Posted by: morrowsl | August 15, 2015

When I’m Away

We spent some time on our farm earlier this month.  I wanted weeks, but settled for days.  It is never enough.  At least, this time, I didn’t cry when we left.  We did almost nothing and yet it looked much better than it did when we first pulled up.

Last summer, we focused our time on the house.  When we’d emptied it out of furniture and dishes a few years ago, we’d run out of time to do anything at all about the clothes and papers and personal effects.  So last year we spent the better part of a week taking inventory of what was left and loading what we wanted to hang onto in the van before starting a burn barrel for the boxes of old tax records and receipts and minutia.  The exterior of the house went untouched.

But we did make arrangements to have the roof replaced.  So, this time, the house itself looked much better, even with the crumbling brick porches.

The focus this trip was mowing and weeds.  There’s been a deluge of rain in southwestern Ohio this spring and summer.  So, when the skies finally cleared and the sun popped out, all hands turned to crops.  The fields surrounding the house were lush and green and full.


Soybean field at Morrow Farm

Likewise, all the rain had helped the pond recover some.  The water level, for now, is up a bit.  And the thick layer of algae scum was mostly gone, replaced by masses of waterlilies.  The frogs were plentiful, if a bit harder to find since they had open water to jump into this time.  It was still hysterical fun to walk along the pond’s edges and hear the shriek of warning before the “PLOP!” that signaled yet another photo opportunity missed.


Taken from across the pond at maximum zoom.  I had to download the image to find him!

It seems the frogs had ventured some.  I discovered this guy while clearing away the deadfall limbs from the yard surrounding the house.  When I went back next day, he’d gone.  I suppose I removed all of his cover and chased his dinner away as well.  Sorry Mr. Froggy!
There’s no telling how many frogs live in our pond.  It would seem all the fish are gone and I’ve never yet seen snakes there, although with all the frogs they surely do hang out in the deep reeds and grass.
The first morning, a deer met us at the bend in the lane and there were huge ovals imprinted in the tall grass near the summer porch where the deer have been bedding down close to the house.  I like the idea of them hanging around.  If for no other reason than to know that life surely goes on while we’re away.  My need to know that Jim and Ginny are still there is met when I see those deer.  For me, it’s the life-long caretakers come to make sure all is well.  Mike thinks I’m a cuckoo brain!

One of the first things I noticed, and was most bothered by, was the grass growing in the lane.  The road base is solid yet and the gravel still plentiful.  But the weeds and grass have found their way to the surface with no vehicles running them down now.  We bought a new sprayer and I was all set to spend an afternoon killing weeds, but the water has been shut off due to a leak and we didn’t have time to truck water in.  So…
I did manage to weed whack around the big rock that marks the entrance.  And that, along with Mike’s two solid days of mowing, helped me feel that the place didn’t look so vacant.


Queen Anne’s Lace surrounding the pond at Morrow Farm.

It’s not a good idea to try to mow the entire thing in such short time.  We dragged in at night dirty and tired beyond tired.  But it was a good tired.  There is something about working such a large area using small hand tools and thinking you’ll keel over with heatstroke before you finish, that brings its own brand of satisfaction when you finally do get done and are sitting in the shade looking over what you’ve accomplished.  It helps too to have someone else working nearby, in case you do indeed keel over, but also to have the sound of another person in the distance.
IMG_3004We are fortunate to have a good friend still living in town who will put us up, and put up with us, when we show up.  We rarely give her much notice but always get a warm welcome, a good meal, and a hot cup of coffee with “additives” to enhance the flavor and effect.  There’s a comfy bed upstairs and a hot shower, a lap kitty or two and the girls, Lacy and Bella, to scratch behind the ears.
And a trio of little boys that keep us laughing, and missing our own grandkids.
Moni will always offer to come out to the farm and help with whatever we’re doing.  Or stop by Wendy’s on the way out and pick up a couple of Frosties.  Never has a melted chocolate soft-serve tasted so good!
This time Moni came out and helped with the shrubs, wielding the trimmers like the Master Gardener she is.  That is, until she almost destroyed a Mockingbird’s nest that was tucked so deeply into one Yew it was impossible to see.  We put it back and covered it with cut limbs.  I checked the next day and it looked like maybe Mama Mockingbird had smoothed out the edges where we’d smushed the nest getting it back in the shrub.  I left it as it was with a small prayer for the little eggs.  It’s nice to know the birds feel safe enough to build nests so close to the house.

Down at the bend in the lane there’s a huge dead tree that wants removing.  Mike added that to the list of items he wanted to discuss with Bryan, the man who farms the land for us.  It turns out there had been a pair of Eagles who’d taken up residence in the tree.  Bryan was reluctant to pull it down after seeing them there.  He said someone had been tracking the pair and told him they’d come from Bainbridge where they’d been kicked out of their nests as young birds.  The relocation was temporary, they’ve returned now to Bainbridge and kicked the other adults out!  I have no idea if the tree will come down now, or if Bryan will leave it awhile yet.  It’s in no danger of causing problems should it come down on its own.

And again, it is nice to think that life goes on at Morrow Farm, even when I’m not there to observe it.


  1. So many memories of hearing the tales last weekend; I read this with your voice in my head.

    • I want to write new stories there. I want you and Jack and Meg and Shan and the boys and my kids and grands to ALL be part of the new stories!!

  2. Gorgeous–makes me teary! Thanks for writing!! Sharing. =D

    • I get teary when I think too long about the place as it is now vs the way it was “then”. But then I think of all the possibilities and I have hope!
      Thanks for sharing as well!

      • Me too. But then I have the most wonderful dreams there and it gives me hope that we’re not done with that place. Not by a long shot.

        Thanks for letting me!!

  3. […] “When I’m Away“ […]

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