The rain is needed, but probably not very welcome for a gal I met yesterday. A friend of mine had sent a text a few days ago asking if I was interested in letting someone cut the hay on the other acreage I own. I never turn down money so of course I said yes. He hooked us up with phone numbers, and I agreed to meet her there yesterday when she got back from a trail ride with her girls.
She had said they should be back around 4:30 or 5, so when 5:30 rolled around with no word from her I got in the truck and headed that way, figuring the 1/2 hour drive would give her time to get the horses unloaded and contact me. On the way past the pond I tried, for the umpteenth time, to get a pic of the turtles sunning on a submerged log. Even with the truck just quietly idling along, as soon as I cleared the hill and became visible to them they all dove off into the water, and I thought that all I was left with was a photo of the splash as usual, but after zooming way in I can see 5 of them on the stump to the far left that hadn't ditched yet, and a couple that were making their escape are partially visible diving off the stump to the right.
There are often 20 or more sliders sunning there, although the tree, which was taken down by beavers several years ago, has been getting more and more waterlogged and sinking deeper so there's not nearly as much surface area for them to bask on. I'm afraid in another couple years the tree will be completely submerged, and I have thought about putting some form of floating dock out there for them, but I don't own the pond and haven't talked to the owner yet about my plan. I also startled a couple of the ducks into flight as I crept past the pond in the truck...
and managed to snap a quick shot of one of the red-tailed hawks that hunts along my road.
Taking back roads and wandering slowly, I stopped at my friend's place to feed his cats since his son had forgotten to do it before they left for the weekend. There's usually a whole herd of farm cats at his place, but they must have all been hiding out from the heat when I was there since the only ones that showed up to eat were a tortoise shell mama and her two half grown kittens. Whenever I stop at my friends' place they're always trying to give me kittens, and I always politely decline. This little calico girl really is adorable though.
Her brother looks like a pretty run-of-the-mill orange and white kitty when peering at me from under the truck, but he has the most amazing dark orange spiral markings on both sides.
My friend tried to foist a kitten or two off on me a couple weeks ago when I stopped to buy some sweet corn and green and yellow beans (his wife market gardens, all non-GMO organic produce) and I was strong, firmly saying NO. The little calico female is sure adorable though, isn't she? I don't need another cat, Mr. K is doing great in the travel trailer, and there are 3 fat orange boys at the house in TN who belong to my daughter, and I don't think any of them would take too kindly to a rambunctious little kitten racing and chasing through the house (or camper).
I actually found myself looking at puppies online the other day. I DON'T need another dog, either. But my Dane and the Yorkie are both getting up in years, this may very well be the Dane's last summer. I was drooling over a drop-dead gorgeous Smooth Fox Terrier, 16 months old, pointed and being shown until he finds his new home. Smooth Fox and Danes were the two breeds I was vacillating between 15 years or so ago, and at that time I decided on Danes since I knew the time would come when I couldn't deal with a giant breed dog any more, so do it while I still could. IF I was to get another four-legged friend it could possibly outlive me, I have to concede I'm not getting any younger,and a small dog or a cat can easily live 15 years or more. But isn't that calico a cutie??
After leaving my friends' place I continued on toward Kenneth, MN. The soybeans are beginning to turn yellow in a few spots, and I saw the first person out chopping silage. Harvest is just around the corner, and winter won't be far behind.
Kenneth, MN is just like dozens of other small, dying towns in the upper midwest: it has a population of a bit under 70 souls, and that hasn't changed too much in the nearly 3 decades I've lived near there. Businesses haven't fared too well though. The bank closed not too long after an armed robbery, followed more recently by the hardware store/gas station and the grocery store, now the the post office is the latest victim of rural economics and the flight to the cities. There is still a great small engine repair place that I frequent, and a small bar and the grain elevator, along with a Lutheran church. There is a stop sign in the center of town, but if you blink you may miss it. The town, not just the stop sign.
As I drove through Kenneth I saw a horse trailer turning in at the house on the edge of town, and figuring it was Heidi I went ahead and drove up to the acreage to unlock the gate. I had to put up a gate to stop people from dumping their garbage there. Unfortunately, even though I brought every Master lock key I owned with me, none fit the lock on the gate. I made a quick trip to the neighbor's to see about borrowing a bolt cutter, and he had to run into town to get it from his shop, he's the small engine repair guy. By this time Heidi had the horses unloaded so I stopped and introduced myself.
Do you ever meet someone you feel like you've known for a long time? Heidi and I hit it off right away and spent quite some time talking about politics, the weather, life and everything else under the sun. We discovered that we both have "caretaker" personalities, both have worked in long term care facilities where we loved the old folks but not necessarily our co-workers, both grew up on horses, both take in strays and abused/unwanted critters of all sorts. I did show her the pictures of the cute calico kitty... lol Her hubby was just getting dinner ready to throw on the grill and she invited me to stay, but I declined. After talking for quite a while longer, one of her girls came out and said dinner was ready, and by that point I said yes, I was starving, lead me to the food! LOL
We talked until late, and I never made it back out to cut the lock off the gate so I left the bolt cutters with her and she was going to return them to Dave. She was hoping to get the guy to come today to cut the hay, so I'll go back in a few days to see if they've baled and hauled it off yet then put a new lock on the gate. Here's a couple pics of the acreage from the driveway turnoff. There's a very healthy row of 100 year old lilacs and a few black walnut trees that I transplanted 20 years ago from my ex-father-in-law's farm in SD, a couple plum trees that I planted which have never borne fruit, and an apricot tree that did fruit twice that I know of, along with an old granary with a large hole in the roof and a basement full of garbage where the old house burned down. There was never a good grove of trees, they had all succumbed to Dutch Elm disease when I bought the land in 1989,and there were only a few struggling apple trees left in the "orchard" north of the house. And time marches on.