What’s That Smell?


Spring has sprung. I think I actually hate that phrase so put another way, the smell of lilac is abound. I had one lilac bush in Seattle. It was scrawny and totally overwhelmed by the big bad walnut tree very near it (my garden master sister calls the walnut a “litter tree.” All year round you get crap falling off that tree ). Here on the farm we have a hedge of lilac. The fragrant purple flowers all came out at the same time. The bees that were earlier swarming the willow blossoms, are now all over the lilac hedge. They smell amazing and look beautiful.

But more importantly, Minty is now four years old. This snuck up on us as she’s been the baby for so long. In the last two months she’s developed rapidly. What once was a sweet princess following her siblings around is now a sassy Mint-Meister with a vulgar sense of humor. Typical conversation with Minty:
You: Hey Minty!
[prototypical fart executed on command by said four-year-old]
Minty: haha! I burped with my bum!
You: What are you playing?
Minty: I’m a pretty princess. … you’re a Bum Smack!

[laughter ensues]


I’ve had to apologize at least twice when she endearingly replied to a guest, “yes, Poopy Pants.” I tried to explain that this was a name of approval and warm wishes. I’m not sure they approved or were wished warmly. She’s the type of princess who loves pink, ponies and Hello Kitty while wearing a pair of combat boots, sneaking chocolate and kicking her brother. At last she’s four and we’ll see how this year plays out. She was our very first “terrible three.” Lucy was “terrible x” At eight, I think we may be past that stage. Otto is Otto. Totally amazing and we’re fairly convinced he’ll still be here when he’s thirty planting seeds, catching crickets and playing with Lego (online or the real deal).

I bought the best baby tool ever which has freed me up to do a few extra farming things. Zélie is no longer a candidate for “the peanut.” This is a handy baby sling that I’ve been using to carry her while I do things (not work with the cows of course). She’s been porking up a bit and it’s too much to carry her like that. I put a “wanted” ad in the local Craig’s list type thing for a “pram.” I’m not even sure why I used this term, I never vocalize it and I hardly know what it means. A “pram” is a stroller. Anyway, someone replied with an off-road dealy that has so many useful bells and whistle I can hardly contain myself. She totally loves it. We set off on day one cutting all the brambles (that’s blackberries to you and me.) under the fence line. I’m sure this stroller has seen more off-road in one day than its entire existence.

Brent and I fenced Colorado, a HUGE paddock where the girls are headed to next. We’re using the vine posts that Michael and Brent have ripped out of the vineyard. Each post is a unique and special snowflake. Some are big. Some are round. Some have nails on the top that I rip out. Some are split. Some are pointy. And when they are set up the night before, they are slippery. But best of all, they are free. We made huge progress the last two days. With three posts to go we had to stop. The ground was too unforgiving so we might give it a Spartan try tomorrow with the back-hoe. We can do one, two or three wires for cows. Right now, there’s a whole lot of short, one wire, fences. They seem to work, but after our moment with frenzied heifers, I’ve seen first hand how they fail. I’m really liking the idea of three shiny, zappy wires. I think we’re going to do three wires for the perimeter and one or two for internal fencing depending on the internal-ness.

The weather is amazing. The kids play outside for hours. They use found objects to supply the needs of their game. This little spool has been more things than I can name. Yesterday it was a table used by Brent and me for our cup of tea. Today, it’s been a stage for Minty’s songs and a slide. I’ve resisted the temptation to by large, plastic outdoor toys. So far we have spool, gutter, old tire, rope, wood door with sand on top, long long wood beam and old metal door. It’s true, all objects are not smooth and contain sharp sides and splinters, but that just adds to the fun of it all.

6 thoughts on “What’s That Smell?

  1. Glad says:

    I agree, plastic toys are sooo boring. The imagination needs to develop and the world is loaded with fertile material. Hugs to all the farmers!!

  2. PeterJ says:

    Pram: as in Perambulator. A much better name than “stroller”. Wouldn’t you rather be out for a perambul (sic) than a stroll? From the Latin perambulatus, past participle of perambulare, ie, to walk thru, about, or over. Ok, that’s perambulate which is what you do with a perambulator. 🙂 I am constantly amazed by your photography Jean, and your toys are way better than plastic.

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