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Robin Hobb's Infrequent and Off Topic Blog

The Days Slide By

It feels as if we are a tiny commune here on the little farm in Washington.  Fred and I are here, with our younger daugther.  In our guest cottage is our son and his family, for a total of six more people.  Confined to the farm, we are finally doing many of the things we intended to do 'some day' and using up a lot of those things that we thought we might need 'someday.'  The stack of odd lumber that every rural place collects is shrinking.  One of my teen grand daughters has discovered that she enjoys splitting wood, and is turning a lot of log rounds into firewood.  We don't have a fireplace, but one of Fred's judo friends does, and someday we will be able to drop off a truck load of dry split wood!

 

Our attempts at keeping up with schooling are a bit haphazard, but we have resolved that tomorrow we will do better,  In the meantime, my 6 year old grandson goes walking with me on the lower acreage and is learning the names of the plants.  Today he tried young dandelion leaves, and tomorrow we may make a very simple salad of dandelion leaves and watercress, two things growing in plenty right now.  He has already chosen seeds for the raised bed he helped me assemble today.  And he reads out loud to me for at least twenty minutes every day. So I think we can say we are covering botany and reading.  My eldest grand daughter is working on completing an online ground school course, while my younger daughter has begun her online statistics class.  

 

The more work we do on our little farm, the more work we discover to do.  I think any farming/gardening experience is like that.  Today we moved the chicken pen onto fresh grass.  The chickens are only inside it for a few hours each day.  The rest of the time they free range while hatching plots to break into my garden.  My garden is doing well. We are still getting late night frosts here, so it's mostly things like onions, cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts.  But the plum trees have begun to bloom, the strawberries are putting out new foliage and there are little buds on the blueberry bushes.  So soon it will start to look like a real garden again.

 

Megan Lindholm has been doing a lot of writing.  The book I had planned and begun work on was about Bee.  But it centered around the recurrence of the blood plague, and I'm not sure anyone wants to read about a viral plague right now.  Isnt' fantasy about escaping our day to day lives?

 

So one we go.  Facemasks and gloves on the few occasions when I leave the farm.  The danger is real.  I have one friend in Olympia who is recovering, and another in Tacoma who is awaiting her test results.  I hope everyone is being careful and staying safe.

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Different Day, Same Place

I should admit that I expected to be getting a lot of writing done. And I'm not.

But I have cleared all my raised beds of weeds, and today I plnated carrots, beets and turnips.

I write a lot, inside my mind. But somehow the days on the calendar pass very slowly, but the hours of work go by quickly. And suddnely here it is, 10:43 at night, and these are the first words I've typed today.

I've mentioned elsewhere that the Bee story I was working on featured, guess what? A plague that had jumped species. It would have looped back to connect to the Blood Plague. But now is not the time to write something like that. Or even read something like that.

 

But I haven't been reading much either.  I've been doing.  Lots of doing, of things that I know I'll be glad I did four or five months from now.  I've cleared and organized cabinets.  Weeded the garden, planted food.  It's satisfying work.

 

I know I will go back to putting words on the page.  I did some yesterday.  But for today, the writing was only inside my head. 

 

Some days are like that.

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My Dog Has Left Me

I simply couldn't compete.

 

My son's family joined us here on the farm to 'shelter in place'. They have squeezed into the little guest cottage. My 14 days of self quarantine are nearly up, but his family is only about 4 days into theirs.  So I am still 'no contact' with my grandkids.  I can watch them running across the pasture. I can light the campfire they built, and then retreat so they can enjoy it.  No touching.  Talking to each other from 8 or 10 feet away.  No sharing books or passing around cookies.

 

My dogs are both rescues.  Ginger from the Humane Society, and Molly, the younger dog was from a Belgian Malinois Rescue group. Ginger is older now but Molly is still all bounce and go.

 

Molly saw that they had brought Foxy the Border Collie, and Foxy is RICH!  She owns three teenagers and a six year old boy!  And she offered to share.  Five or six hikes down to the river a day! Numerous sticks and tennis balls thrown. Lots of chasing and rough housing.

 

A couple of times I called her back to me.  But the last time she cried.  I felt so mean.  They were doing night walks with a flashlight, and I was sitting in front of a keyboard.

 

I let her out and she was off like a shot to join them.

 

As it should be.

 

This virus pandemic is a terrible thing.  But even it has a silver lining for one dog.

 

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