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  • Writer's picturejamesbriankerr

Peaceable Man Files #1: Making Preparations

Note: This is the first in a new weekly series of musings on life at my cabin in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania and wherever else my gypsy existence takes me. All views my own, so don’t bother trying to peddle them because you won’t get much.

April 2, 2022

I spent most of the week up at the cabin, where the weather started cold, turned warm and stormy mid-week, and then went back to cold again by the end of the week. The storms were rather intense, as they can be up here in the mountains. For a day and a half, the wind blew gusts of rain at the house and turned the fields into pools of standing water, which made walking the dog a challenge. I enjoy my walks with Cassie around the fifty-acre property and find them to be quite peaceful and meditative, but the prospect of setting out with the dog loses its luster when she comes back a muddy mess and needs a bath two or three times a day.

Further complicating my Cassie walks this week was the fact that the local farmer had spread manure on the fields the day before I arrived. Cow manure does wonders for bringing up a tall crop of hay and alfalfa for the herd, but it sure does stink to high heaven, and when you have a dog, you also have the problem of that dog wanting to roll in those piles of stinking manure. It’s always found this to be a dog’s most disgusting habit, and so the bottom line was that between the rain and the manure, Cassie and I didn’t do a lot of field walking this week.

It was okay, because I had things to do. Spring is here, the growing season is upon us, and that means I need to ready the equipment for mowing. I switched the snow plow off the Kubota, changed the oil and filter, lubricated the grease joints, sharpened the blades and mounted the mowing deck (thanks, Dad, for teaching me all this stuff). I rather enjoy being out there on the tractor on a warm summer day spinning around the yard while soaking in the rays—that is, until I get to late September, when I start getting tired of it. It’s human nature, isn’t it? What excites us one day bores us the next.

By the time I left the cabin to drive back home at noon on Friday, the tractor was ready for the summer, even if the weather felt anything but summer-like. It was sleeting and snowing when I headed out, and I took it slow on the roads. By the time I started south on the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the snow had turned to rain, but it was still a rather miserable drive.

When I got back to the townhouse in Harleysville, however, I was delighted to find that the pots Rachael and I had planted for the vegetable garden were starting to sprout. So far, the tomatoes, summer squash, beans and cilantro are all up. So cool!

I owe my love of love of planting to my late father, who grew up on a dairy

farm and enjoyed nothing more than tending to his garden on the six-acre farmette where I grew up. (Check out my tribute to him and his love of the soil, My Father's Last Garden, that I penned last Father's Day.) It struck me, as I was experiencing an upswell of joy at seeing the pots starting to sprout that the pleasure I was feeling was my father’s as well, and connected me to him still, even though he’s been gone for two and a half years now.

The past never dies, and what sleeps in the winter comes back again in the spring.

Have a peaceful week.

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