Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Can't Swim Here"

Blake and I headed out yesterday afternoon about 4:30. The thermometer read 95.9F. We hit the first garden just as the row of green beans was safely within the boundary of the shade. We picked and weeded and worked up a pretty good sweat. Two rows of okra were waiting to be weeded at our other garden spot, but first we had to cool off. So we rode to the swimming hole just past the garden fence. It's a nice part of the Little Mulberry. Where the creek slows and widens and tall trees stand close to the bank on both sides casting shade and giving it a secluded feeling. The water was perfect. I didn't have the usual cringe when it rose up my body. But it just wasn't deep enough, coming just below my waist. So we started to wade up creek in search for deeper waters.

It is a habit of mine to keep my eyes on the banks while we swim. As a youth and an adult I've swam in waters that creatures call home. And I've seen my share of snakes. I know when the temperature rises and we head to the water to cool off, so do they. As I made another scan of the far bank near a group of roots I noticed one moving. I stood up for a better look. I could see two raised sections of her body behind her proudly raised head. I knew this wasn't the usual water snake we encounter. She was swimming swiftly back and forth out in front of the jumbled roots, protecting her home. Her body was thick and she rode on the water, head held high. She must have decided her presence wasn't threatening enough to deter her intruders because she changed course and turned towards me. That's a scary sight. Standing in high waist water and looking at the head of a snake straight on. Not a standing view from 5 feet, but from maybe 2. Her body flashing on one side and then the other. The lighter under skin of her head and body contrasting against the dark shaded water. Where was Blake you wonder? Between the snake and me. I grabbed his arm and pulled him to the other side of and me. Our closest retreat to land would have had us scrambling up the side of a bushy bank. I made a split second decision not to attempt that and began pushing through the water as fast as I could back down stream and toward where we first entered. As the water shallowed and I was able to move faster I looked back to find our pursuer. She wasn't there. She had gone back to her post and was again swimming back and forth in front of her home. She had succeeded. A momma protecting her home and babies, just like me.

As expected we weren't getting back in the water there. So we went to one of our usual swimming places, where the water is swifter and has frequent visitors.

Then on to garden #2. Art helped us hoe our two rows of okra. We worked up another good sweat. We stopped in the creek again on our way home to rinse off.

After talking with my brother and doing a little research on snakes, I confirmed my origianl identification of our snake. A water moccasin. They ride high in the water and are known to stand their ground.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It Has Begun

For months you prepare. Tilling, planting, building fences. You think about the day when the little seeds you are dropping in the dirt will be producing food you can eat. You check the progress daily: "The corn is comin' up", "There's blooms on the green beans", "We have two baby squash!" You can hardly contain your excitement. Your friends and family who don't garden grow tired of hearing about the progress. And before you know it...

Saturday: Pick green beans, cucumbers, squash
Sunday: Pick green beans, can green beans, pickle cucumbers
Monday: Pick green beans, cucumbers, squash
Tuesday: Pick green beans, can green beans, pickle cucumbers
Wednesday: Pick green beans, cucumbers, squash
Thursday: Pick green beans, can green beans...Who's idea was this anyway?!?

Friday, June 19, 2009


Rex bought this bike for my birthday 3 years ago. I had a good run for several months, riding daily through our hills. Now that's a workout. But the newness wore off, as usual, and my bike has sat (hung) unused for well over a year. There were times when I wanted to ride it to a neighbor's or to the garden but I had no way of carrying anything. Yesterday I decided to splurge and buy a basket. I could hardly wait to get it mounted and full of garden veggies. Rex and I had it on by late afternoon and I was off to the garden. Going was great. I also bought an odometer and I marveled at my quick speed, 16, 17, 20 mph. Down to the garden I sped. I picked the few cucumbers, squash, and carrots that were ready. Even though the garden was shaded I still worked up a good sweat in the heat. I decided I needed to cool off at the creek before heading home. Not wanting to soak my clothes I just splashed water on my face and neck. Regret. Riding home was very different. 12, 6, 4 mph. Up I climbed back to the house. By the time I reached our drive I was exhausted and had a throbbing headache. I wasn't sure if I would be able to make it up the hill, but stopping to rest didn't seem to offer any respite from the heat. There wasn't any breeze. I needed water, to drink and to run over my head. So I put one foot in front of the other and slowly walked up our hill, our Mountain, our MT. EVEREST! I made it, went straight for the water hose and drenched myself. I think I learned my lesson.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Summer Season

Have you ever had a busy season in your life? I am in one now. I think I might be emerging. Having time to blog is a sign. To start back (hopefully) I thought I'd give a quick update around the homeplace. My mother has taken on the cabin bathroom as a project. It has never had indoor plumbing and our guests have had to either use the outhouse (seen through the above window) or walk over to our house. As our home is still not finished, adding a bathroom to the cabin was pretty far down on our list. But this spring Mom decided it was time. It has been functioning for the past few months. After last weekend and the hours of work Mom and Larry put into it, only a few touches remain.

As I walked around yesterday afternoon with my camera in hand, it has been a while, I snapped a few pictures.
Why this site caught my attention, I do not know. It just looked very "country" to me. This is our BB gun we keep ready and loaded on the porch to shoot the chickens when they decide to venture up. Don't worry they aren't hurt, just scared. They have learned the click of a BB being loaded and the pump of the lever. They take off before you can even raise the gun to your eye. I'm smarter. I leave it ready to shoot.
My husband. Bless his heart. He has an eye for junk. We have a collection of rusted antiques (that's a nice way of saying junk). Two wagon wheels, an old grass cutter, a tractor seat, I don't understand the affinity for unusable items.
Blending two different personalities to create a unique one.
And the two shall become one.

I wonder who the rusty old wagon wheel is? and who gets to be the flower? Hmmm?