Mike has a bit more on his plate today than planned. I fell last night bringing a load of work clothes in from off the line and broke my ankle, so I’m here on the couch, foot elevated, enjoying the air conditioning and playing on the computer. Thank goodness, I at least got the living room picked up, mowed some, and scoured the kitchen well yesterday. As a helpmate today, however, I’m a sorry excuse, though he kindly informed me yesterday he wouldn’t fire me! Good to know.
After he takes the dogs to go feed and water the cattle and their daily exercise, he’ll pick shiitake mushrooms by himself and package them to take to the Farmers Market. They are making up some kind of boxes and want to include them along with other Kentucky Proud items. Then he’ll run to the bank, a job I normally do when I’m in the city…of course the city is an hour away, but it is my normal responsibility. When he returns from that, he can begin planting soybeans four hours later than planned and in the heat of the day. I don’t know what time he’ll stop for the day, but it may be close to dark…and unless he’ll be happy fixing himself a sandwich, he’ll have to cook dinner and walk the dogs too. He needs a clone!…and here I sit feeling guilty. Not to mention that I don’t see any fishing in my near future either. Bummer.
I caught my first fish in New Hampshire when I was six. A childhood spent aboard an Air Force base usually is not conducive to fishing and I spent six of my first seven years abroad, so getting to go with my father was a special time to begin with and landing that big fish was amazing. I made my father promise to bring it home with us, so I could show my friends and he consented, placing the fish in a bucket of water for it to swim around in until we got back home. Seems a six-year old’s idea of a big fish differs vastly from an adult’s view.
When Dad retired from the military, I was eleven. Now there was plenty of places for fishing, but little time, so we did not take it up until I had children of my own. At every opportunity he, the boys, and I headed off for the nearest lake to fish for crappy, blue gill, and bass from the shore. I remember one evening, as a storm formed, he and I caught over forty blue gill in about fifteen minutes as the fish bit almost as quickly as we could take one off the hook and cast the same worm out. We had a great time!
Mike and I also fish when we can, even though I don’t think it’s often enough. We fish from the creek bank and often from the tailgate of his truck. Funny thing is, I don’t really care if I catch a fish. I enjoy the quiet, the tree-lined creek, the sound of the birds and the occasional blue heron that flies in for a meal. It is a sense of peace that seems to feed my soul. In that, I take after my father.
Mike, however, is an impatient fisherman. He casts out and waits for a nibble patiently enough, but often moves from spot to spot, always seeking a better place and a larger catch. He too enjoys nature, but I am not sure how relaxing it is for him. I think he feels guilty for the taking time, unless he has other friends along to entertain, tease, or in the case of a couple, laugh at when they tangle their lines or fall in the water. Some of those friends are experts in catching tree bass. You know, the kind you land when you accidentally cast your lure into a waterside willow or elm. Often, I am the only woman along, since many of these friends are city-folk and their women would not be caught dead baiting a hook.
Maybe it is my comfort in being around ‘guy stuff’ that kindles my interest in learning about farming– after all I was the only girl in my family. I don’t mind climbing under a car to fix something or getting my hands dirty. I like to do construction work, too. I find welding fascinating. And I am always interested in learning new things. I am no tomboy, though. I still like ballet and opera, makeup and clothes, manicures and pedicures, and chick flicks. In that way, I think I generally fit today’s farm woman.
Now if I was not so klutzy.
I am going to miss being outside today helping Mike or just being nearby to fetch tools, ask questions, or hand him a beverage. When he fills his plate at dinner tonight, I must remember the full plate he had today and thank him for it.