I find, as the weather warms up, that the country becomes a less-boring place to live. For instance, one day as I was painting primer on the boards that would become the steps of our new barn, I watched Mom, Dad, and Ben all trying to chase the chickens back into their enclosure. “They’re eating the slug poison I put on the dahlia bed!” Mom explained.
Later, when we had our garage sale, one woman laughed at us for how high our chicken fence was. Well listen, lady. For months our chickens wandered about the yard eating cat food and pooping on the porch, and no amount of wing-trimming made them stay put. We put up with it until the slug-poison incident, and then extra-high fencing it was, even if it does look a bit ridiculous.
Not gonna lie, though, the Last Great Chicken Chase was entertaining to watch.
A lot of the drama in our life is due to the barn-building project. For some reason this involves a lot of ditches being dug in the yard, and one of the ditches accidentally cut through the geothermal line that supplies our heating and cooling. We subsequently had a very cold miserable week. But then the warm weather showed up again, and we were fine except for one Very Hot Day last week.
There was much drama and excitement surrounding our garage sale the other weekend, including me trying to make a Japanese cheesecake with a pink rose agar layer, and then recruiting a bunch of my friends to try it out.
But one strange added layer to the day was the fact that our neighbors lost a goat. So in the middle of the general hustle and bustle of the sale, we were running off to the woods every time we heard a goat bleating, and trying to discern its general location.
Thankfully the goat was eventually found across the creek from Mom’s writing cabin.
The garage sale happened not only because Jenny, Amy and I are all moving this summer, but also because Ben and all his roommates are moving out of their house in Corvallis.
Ben’s house is a bit like the ship of Theseus. For years, 3-4 male Christian college students have resided there, being replaced one at a time until none of the original members remained at all. What did remain was abandoned stuff, like a frog clock, an artsy lamp held together with beige hair ties, and a tank top that said “Evan’s Bach Party” in large pink letters. Ben hauled piles of this abandoned stuff to our garage sale.
This included two stuffed chairs, one blue and one green, which never sold. Probably because several of us were usually sitting in them. They were comfy! And there’s something fun about sitting outdoors in an easy chair.
Anyway, they’ve remained in our carport ever since. The other day I was sitting in one, enjoying my morning tea, when I heard, “one, two, three, HEAVE! One, two, three, HEAVE!”
I walked across the yard to see what was going on. There were Amy and Jenny, pulling on a rope that was tied around a branch of the flowering pear tree.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“This branch is broken, and it’s resting on the porch roof,” said Jenny. “Mom wants us to pull it off because she’s afraid that it will fall on someone’s head during our graduation party.”
But the heaving didn’t seem to be doing much good, and Amy went up on the porch roof to see if she could shove it off from up there without falling from the roof. We still didn’t have much luck. “The branches are stuck in the gutter,” said Amy.
Jenny went inside to ask Mom where her chainsaw was, and meanwhile Matt, hearing the commotion, came out of the Airstream to ask what was going on. “I have something that might work,” said Matt. “How do I get up there?”
“You have to go up to my room and climb out the window,” said Amy.
Matt had a handheld circular saw, and as he disappeared inside again Jenny showed up. “I couldn’t find Mom,” said Jenny. “I think she’s out in the cabin. I looked in the carport but I couldn’t find her chainsaw.”
“Matt is helping out,” I said.
Just then Matt came around the corner of the porch roof. He sawed off the branches one by one, but I guess the circular saw wasn’t made for branches, or else it was just malfunctioning. We needed the chainsaw after all. So I went out in the cabin to get Mom.
By this time Phoebe had showed up too, so it really was a family affair. At least, a female family affair with Matt thrown in the mix. Mom found her chainsaw but the battery was dead, so we postponed the project for half an hour.
Once it was charged, Amy sawed branches, and, CRASH! Down came the limb. She sawed the main limb in half and we hauled it to the burn pile. (Well, the burn pile has been decimated by the ditches, but we hauled it to that general area.)
The final story of note happened the next morning. I was in my room, minding my own business, when I heard singing. “Huh,” I thought, “the barn builders must be playing their music loudly again.”
Then I heard a knock on our door. Going downstairs, I saw our neighbors and their friends, with roses in their hair and buttonholes, singing Christmas carols.
Yep, that’s right…Christmas carols in June.
It was highly entertaining, not gonna lie. When they were done I passed grapes around and asked what the bunnyslipper was going on. Apparently they were talking about family traditions, and someone mentioned Christmas caroling. So on a whim they decided to go Christmas caroling. (The roses, it seems, were from a different whim altogether that had nothing to do with the Christmas caroling.)
Anyway, they went to the Airstream first, which is when I initially heard the music. And then they came to our door.
Every time I visit cities, I’m amazed at how many interesting things always seem to be happening. But days like this remind me that interesting things happen in the country too, particularly in summertime.
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