We’re traveling down the length of Utah in a dense fog. It’s cold, hovering around 30 degrees, which means it’s a frozen dense fog. We drive in a cloud tunnel seeing only a truck loom ahead and disappear behind . Our story on Audible has ended, and so we talk. We’ve agreed to buy Tommy’s truck, and there is nowhere in the basement garage of the Crane Building to park the monster. We think that if we close off both ends of the barn/shed on the farm, we could safely leave the truck there.
“We could use one of the gates,” I say. There are eight to ten farm gates lying around the property in various states of decay.
“I was just thinking that,” Larry says. “I could do it myself. But first we have to shovel out the floor.”
I object. “I like the straw,” I say. it smells nice and barn/sheds should be carpeted with straw.
“Except it’s only straw for the first ten feet. Then it’s just dried dung,” Larry says.
Dung? The word sounds odd to my ear. Like something elephants might produce on their African savannah, not cows just southwest of Corvallis. But what is the right word? I reflect that in my quasi-farm childhood, we did not discuss bodily functions occurring in the barnyard. So for now, I’m sticking with Road-Guy Ken’s usage: cow poop. Can be either noun or verb. So, fine, but am I really going to talk of cows “peeing,” the obvious corollary? Hmm.
“Great,” I say. “We can shovel it all out and spread new straw and use the old stuff as compost for the orchard trees. Are you going to mind shoveling dried cow pies into your new truck bed?”
Of course he won’t mind. That’s what trucks are for. We drive on. I think about our barn owl. Male or female? I think about our apple trees, safely tucked away at Shonards Nursery in Philometh. I think about the new cows. Time passes.
Now, after ten days, we’re back in Portland. A cold, frosty morning. On the way home yesterday, we stopped by the farm to greet the new cows. Except we couldn’t find them. Without our farm boots, we couldn’t go wading around the hollers looking. Had to be satisfied to see that at least the electric fence is strung. Cows must be there somewhere, or . . . maybe I will get to watch them arrive after all? A nice thought!
We picked up a permit application for removal of the old house at the county offices in Corvallis, stopped by the nursery to get the schedule for tree-pruning lessons offered in early February. Got some recommendations for a fence builder who will know how to keep the elk herd out of the orchard, and came on home.
To an amazing phone call: a local farmer wants to rent our barn to shear his sheep! Seriously, this is so cool. Three hundred sheep per day, for 7 or 8 days, overnighting in our barn and getting fleeced by itinerant shearers the next morning. I cannot wait to see this spectacle! There will be photos — stay tuned!