Wife, writer, tinkerer, grower of food. I'm happiest outside our rambling farmhouse with a basket looped on my arm, picking dinner from the garden. That's joy right there. Please follow along; I'm so glad you're here!
Oh man, what a WEEK! I was on the man-lift at the stroke of 9 every morning, with hot tea, and I spent my lunch hours planting spinach and repotting houseplants and coring tomatoes, and my afternoons writing writing writing the ten articles I was responsible for writing this week. And I spent an afternoon hauling home farm stand produce, because my squash plants are done, and my tomato plants have yet to produce more than a handful of tomatoes (!), and an afternoon and two evenings canning tomatoes, freezing squash, picking beans, and making curry paste. In between all this I slept fitfully, walked the dog, made dinner using the one available stove-burner, and felt bad about all the other things I didn't manage to get done because I was busy painting, writing, canning. Sheesh!
This is the time of year when being a homesteader can feel like a tremendous pain in the ass, and really, the only way I've found to make myself feel better about the task is to tell people, Patrick and my mom and you guys, I did all this stuff and it was hard! So there, I said it. It is worth it, but it is hard.
I kind of love that it's hard, but oddly, that doesn't make me any less apt to gripe about it, at times.
Anyway, I got to take a day off... two weeks ago now... to go to my home county's county fair, and it was SPLENDID!
I tell people, I grew up at this fair, and I mean it. My dad, the cabinet maker, had a booth in one of the commercial tents all week, starting when I was six and lasting until I was about 15, when he decided he had enough customers and didn't need to work at attracting new ones. So, for the very cream of my childhood and early adolescence, I was a fair brat. I was pretty young, I think, when my parents started letting me navigate the fair by myself, with the understanding that I would under no circumstances cross the Midway and comingle with carnies and shills. The Delaware County Fair is a big one, so that was satisfactory to me. That meant I had the two commercial tents, the Grange, the Art Show, the Sportsman's Association area, the 4-H building, the Historical Association tent, the petting zoo, the animal barns, the horse ring, and innumerable ice cream, hot dog, and funnel cake stands all to myself. At least in the early mornings, it was pretty much All Mine.
It was great to be back there for a whole day, enough time to take in everything twice, to really stand and look at table settings and analyze why the Grand Prize won the Grand Prize. Enough time to access the quality of light in the eye of the painting of the Native American girl that won Best in Show; enough time to mind-meld with a Jersey cow, and give in to the slowness and bigness of the fair, and lose myself.
I've brought Patrick to the fair before, and he's content to look at everything once. Any more than once and his interest ebbs. And if I ask him to contend with the crowds for more than two hours he starts to get a steely look in his eye. Not steely in a good way, either.
So it was good to be there by myself and take it all in, all of it, at exactly the pace I wanted to travel. Fairs are such special things: the pride, the simplicity, the effort. The complete lack of pretension. It's really pretty magnificent. It was a good day to be there.