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April 10, 1999

Open Farm


This is the view from the back of the house. That house on the right? The yellow one, yeah, that's ours. Those are the mountains. From the front windows of the house, the main difference is that we can see the houses of our neighbors in front of the mountain, but they're not that close, so there's a lot of mountain to see. This, however, is a slightly more spectacular picture and has the advantage of showing our house in good contrast/perspective to the mountains. Yeah, it's the back of the house, as the front of it is pointed at the mountains and was pointed at by the camera that took the initial picture.

We took this on the way to one thing or another today. I really, truly slept in today. Just went back to sleep each time I woke up and it felt really, really good to just sleep in deeply and completely. After weeks and weeks of being on edge because of one strange place or another, it was so very sweet to just zonk in and sleep in my very own bed. I enjoyed that a lot. Woke, eventually, to pure sunshine. Another gorgeous day, outside. Fezzik was up and meandering about, he hadn't made a single peek all night, and the carpets were completely dry. I checked them over again, and they looked clean enough, not any solid signs of the disaster of yesterday.

John was up and had made coffee. He'd already eaten breakfast, so I did my first cooking experiment. I'd heard that high altitude cooking took some fairly serious adjustments, especially to baking. So I wanted to test it the simplest way possible. I took some instant pancake mix, made up some of it the way I usually make it and, sure enough, the batter bubbled unbelievably. The high altitude does a number of things to the chemistry of baking. Leavenings don't have nearly as much air pressure to push against, so do a much more spectacular job, and the high altitude leaches more liquids from everything, so things dry out much more quickly. Also the boiling point is lower, so boiled things take just a bit longer than sea level boiling does. My pancakes were really bubbly. They tasted good, though, with syrup. Yum.

We then zoomed off to the Short's Barn Day. They were having an open barn day after being lectured about bringing baby chicks into work, so they had, instead, everyone out to their farm.

The wind was still high, after Thursday's storm, and for the Open Barn, it was, at points, just whipping along outside, stealing everyone's breath and sending topsoil flying through the air. It boomed and whirled about the car as we were on our way out. The farm is well north and east of Boulder, but fairly quick from our house. It's a nice farm, with lots of little barns dotted here and there and everywhere.

Steve said that it'd be okay for Fezzik to come, and there really wasn't anything he could damage just running about, other than the baby poultry. They weren't protected from him and we'd have to watch him and keep him from damaging any of them. At first, he had a great time just wandering around the grounds, around the house, around the barns, sniffing out all the parked cars and the playground and then the bull pen. The Shorts have two baby beef bulls that look fairly happy. They had a good pen, plenty of hay and a huge tub of water, which really interested Fezzik. He was thirsty.

He got thirsty enough that he finally ducked his head and pushed his way into the pen through an opening small enough for him, but too small for the bulls and then reached into the high water bucket to get a good drink. The bulls both backed up a little as he came in, then watched him keenly. When they stepped forward, their curiosity finally outweighing their caution, Fezzik jumped a little, eyed them and then came, somewhat hurriedly, out of the pen. Smart dog.

When Fezzik found the chicks, he didn't want to leave. He watched them, completely fascinated, and suffered John's firm grip on his collar the entire time just so that he could see what was going on with the chicks, the kids, and what all the peeping was about. It took some effort to drag him away, and that's when I finally put the leash on him, so that I didn't have to be watching him all the time to keep him from going into that room alone. We then dragged him further away, down one of the irrigation ditches, on a walk.

At the beginning of it, though, was a little, deep ditch filled with irrigation water and topped with the normal scum and residue of being an irrigation ditch on a farm. I said, "Fezzik, look! Water!" And he looked, and then walked right onto the 'surface' of the water and went sploosh into it. The water came up to his shoulders. He looked a little surprised, but then swam around for a bit, before clambering back up, streaming water, onto the bank. There, he shook, thoroughly. He splashed me really well, and given that it was my fault, I didn't mind much.

The walk along the ditch really made me wish that I hadn't left my camera in the car. The mountains looking down on all that newly green farmland; the new corn starting to sprout, the grasses looking like short-cut velvet, and the steady flow of water out into the fields. They put up stops in the ditch to get it to overflow into the fields and the water pools and glistened and reflected the blue, blue sky as a guy walked through all the crops, pulling up the few weeds he saw, overseeing the irrigation.

After the party we took Fezzik back home, where he zonked out on the lawn. We then went down to Eagle to return the carpet cleaner and pick up a few other things. I started to look longingly at all the herbs and seeds and other things that might be planted around the yard and the half cultivated area behind the horse shed. We also went to the Home Depot right next door, and they had very sad looking started herbs that I couldn't get. I think I'm going to have to find a nursery. It was just too much.

One thing really caught my attention, it was a pot of hanging jasmine. Jasmine grows here. That amazed me, greatly. I'm going to have to get a jasmine plant.

I really didn't feel like cooking, so John took me to Lil' Italy in downtown Erie, the third of three places in town that looked like they had food. Taco Mine was marvelous, and it turned out that this place was really, really good, too. Hand-made spaghetti with a spicy tomato meat sauce, and garlic bread that was well garliced, soft, and buttery. Yum. Simple, hearty fare that really saved my attitude that late in the evening. We brought cheesecake and tiramisu home.

I smelled like farm, bleach, and other nastiness, so I took a long, long, luxuriously hot shower and when I was done, we sat down to watch some T.V., eat our desserts and talk a bit. John wants to try dim sum tomorrow, in Denver. Sounds like a good idea.

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