sharing your world so well!

small farm girl said...


Practical Parsimony said...

It all sounds so content and lovely and quiet. Not having unsweetened tea would be a problem. Most restaurant tea is nasty. I learned that Lipton Decaffeinated tea sprinkled in water is actually better.

My hands would not hold up to wringing clothes. Maybe a mop bucket with a wringer/squeezer would be more economical and accessible.

My knee would keep me from doing the things you cannot do either. However, mine is not so serious as yours, but debilitating and painful.

No wind and humidity is also the state here in AL. However, we do have more wind, I think, than you.

I love how smart the dog is.

Stephanie Appleton said...

Beautiful writing! We'll be weaning those piggies in about a week and 1/2. :)

Harry Flashman said...

That outfit Lehmans sells amish non electric products, and they have several wringers of different types. Some are expensive and some not so much. I will keep my eyes open at the flea market north of us, they have just about everything.

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