Letter in February 2013 ~ The Turning of Time is Daily Life


I had an old friend who lived in California. He built houses for a living but was also a wood craftsman who built a shop full of musical instruments in his younger years. He was an incredible musician as well and was apart of the music industry in Los Angeles during the 1960’s. When I was still a teenager, I helped him deliver a harpsichord he made for a client who lived in the Hollywood Hills. We hauled it up what seemed to be more than two hundred steps or maybe it was two thousand. It was an all muscle job, trouble was I didn’t have any and my skinny legs quivered all the way up.

He once told me that the more you play a guitar the better it sounds because the sound waves change the resonance of the wood. He knew musicians who would put radios up to the hole of a new guitar and let it play nonstop 24/7 to season the instrument.

It makes me wonder about these old abandon houses that dot the landscape here. Houses once homes that stood for generations where voices and sounds have seasoned the walls. At one time they were someone’s dream, now looking sadly shipwrecked of grey and rust. Many of those broken out windows were the first worldview children had to shape their own dreams. Embedded in the walls are stories only those alive then and ghosts now could tell you. Whispers, laughter, prayers, dreams and tears, high moments, low moments, people who found their way and some who got lost and never did….

Winter has been mild as predicted. It has been uneventful other than getting two ticks in January after tromping around in the woods. That’s unheard of in the middle of winter and it makes me wonder what we could be in for this summer.

I have my seed starters planted, under the window and near the woodstove. I am convinced that this year’s garden will be better than the last and not as good as the next. I’m gaining on it!

We slaughtered our steer Stew last month. He was happy all the way up and beyond the pulling of the trigger. He was in mid-blink when suddenly he stepped into greener pastures and warmer days.

I didn’t do the work myself like I did before I reached this age of bodily decrepitude. I hired it out to a local “Slaughter guy” so Stew would have a humane end.

Slaughter guy left the gut pile in the middle of our pasture for the wild life to clean up, birds by day and coyotes and bobcats by night. At first it looked like an alien life form growing out there as the stomach began to swell from the gases. Then the buzzards punched a hole in it and deflated it to get that methane buzz they like so well. That’s why they’re called buzzards; look it up on the internet, you’ll see.

Usually the buzzards leave the area in the fall by catching whirling thermal drafts, sailing in circles up and up until they reach the top and then sail south and catch another one miles away after they lose altitude. Yet there are always a few that draw the short straw and have to stay behind and work the winter shift.Image

Stew finished out just as I hoped and nothing like the first steer we raised here. Then I partnered up with an ole boy who listened to a steady diet of country music. He was from Chicago but since retiring he put on a cowboy hat and changed the dial on his radio. Since I worked in Hollywood a few times he didn’t think I knew much about this sort of thing even though I had a lot of exposure to animal husbandry when I did field slaughtering in my younger years, got a scar up my lower back to prove it. Well that first steer he and I did together didn’t turn out too well on country music so this time I raised it on rock-n-roll and it couldn’t have turned out bigger or better! It rocks to the bone!!

We have six roosters right now and they have recently learned to crow. Around 3:00 AM one of them starts crowing when it wakes up and sees our porch light on. But as soon as it turns toward the wall, it forgets what it was about to say and goes back to sleep. But when dawn actually arrives, they all start competing for airtime at only a couple hundred feet from our bedroom window. Then throughout the day those 6 roosters go after the 9 hens so there’s a lot of screams for help out there that I let go unanswered. I do notice that the roosters have favored one hen over others but I’m yet to figure out what they see in her…. breasts, thighs, drumsticks? Who knows?

I like living in an agricultural area. I like living far away from convenience.  Not having that instant gratification causes me to pause, think and appreciate “source”. Seeing tractors, cattle trucks and other farm implements while driving around gives me a comfortable feeling. A safe feeling like all is right with the world. I love the smells of earth, forests, rivers and lakes, the sounds of nature, too many to say. Growing a big garden and raising animals for food, breaks down the wall that normally separates people from their food source. I like watching my food grow from little seeds. I like digging up the earth and planting them in the ground, then the excitement of the season’s first sprouts coming up! By summer we don’t have enough counter space to hold all the produce and the quality is unbeatable!! It’s been good for the grandkids too. Growing up with all these things as normal teaches them a healthy perspective about the circle of life.

So here we are in the Land of Oz. It will be five years at the end of February. Time goes by quickly. Five years this home has heard so many things already, so many stories, so many friends sharing laughter. We have embedded ourselves into these walls and the continuing history of the Ozarks and too soon we will leave our whispers for others to wonder about.

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. 

Crowfoot ~ April 1890 ~ His last words

Published in: on February 9, 2013 at 9:20 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sign me up for your first book..I would pay to read this! Love you guys.

  2. Aaaaahhhhhh, as always such a treat to read!

  3. Great to see a new post and share in your lives a little again. Such a blessing to live like you do!

  4. Beautiful! Thank you for the pause in my urban life. I make a point of not getting around to reading your post until I can slow down enough to savor it.

    • Thank you Sandy, I do the same. I have to pause and slow down before I can hear anything you will read later.

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