Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Family and Fences - On Our Land Days 32-33

Tuesday started out grey, cold and miserable, but I was in a fantastic mood. My Aunt D and Uncle J were coming for a visit! I hadn't seen them in person in ages - years! One of the things I've been looking forward to with our move was them being in driving distance.

Aunt D is one of my two favorite aunts (well, I only have two - both are strong, intelligent, funny women and an absolute blast to hang out with). When I was a kid, Aunt D used to take me to the zoo and the museum, and gets a lot of credit for my fascination with animals, anthropology, dinosaurs and much else.  And as I've probably said before, she is responsible for introducing me to my first yak, and the ongoing fascination I have with them.  J, her husband is a really cool guy whose hobbies include mountain climbing (always wanted to try) and geology.

They came overloaded with gifts: Hummus, spinach artichoke dip, REAL bread, blackberries (oh yum! blackberries!) an electric blanket, a chainsaw on permanent loan, a portable-potty (CK who's been using a bucket - yes really! - adored that) amongst other things.  And of course the best gift of all, their time and company.

As said, the weather was miserable though the rain had stopped, so by the time I got to their motel, picked them up and drove them over here, we didn't have time or ability to do much more than walk around, introduce them to the yaks, and give them a basic tour of the area we we've planted ourselves in.  They'd wanted us to go to dinner with them, but we're in terror of trying to drive home after dark with the road the way it is. We did get some time for the usual family stuff. Its funny how family members can have completely different version and understandings of their relationships and the events in their lives. For example, my mom has always perceived my grandmother (mom's mom-in-law) as disliking her while Aunt D's version is that grandma just wanted mom to be strong. Makes me rethink myself and how others perceive me.

Last night we basked in the warmth of the electric blanket, and oh, it was so hard to pry myself from under the covers in the morning! We didn't dare leave it plugged in for fear Zen would decide to bite a wire, but we were able to get the bed nice and toasty before bed, and the extra blanket added warmth even not plugged in.

I picked them up at the motel again and we made a stop at the apartment for water, filling close to 20 gallon bottles. How many of you have family that'll help you haul water?

Back at the land, Uncle J helped Quantum put the wires up for the grazing area we'd been making for the yaks. We'd already had the posts put up, but Quantum and I had been having a hard time figuring out how to string the wire. We'd tried looking up the info on the internet, but unless you had the right tool...  But Uncle J had an idea for attacking it. Aunt D and I took a short walk and by the time we got back they had the first two rows of wire strung nice and tight. Amazing.

The fence was strung up in no time, and we let the yaks out into their new pasture. It took them a few minutes to realize that they had access to grass again. According to the folks we'd bought them from, the girls were supposed to remain in a small corral for a month to acclimate, but they'd already eaten or pounded down nearly every shred of grass in there. Much as they like their hay, it was obvious that they prefer the grass.

Yeti and Yazoo decided to put on a show for us, racing and gamboling through the field. To my great relief they didn't even test the strength of the fence, respecting its boundaries. Even Yeti is probably strong enough to break through (or at least hurt herself trying) at a dead run. They romped around, bucking and dancing, tails flying high.

After that, we went for another walk. Uncle J wanted to help us gather stones for the oven/heating unit, and CK, on best behavior with company, even helped. Aunt D and I wandered around to some areas of the land I hadn't had a chance to investigate yet. Gorgeous loose slabs of stone everywhere. A "grotto" carved out by running water, a cliff overlooking one of the ravines I'd investigated only from below. I'm still astonished at the beauty and diverseness of this land. Every time you turn a corner or pass through a grove of trees you find something new and breathtaking.

Aunt D reminded me of how powerful a woman my grandmother was - brave enough to survive WW2 and then risk taking her two young children across the ocean to a new land. I can only hope to live up to a memory of courage like that. And with her blood flowing through my veins, I know that I can make this land, this farm, this crazy dream work for me. I have to. How could I insult her example.

It was a little sad dropping them off at their motel again. In the morning they'll be headed back home, exploring a mountain pass they haven't visited yet. But they're living only 4 hours drive away, now, and I can't wait to see them again.


  1. glad my sister sent me your blog so that I can keep up with you. you are in a wonderful adventure and i want to vicariously join you. good luck. now back to my own adventure. love, k

  2. I'm jealous that you got to spend time w/ Aunt D and Unc J. It's been ages since i've seen them. I've been really bad about keeping in touch w/ friends & family, life always seems to go by so fast. I'll have to make more effort to keep connected.