By CHRISTINE TAILER
I woke up Friday morning with a feeling of excited anticipation. I do not know if it was the crisp, fall air, or simply knowing that it was Friday; but whatever the cause, I was excited by the unmistakable feeling of a weekend filled good things to come.
I went about my lawyerly things all day Friday looking forward to getting home, but shortly after I pulled onto the creek road, I simply stopped the car and peered up through the windshield. The late afternoon sun shone brightly through the canopy of blazing maple and sycamore trees that arched overhead. I slowly drove on, feeling as though I was passing through a gauntlet of fall fire.
A short way down the road, I came upon one of our township trustees driving back up the creek. We stopped, driver's window to driver's window, and he explained that the road ahead was blocked by a repair crew, laying new blacktop across a large slump.
He hoped that I was not in any hurry and told me that he had given Greg a bag filled with horseradish just waiting to be planted. I told him that I knew of just the right spot to start a horseradish bed and thanked him ever so much. We talked some more and then I headed on down the road as he headed back up to town.
A bit farther on down the road I came upon the road crew. I watched as a large dump truck poured out the blacktop, a road grader spread it thin, and a steel-wheeled compactor rolled over it and pressed it smooth.
When the crew beckoned me to proceed, I drove over what felt like the most perfect road in the county.
As I woke up Saturday morning, I realized that the feeling of anticipation was still with me.
We were heading into the city, first to a bookstore to look for books on gourd art. I have just discovered the joy of decorating last year's dried gourds. I found several books at the county library, but I was curious to see if I could find some more at the bookstore.
We were also going to stop by leather-working and wood-working stores just north of the city in search of dyes and burning tools that I could use to decorate the gourds.
With two bags of gourd supplies in hand, we then headed off to our favorite antique mall, my feeling of anticipation still in tow. We walked slowly up and down the aisles, picking up things here and there. As I looked at a pretty, green glass pitcher, Greg called me over. He stood beside a large brass kettle with iron handles. I turned over the tag. It read "candy kettle."
We had been looking at large brass kettles for several years. I have been making apple butter in a five-gallon stainless steel pot perched atop a propane fired tripod, but I have had hopes of placing wood fire embers under a large brass kettle as I stir down the apple butter.
I picked up the pot. Its walls were thick and it was amazingly heavy, but even more amazing, the price was less than half of what we had found before.
I put the pot back down and we continued to wander up the aisles, but my heart was no longer into looking. I was dreaming of stirring apple butter back at the farm. Greg finally said "Let's go get that pot," and we did. If it had been any smaller, I would have held it in my lap on the drive home. We arrived back at the farm just in time to close up the chickens before dark.
And then this morning I woke up expecting my feeling of excited anticipation to be gone, but no! It was still there.
After morning coffee and a walk with the dogs, I settled in at the cabin table to write a legal paper, when I heard what sounded like a tractor driving down the road. I looked up to see our neighbor pull in by the tobacco barn. He had a hay conditioner in tow. I could see him talking to Greg and when I got to a place where I could pause, I walked down the hill to the barn. The conditioner was by now unhitched and Greg smiled as he introduced me to our latest piece of antique farm machinery.
I returned to my writing, and then a friend, who we had met at our open house, stopped by with his wife to drop off three young peach trees he had started from seed, as well as several rhubarb plants and a handful of rhubarb seeds. The little trees were beautiful as were the starts. I knew just where to plant them all.
My legal paper is now finished. The dogs lie sleeping under the table as I write, and that feeling of anticipation is gone, but I know that it is just for the moment.
I have a beautiful new road to drive along, a horseradish bed to cultivate, gourds to decorate, apple butter to make, and peach trees and rhubarb to plant.
Greg sits in his chair searching online for a manual for the conditioner. I know that he will soon have it running as good as new.
What a wonderful weekend it has been.
Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.