Cappers Farmer Blogs > Old Dog, New Tricks

One Task at a Time

Mary ConleyDear friends,

We weren't able to go to the farm for three weeks, so we were not surprised at the amount of work awaiting us. Spring is for planting, but everything else needs attention at the same time. For us, that means a lot of mowing, weeding and thistle patrol. Todd and Nancy had lived there the past three years so there were many hands to share the various jobs. Now, it is just us on long weekends, and with bodies that have slowed down considerably, we need to think, "One task at a time."

Soon after we arrived, we encountered two surprise jobs to take up our valuable time. First, Larry turned on the water to the house, and the hot water pipe under the kitchen sink came apart and quickly flooded an area. Next, we discovered that the wonderful rain, that turned into a heavy wet snow three weeks earlier, was too much weight on one of the netted beds and caused four posts to collapse. Neither repair job was difficult, but they were time consuming. Larry also had other challenges and became quite discouraged. Some days are like that. They are inevitable. At our age, we've run into quite a few of them and know that "this too shall pass." Yes, things got better, and we soon became "farm happy" again!

We prioritized our jobs to make sure the important things got done. I harvested and froze asparagus, transplanted some flowers, planted more strawberries and part of the kitchen garden. I cut potatoes, Larry prepared the ground and we planted them. He also cleaned out the eaves troughs to prevent water seeping into our basement.


This is me with my fifth appendage – my antique spade.

Larry still managed to get some of the mowing done, and we did thistle patrol together! I have an exclamation mark there because it is one of my favorite things to do. I've become addicted. It started the first summer we bought the farm, (read "The Weed Commissioner,") and has continued ever since. It is our goal every year to not let a single thistle bloom and spread its zillion seeds. With only a spade for a weapon, we have won many battles and only have a skirmish now and then.


Fruit trees in bloom.

So, what was it that made us "farm happy" again after that first trying day? Well, our equipment starting and working properly. Noticing our fruit trees in bloom. Checking on trees we had planted last fall and seeing life. Pruning two trees the horses had nibbled and knowing the trees survived. Eating fresh asparagus. Seeing June-bearing strawberries in bloom. The rhubarb about ready to harvest. My Mother's Day peony bush with buds! Looking over the lower pasture and seeing spring green instead of dry brown from the drought. Listening to and watching quite a variety of birds. Peace. The beauty and peace never end.


This picture of a honeybee working the sweet corn one year was taken by our granddaughter, Erin.

Then there are the honeybees. I've never told you about when we bought a hive, all the paraphernalia, and of course, the bees. We so enjoyed watching them gather pollen here and there! Then, last spring they swarmed. I was indignant. I was hurt! Why would our bees leave their nice home? I felt divorced. Todd, however, was consoled that they were at least on our farm. He was right. They not only outgrew their hive, but must have reproduced many, many times more. They are everywhere! All over the multitude of dandelions in the yard, the lilac bush by the walk, and the patches of purple wild flowers. The whole time I cut asparagus and planted strawberries, there was a constant whirring of busy bees working the gooseberry bushes. There must be hundreds and hundreds of them. At least! We may not be able to gather their honey, but we know they are alive and well!

I've rattled on, so I must stop for now. I hope you can get outdoors, too, and enjoy this beautiful time of the year. If you feel overworked or overwhelmed, just remember, "One task at a time!"