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Wet world

Lead Summary

By Christine Tailer
HCP columnist

My farmer's tan has faded into pale oblivion.

The past two weeks of rain-washed, gray skies have led me to wonder if the world has flipped on its side and we are now living in what will soon be a rain forest.

The laundry has been accumulating in a damp, muddy pile by the washing machine. No point in washing our farm clothes when my outside line sags from just its own wet weight.

And the humidity inside the cabin has been hovering around 90 percent. Even if washed clean, the clothes would not come close to drying, inside or out.

My tall rubber boots, however, have become one of my best companions, but even they will not defy gravity. I have not been able to get up the courage to step out into the wet garden soil.

If only I could somehow float above the rows! I imagine walking down the muddy aisles on stilts made out of two by fours, but then how would I bend down to pluck the weeds and harvest the vegetables? So, I simply stand there and stare.

It is obvious to see that the weeds have once again proliferated, and even more sadly, I notice perfectly ripe cucumbers and squash, ready be picked.

I also notice a few giant-sized, no doubt bulletproof, zucchini, as well as several over ripe, yellow cucumbers. But I am fearful of the mess that my footsteps would leave behind. So, I forlornly wipe my wet hair from my forehead, and turn away, dreaming of drier weather. I also dream of goat boots.

The goats do not like wet feet, and ever since the rain started falling, they have been held captive inside their houses. They stand just inside their doorways, facing out, watching the rain fall. If they catch a glimpse of us, they bleat pathetically. I have spread fresh straw across their floors, but I know that this is a small consolation and does really make them happy.

The worms, thankfully, seem to be doing fine. I have checked their bin daily, for I would be very sad if the rain got in under their roof and they drowned. So far, their tin roof has kept the downpours at bay and they have thrived, oblivious of the weather outside.

Some of their wild brethren have not been so lucky. On our morning walks, I have noticed quite a few worms lying still in the puddles along the road. I have rescued some that I found still wiggling.

Then, during a brief break in the weather, we cut our clover field and raked it into windrows. The weather held for a day and we raked it back the other way, but the sky darkened again and we rushed to get out the square baler.

Half of the bales felt right and light. The other half were way too heavy, but we knew that our compost pile is always hungry. So, half of the bales we scattered across our – perhaps more appropriately called – compost mountain.

When I pass by, I can see the heat rise from its top, and smell the sweet smell of cooking clover.

And our winter wheat has not fared too well, either. During a break in the rain, a week or so ago, we made one pass with the combine. The kernels were still a bit moist. They felt like al dente pasta between our teeth.

So we decided to wait to bring it all in. Then the sky broke loose and it has not stopped since. I have lost count of the continuous days of rain.

And as the golden wheat stalks have begun to bend, the weeds beneath have begun to grow stronger and taller. Perhaps, with two dry days, we can still salvage the crop. If the weather does not cooperate, our compost pile might soon rival a landfill.

At this very moment, as I write, it has amazingly stopped raining. I can actually see blue sky between the clouds. The color looks brilliantly novel.

Greg has decided to mow the side yard. I decide to empty the rain gauge. Five inches, filled to overflowing. I am not sure of the last time I emptied it. Was it six, seven, or eight days ago? I really do not know, but no matter.

Maybe I'll see if I can get a load of laundry out on the line and dried before it starts to rain again. Maybe so, maybe not, but no matter. The weather will simply be what it will be, but there is one good thing.

I may have lost my farmer's tan, but I really think that all this moisture in the air has done wonders for my complexion!

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

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