The Big Dig
When I was probably five years old my recently-divorced mother and I lived on the second floor of an apartment building in Springfield, Massachusetts. One day some other apartment boys and I decided to dig a hole out behind the apartment. Using our sandbox shovels and some sticks, we worked away , and I remember one boy saying that if we dug far enough we would end up on the other side of the world, which would be in China. That sounded pretty neat and the thought of it spurred us on.
After awhile, I guess we got bored with that, decided to take a break, found an old metal door knob, and started throwing it at each other. That was a lot of fun until I got hit in the head with the doorknob. It hurt and an alarming amount of blood poured down my face. When I realized what had happened to me, I ran upstairs to the apartment crying hysterically.
My mother assessed the damage, decided I did not need medical attention, cleaned me up, and, like all good mothers, loved me till I calmed down and felt better.
I was reminded of that incident a couple weeks ago when I was planting my garlic. I could hear a lot of activity in the brush over by the woods. I knew my son, Robert, was doing something. After awhile, I decided to take a break to see what was going on. This is what I found...
The photo shows James at the top and Robert at the bottom. James is mostly watching and Robert is doing all the work. It was his project. He decided that he wanted to dig a big hole, cover it over with brush, and make it into a fort. I couldn’t help but be impressed with the size of the hole and his enthusiasm. After looking it over I headed back to my garlic planting.
A little while later Robert came out to the garden holding a small measuring cup of water. He had hit a spring and clean water was pouring into the side of a post hole in the bottom of the big hole. So I followed him back and took this picture of Robert in the bottom sipping a hard-earned cup of spring water.
My Good Country Neighbor
Speaking of garlic, I wrote a few blogs back about how I plant garlic. The only thing I didn’t get done when planting was put straw mulch on the wide rows. Well, yesterday I was visiting with one of my neighbors who is a farmer and I asked if he might have some bales of straw that I could buy. “Sure do.” he replied with a big smile. “How many thousand do you want?”
I said I was only looking for 30 and that I wasn’t looking for a deal—I would pay him whatever he felt was a fair price. He asked if oat straw was good and I said it was. Then he told me 30 bales was about a ton and said I could have the bales for $2.50 each. That was good with me, especially since he offered to bring the bales over to my house as soon as he and his son could get them loaded. Now that’s a good neighbor for you!
I met my friend and his son at the garlic bed, Robert and James helped us unload the straw, and we talked for awhile. It’s always a nice thing to visit with your neighbors over a load of straw. I ended up showing them my short row of mangle beets. They had never seen such things. We talked about the growing season. We talked about local politics. We talked about the decline of dairy farms in our area. We talked about the price of land. And more. It was cold and windy, so we didn’t talk long, but we covered a lot of territory just the same.
My New Neighbor
Speaking of land, I blogged awhile back about a real fine parcel of woods-and-field farmland that went up for sale just around the corner from me. I was hoping that land would not sell any time soon and the price would drop. But that was wishful thinking.
The land sold fast. I heard (from the fellow I bought straw from) that it was purchased by a father and son who intend to build two homes and raise some beef cattle.
I don’t know who these people are but already I’m liking them—two generations living on the same land and working together on an agrarian enterprise. It’s a beautiful concept. I hope they will prove to be kindred spirits and good country neighbors.
What’s A RIP Grinner?
My aspiring trapper sons, Robert and James call possums “grinners.” And a roadkill possum is a “RIP grinner.”
Bluegrass Birthday Present
For James’s birthday yesterday I gave him a Kruger Brothers bluegrass CD that I purchased from Rick Saenz at Cumberland Books. The Kruger Brothers play some real pleasant, down-to-earth music. We’ve had their album “Up18North” for some time and James really likes it (I do too). He was thrilled to get another bluegrass CD. I’ve also purchased the Ed Snodderly CD, “Brier Visions” and we like that too.
None of the music is particularly Christian (though the Krugers have a gospel CD). But, like I said, it is, for the most part, very pleasant music to listen too— unlike rap and rock and whatever else your typical modern youngster is blasting into his or her brains these days. I’m delighted that James and I can enjoy bluegrass together.
You can check out Cumberland’s bluegrass music selections here.
...And enjoy the bluegrass we did as, after a birthday lunch of chicken wing pizza, James and Robert and I headed to a Christian bookstore in Syracuse. We were on a mission. I have been intending to buy each of them a new bible for some time. I gave my oldest son, Chaz, a bible a couple years ago for Christmas. But I had not yet given one to the younger boys. It isn’t that they do not have bibles because they do. There is no shortage in this house. But they did not have a bible that was specifically given to them by their father.
Now they do. We spent quite awhile looking over the good selection the store had. We even did a couple of sword drills there in the store to try them out. We had a good time. Now I’ll write in the front of each, with a verse or two for each boy.
A Rare Photo
I’m going to show you a rare photograph. Here it is....
The short fellow on the right is my youngest son, James, who has been pictured on this blog many times. The bigger lad on the left is my oldest son, Chaz, who I do not think has ever been pictured here. So that’s what makes this a rare picture.
They were working together, stacking our winter supply of firewood. James had his CD player on the woodpile, playing his new Kruger Brothers music. It was a beautiful thing to see my oldest and my youngest working together. I just had to take a picture.
Please Don’t Forget The Fullers
A few blog entries back I wrote about the unexpected news that Brian Fuller has been diagnosed with very serious pancreatic cancer. I asked for prayer for Brian and Christina and their young family as they go through this difficult time. Many have lovingly and prayerfully responded. I’d just like to remind you to please continue keeping this family in your prayers.
Christina has written more specifically about their situation here.
Bristol Caverns picnic - [image: Bristol caverns] The view from a picnic table at Bristol Caverns.
15 hours ago