• Tina

Ants and Grasshoppers

There have been multiple projects and endeavors that we have pushed off for years. We have discussed laying hens, getting back into gardening, and bee keeping but have not made the time to do any of those things. To be honest, we haven’t felt like we have the time or energy to expend on those things. When we lived in town, we had a quarter acre lot and we had as big of a garden as we could fit. We also composted, had a worm farm, and tilled the soil, planting every sort of vegetable that we could. Many times, we planted vegetables just once to see if it was possible to grow them. Like kohlrabi, what do you do with kohlrabi really? We gave ours to our neighbors. I’m kind of thinking they weren’t really sorry to see us leave, come to think of it. I’m sure they too were thinking, Great, what the hell am I supposed to do with a …. what’s this thing called again? We always had fresh vegetables during the season and could count on canning an abundance for the winter. Once, I attended a produce auction. It was quite an experience and really rather enjoyable but I came home with five bushels of tomatoes. In fairness, my dear friend backed out of a bushel once she saw how big a bushel actually was. I was able to give away two bushel and was left with a mere three bushel of tomatoes. All we did for days was make spaghetti sauce, stewed tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Eric has since forbidden me to attend a produce auction without him. He sometimes lacks the ability to see my charm.

After we moved to the farm, we put a garden in the first two years. They were over run with weeds and not maintained halfway through the season. After the second year we just gave up. We did much better with a garden when we had less land and more time. At the farm, we have more than enough space but hardly enough time. Until now. This virus thing, I say with faux nonchalance, has forced us to reset our priorities. What once seemed like an enjoyable hobby that could be allowed to go to the wayside now seems like a really good idea because we feel like we don’t know what the future holds. If you have read previous blogs, you know I have control issues. I like to know I have done everything possible to be as prepared as possible not matter what the situation. This virus thing, it seems to have trouble respecting my control issues…which will probably lead to another blog topic…stay tuned.

My husband often uses the phrase,” Ants and grasshoppers, Teenie! The world is made up of ants and grasshoppers. I’m an ant you’re a grasshopper!” After almost twenty years of marriage, I envision poking him square in the eye when he says this. Just one good jab should end the noise coming from his face…but I digress…self-quarantine is getting the best of me. I am suddenly appreciating his “Ants” approach. We once again are going to plant a garden. We put down a tarp to kill the sod and added a few more tarps for good measure. I finally bought gooseberry bushes and boysenberry bushes and we planted them on the perimeter of our new garden plot. I have wanted chickens, not any old chicken but fancy chickens with pretty colors, fun feathers, and fun colored eggs, for quite some time now. The bibbed wonder, aka Eric, has put me off saying we don’t need another animal to feed. Did I ever communicate that he was a math teacher and I was an English teacher? Our approach to all topics could not be more different. He is always black and white, Mr. Practical, look at the numbers. I am more like a cat with shiny objects, my whole frontal lobe is grey area, and anything is possible if Eric would just agree to it. We broke protocol yesterday and traveled to South Fork, by Johnstown, and bought 21 beautiful laying hens. They were 4-H projects and they are just lovely. They are very calm, docile, and low key. Not like the feral, angry chickens I remember from my childhood. The lovely little clucks gave us 8 eggs yesterday. I’m pretty sure we just scared the eggs out of them but we nevertheless, we got eggs! It has been a very productive week here on the farm. I am happy I am married to an “Ant” although eye poking is still on the table. He pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and I think my “Grasshopper” approach helps to balance his “Ant” mentality. We compliment each other and mostly bring out the best in each other. Right now, in my humble opinion, I think we could all benefit from the “Ant” mentality. Not only are we in this together but we can work together to make good things happen. You don’t have to have a lot of space to provide fresh food for your family. Plant a plot or a bed or a container. I guarantee you will learn something, probably enjoy it, and definitely benefit from it. As a self-proclaimed control freak, let us control what we can. I hope you find the balance of Ant and Grasshopper. However, I mostly hope you are able to stay calm, stay safe, and wash your hands…I know this lady that makes really good soap…I’m just saying.

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