Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Farm Life

Oh Megan, where have you been?  What have you been doing?  Have you found a new job?  Read any good books lately? 

Answers:  Around, stuff, no and yes. 

Why have I not kept up on my blog entries of late?  Well, I could offer the excuse that I have been busy and it would not be a lie.  In the last two weeks I have started an internship that promises to be helpful in what promises to be a long and extremely arduous journey to gainful library-type employment.  It is also downtown, which makes for some adventures in the realm of travel in that I get to take the train. 

Additionally, I did have an actual job interview a couple of weeks ago.  Unfortunately, due to really good social networking I just found out that one of my fellow graduates was offered (and accepted) the position.  Before I even received my “Thanks, but NO” letter.  Always nice, but then again, I was not 100% sure it was something I wanted.  Not that anyone else is beating down the door…

In other book-related news, I am reading “The Hunger Games.”  Yes, I know, I gave in to the peer pressure.  But I have enjoyed them thus far and may even consider going to the film adaptation of the first book.  True, they are not destined for the halls of the classics, but they are very engaging and definitely make you think about the world we live in and what influences our daily lives and beliefs.

Enough with all that I have neglected.  Let’s move forward to this past weekend.

After consulting my calendar, I realized that I was due for a visit to the country.  So I cancelled my plans with friends and took the weekend off for farm country cavorting.  Truth be told, it was not as crazy and fun of a nightlife as my parents have led me to believe, but that is probably just because the bowling alley was not open on Saturday night when we wanted to stop in for free Bloody Mary’s courtesy of the owner.  Who happens to be related to me.

There is nothing quite like a visit to this part of the world to make me feel important.  Not because of anything I personally have accomplished but because of all the cache I have courtesy of the fact that I am somehow related to half the town.  And who really cares about the non-Norwegian half, right?

So the project of the moment-year-decade-century is to fix up the family farmhouse into a livable condition.  So far, the bathroom has been gutted and remodeled, the floors have been refinished and the roof has been replaced.  OK, so there are quite a few other things that have been done as well, but these are the only ones that I can remember at the moment.

Next up is the kitchen, which should be pretty sweet.  But for the moment, things are focused on cleaning out the front porch and getting a handle on the insect population.  Up until this week, the biggest problem was your basic housefly.  Or farmfly.  Whatever works for you.  When we arrived on Friday night, we were mildly surprised to find that the fly population had significantly diminished to give way to the Asian lady beetle party.  In situations such as this, the best weapon is the vacuum cleaner, but this can only do so much.  Eventually you must just sit back and accept that you are outnumbered by these creatures.

For someone like me with a long-standing fear/dislike of creepy crawlies, this could be a nightmare.  But for some bizarre reason, I did not have a problem.  Seriously.  I shared my room with several of these beetles and didn’t bat an eye.  I should probably have my head examined.

One of the “fun” things about going to the farmhouse involves “treasure hunting.”  You see, this house was built by my great-grandparents back in the 1930’s.  My grandfather grew up here and my father spent much of his childhood there as well.  The house is full of crawl-space-like closets and storage containing objects that may not have seen the light of day for more than 30 years.  If not more.

This weekend we found many genuinely “cool” things such as my great-grandmother’s old winter coats and my dad’s old record player.  Pictures are always fun. 

Former kitchen light fixture.  I have no sentimental attachment to it.
These bells toll for thee.
The People's Home Library:  everything you need to know in home health care, cooking and animal health, even horses. 
More farm animal health information.  From 1903.  Although I am not sure there is anything about that freaky little lion in it. 
I asked for a Glock, but they found me this.  Oh, and the third Hunger Games book.  How trendy am I?

We even found a 1000 mile ticket for the Great Northern Railway from 1899. 

Then there are the objects that are not exactly “cool.”  Old bolts, nails, broken glass.  Pictures of cats.  And of course, rocks.

Rocks?  The heck you say!  Are we talking about gemstones?  Diamonds, perhaps?  NO. 

Before I get carried away, let me make an admission.  As a child, I too collected rocks.  From the North Shore, from camp, from field trips.  At most, I probably had 10-20 rocks packed away which were later discarded by my parents.

Little did I know that I come from a long line of rock hoarders, much more advanced than I.  You see, when you grow up on a farm, rocks are a big part of your life.  You spend time out in the fields rock picking every year, but this serves a practical purpose.  In your field wanderings you may, however, come across some pieces that appear unique or worthy of further investigation.  So you put them in your pockets and bring them home.

You put your new collection anywhere you can find space.  Buckets and boxes are the obvious choices, but you do not hesitate to put them into containers that also contain construction materials, books, toys or other miscellany.  You will hang on to these treasures even after you get married, but you will be forced to keep them in the attic.  People will joke that your house is safe from tornadoes because you have rocks in the attic to weigh it down.

Many many years later, your granddaughter will find your rocks.  She will want to return them to nature, but your son, her father, will not allow this.  She will be asked to sort your rocks out of their storage containers and into special buckets until further geological identification can take place.  She will roll her eyes a lot in the process, but she will comply.  Not because she thinks it is a good idea, but because she feels a slight twinge of familial duty and knows that there is some of the rock hoarding genes in her own DNA. 

Because really, why WOULDN'T you?
Here we see the non-rock items found in the pictured containers.  That glass jar in the upper left is indeed an antique Miracle Whip container.  Be amazed.

So there you have it.  There are buckets of rocks, now in the farmhouse basement.  I intend to foist them on my brother at the earliest opportunity and make him take a shot at identifying them. 

If you were wondering what the family dogs did while my parents cleaned and I sorted rocks, here are some pictures:

They just had an argument.
It takes more than a couple of hot chicks to get Thor's attention.

No matter how hard they try.

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