Friday, March 25, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Meanwhile, Mike, who had already repaired baseboard in the house while we were fussing outside, was laying out the irrigation system, assisted by Debbie and Chris. When we connected it to the hose and tested it, it worked perfectly. We attached a timer to it, which I had to get up and turn on at 5:00 AM on Monday in order to set the cycle correctly. By Saturday afternoon the garden was set up. Mike, David, and I drove across the road to purchase some bales of hay from Herb to use for mulch around the plants as they came up. Hopefully this will conserve moisture and smother out some of the weeds.
I left Saturday night to fly to Dallas and to preach at FBC, McKinney (where I’m currently serving as Interim Pastor). The group, I was later told, was so wasted by the work, that they fell asleep early. On Sunday morning the guys watched while the ladies planted all manner of seeds in the rich soil: four kinds of watermelons, cantaloupes, a variety of squashes, carrots, peas, beans, and other good things. When we return in a couple of weeks, we hope to weed the plots and place the hay mulch around them.We have no idea whether all this effort will pay off with actual produce, but that’s the experimental dimension of the X-Garden.
Melinda and I returned to the farm on Friday for Spring Break and set about our tasks. She had a paper to work on for a couple of days and I picked up where I had left off painting at Christmas break. Sunday morning we sat in the den, drinking coffee and gazing out the front windows. A flock of turkeys crossed the driveway into the wheat field. We’ve not seen these birds before. The big tom following the flock stopped to puff his feathers and spread his tail as if posing for a photo. They meandered across the field to the fence line while we watched.
We visited First Baptist Church for the first time and enjoyed worshipping with that community of faith. We’ll do that as often as we able. Lunch was at Jack’s Café in town, and then we made a side trip the Lodi Cemetery, an overgrown Mexican graveyard next to the auto parts store on 10th Street. Burials there began in the late 1800s when Lodi was the county seat. One of the graves was marked as that of a Texas Ranger.
Sunday evening Melinda joined me in the painting. By Tuesday afternoon we’d painted three baths, the utility room, Grammy’s old sewing room, and the master bedroom. A group of guys from East End Glass showed up and removed and replaced the double-pane glass in twenty-one windows. For the first time in who knows when we could see clearly out all our windows. Everything was done. We packed our suitcases and drove the three hours back to Waco late that evening. Early Wednesday morning we drove two hours to Arlington for Clint Dobson’s funeral and, when that was done, six hours back to the farm.
We awoke Thursday morning to the sun rising though our now clear bedroom windows. A doe walked across the drive toward the wheat field, where we’d seen the turkeys earlier. While Melinda returned to her studies on Thursday, I cleaned up the painting mess and did some shopping around town to get ready for some outdoor projects we had planned: building a fence around our garden, laying down a drip irrigation system with a timer, and repairing a few baseboards in the house. At dusk a Great Horned Owl posed in a mesquite tree southwest of the house. (We found later one of his owl pellets on the roof under our big oak tree.)
Friday I mowed around the house, first with the walk behind mower, because Murray, the big, ancient lawn tractor refused to start. I told Melinda that we had kept him alive long enough. It would be time to replace him this season. He must have heard me, because when I tried again to start him (after mowing with the other machine for two hours), he cranked right up. So he helped me get finished just in time for our first guests to arrive.
David and Diann drove over from Pleasanton, about thirty miles away. We shared a cup of coffee and the remains of an Almond Joy Pie from the Texas Pie Company in Kyle that Melinda had picked up on the way to the farm earlier. We climbed in David’s Jeep and made the short drive over to Poth to Wiatrek’s Meat Market to pick up some steaks and bacon for the weekend. Having taken care of dessert, it was time for dinner. At my suggestion, we decided to try the Wildcat Grill and Saloon in McCoy, about 25 miles back toward Pleasanton. I’d read about the place in the Wilson County News some months earlier and it sounded good. We should have called first. It had been closed for a while. So we drove back to Floresville to dine at the Maverick Grill, a roadhouse on Hwy 181 outside of town.
Jimmy and Chris showed up before long. Then Mike and Pamm. Finally, Terry and Debbie. Friends formerly known as The Pizza Group, gathered for a weekend at the farm with lots of laughing, eating, and (as it turned out) working. More on the projects in the next post.