Tuesday, January 18, 2005

This Old Farm House

Well - we made it through our first weekend on the farm. The first night was a bit rough. Us City slickers are not used to such darkness. Luckily we found that we get great radio reception in the house and were able to distract ourselves from the quiet with that.

When Ernie looked out the kitchen window his first remark was
"Dude, it's like we're under water. It is so dark. I can't see anything."
And there you have it. Being in the farm house at night is like being under water - except the air is really, really good.

On Saturday morning we had a bit of a fiasco. We realized that our cell phones, in fact, did not get service on the farm. For some reason we remembered them working when we were there in November and so did not call to have the land line turned on. Not only were we physically more than a mile from the next human, we could not call anyone either.

When we went out in the morning to drive to the post office we found that the van we had borrowed from my father was in trouble. It started, but one of the rear wheels was locked. I slid about 500 feet down the driveway before realizing one tire was not moving. By this time we had already landed one of the front wheels in the brook that runs alongside the upper part of the drive. It turns out one does not have great control over an all-wheel-drive vehicle when one of its wheels refuses to move. We were sure we had broken something underneath the vehicle on one of our trips down the dirt drive.

Since we could not call for help we set off down the drive on foot. 3/4 of a mile with no breakfast and no coffee at 8am. There was a guy on his way with 4 tons of rock at 10:00 am and we had to be back by the time he arrived. If we could not get the van out of the way we were afraid he would not be able to turn his dump truck around to dump the gravel for the drive.

We walked in the freezing cold to the end of the drive where we still had no cell phone service. From there we walked about another mile - up hill - to the little deli/variety/hunting goods store on the main road. The proprietor, Yablonsky, happens to be the nephew of the woman from whom we bought the farm. He is happy to meet us but can't help us to move our van. He sells us a roll of quarters instead. I try to call my mother, in Connecticut, from the pay phone outside, but it won't work. I end up calling her collect. Luckily she tells me that my father is on his way and had left about a half hour ago. Ernie and I jump for joy that daddy is coming to save the day! (Pathetic really, at this rate we will never make it as country folk).

Ernie is on the pay phone with my mother giving her instructions to relay to my father. I see a big dump truck barreling down the road and flag him down - figuring it had to be our rock guy, Wayne. Sure enough he pulls into Yablonsky's parking lot and Ernie jumps on board while I am left on the phone with my mother. They leave me there while they go dump the gravel.

After another 10 minutes confirming directions with my mother, and giving her emergency numbers for my dad to call if he gets lost (since there will be no way for him to get in touch with us), my legs and face are entirely numb. I set off down the road towards home. After about 1000 feet I start to jog. Walking just didn't seem to make sense at that point - why walk when you can run? Here I am , in my hiking boots, green khaki pants and multicolored Columbia jacket, running down a windy, steep mountain road. Two cars pass me and I wave, as if there is nothing odd about a 30-something woman jogging down a rural mountain road in hiking boots and khakis, at 10 in the morning on a 15 degree day. They don't wave back.

I get to my drive and just keep running. Now an even greater challenge - trail running. I leap over fallen branches, stones and puddles, all the while not feeling a thing because my legs are so numb. I think briefly of the Polar Bear swim on January 1st and how I pulled my back muscles without knowing it due to the numbing cold of the water. I keep running. I run past Ernie, I run past the guy dumping a ton of gravel, I run right into the house where I promptly stand over the hot air vent. I lie down on the bamboo couch (more on that another time) and rub the crap out of my now purple legs until the feeling begins to return. I feel good for the running - but the numbness is a bitch.

Ernie comes into the house after Wayne has finished dumping his stone and tells me a theory. Wayne told him the brake drum on the tire probably froze over night in the severe cold. I think to where I parked the van the night before - in direct path of one of the 30 mountain springs on the property. The wheel had been sitting in the middle of flowing water all night long. Wayne suggested banging the wheel with a hammer. We did. It moved. Crises ended.

Dad showed up about an hour and a half later expecting to find his van broken and in a ditch. Luckily for all of us that was not the case.

Lesson #1
Never park downstream of a spring, in its path

Lesson #2
If you think you get cell phone service in a remote area, check twice to be sure

Lesson #3
Always carry a pre-paid calling card

Lesson #4
Everyone you meet has something to teach you

More farm weekend pictures will be posted later tonight or tomorrow, along with more stories. This may spin off into it's own blog This Old Farm House.....

1 comment:

stephanie said...

That sounds amazing and awesome, guys! I can't wait to check out the farm. I also love that you are using Bernard's wheelbarrel. I am sure that he would be thrilled!!