Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Life Is A Highway...

That man I'm married to is quite a trip. Last weekend while out at the farm, Big Daddy decided to express his latent interior designer by hanging part of his license plate collection (???) in the basement. When I saw him sorting through a pile of rusty old metal, I couldn't help myself.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm choosing which license plates I'm going to hang up here at the farm."

Then I noticed a box of nails and a hammer right next to him as he continued to shuffle through his pile of plates.

"I hope you're planning to hang those things in the barn or the garage and not in the house," I said with a tad more urgency and a good dose of sarcasm.

"Nope. I'm hanging them right here in the basement. In every house we've ever had, I never have any say about anyplace but the basement, so I'm asserting my right to this space and hanging what I want on that wall right there."

So I'm thinking, 'Okay, then. It's the ugliest wall in the whole dang place, I'm working kind of a "Cowboys & Indians" decor for the farm anyway, so what the hell, rusty license plates sort of conjure faded Wranglers and old beat up trucks, why not let the guy have his fun?'

But what I said was more like, "Do what you want. But I suggest you start in the corner and work your way out. And I also suggest that random placement usually looks better than trying to figure out some sort of pattern. And - if I hate it, I'm taking it down." And I went back upstairs.

A lot of pounding noise came from the basement, and as much as I wanted to watch the process, I stayed upstairs. Even when the pounding ended, I kept myself otherwise occupied. And then, when Big Daddy and Dusty The Trail Dog (aka Lazy) went out for their requisite ride around the property, I sneaked a few snaps.

Truthfully, I think he improved the look of the wall. But I do hope his decorating itch has been permanently scratched.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's A Wild Life...

Yesterday, in the midst of an unusually heavy snow storm for St. Louis, Big Daddy and I loaded up the dogs and headed to the farm. Hey, if you're gonna be snowed in, why not make it in a place where you can have some fun? This is what we saw when we turned off the paved road...

As you can see, by the time we arrived the snow had stopped falling, and the sun was making every effort to bring us all the way up to freezing. It never made it, but we sure appreciated its effort!

As soon as we unloaded all our gear, the first order of business was to go on a hunt for some dead, dry wood. With so much of the "farm" wooded, there is no lack of dead wood. The trick is to find a tree that has fallen and gotten hung up somewhere above the ground out of the snow, but not so far above the ground that Big Daddy can't easily reach it and work his chain saw magic. 

I know, you're probably thinking, "Why in the world would they wait until there's snow on the ground to gather wood?" We didn't. Last summer and fall, we gathered lots of wood in the process of clearing out poison ivy, chigger habitat, cool paths down to the pond and more cool paths around the perimeter of the property - we just didn't get enough old, dead wood. See, we have lots of wood piles just like this one scattered around the back yard ...

...(yes, there really is about a cord of wood under that tree!), but those logs won't be ready for burning until next winter or even the following one. In the meantime, we get to pretend we're modern-day pioneers and go on wood quests. And that's where the wild life we lead usually leads us to the real wildlife - like this guy...

He and his momma must have been nesting in a tree that Big Daddy cut into logs and loaded into the back of the Mule. Why they waited to leave their nest until all the logs were loaded is beyond me, but there they were running around the bed of the Mule wondering what happened to their house. First Big Daddy grabbed the bigger one, but she immediately jumped out of his hands and burrowed into the loose undergrowth of the nearest tree. This little guy was much more skittish, and by the time we got him, he bailed out and hid under the back tire of the Mule. Every time I got  him to move, he just ran to the cover of another tire. I finally coaxed him out into the open, where I snapped a quick picture. I was afraid that, if I tried to pick him up again, he would run off in the wrong direction, so we left him right there hoping his momma would reclaim him before he froze to death or became a snack for one of the many predators around here. Such is the wild life of wildlife at Le Rustique.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Strange Sky...

I love the shows put on by Mother Nature! The other day at Le Rustique the wind picked up, and the sky did some strange stuff. First, everything outside got a sepia-ish cast to it as the sun tried to burn through the already gray sky. [BTW, this same ground had at least three-inches of snow on it for Christmas weekend, less than a week before.]

Then the wind quickly blew in some black, wispy clouds about halfway between the far western sky and the ground.

The wind, eerily silent, blew the clouds racing by the sun, which had finally burned a patch of blue through the gray. The sky went from dark to light to dark again, all in less than five minutes.

And then things turned very dark just as the thunder gave a brief, but loud, announcement of the rainstorm to follow. About that time, Big Daddy and LazyDog came rushing out of the woods with a load of wood in the back of the Mule and hurried to park in the garage to keep from getting soaked. Alas, no video to illustrate that event, since I was running back into the house to keep from getting soaked myself.