It is late in the day at the rabbit patch. One of the first June evenings, this year. I have been home for a good while. I have stacked a small pile of wood, picked up branches and small limbs all over the territory and commenced to make a small fire with them. I gathered a bucket, a rake and a few other items scattered about and restored order, something dear to my heart. I also washed the ceiling in the laundry room and now I realize, the little den ceiling needs washing too.
All of this happened, after work, and the sun is still shining. At this very moment, the rabbit patch looks gilded in gold and amber. There isn’t a cloud , nor a star in the sky. The sun, as it slides behind the woods. makes the trees look black. It is a lovely and familiar sight- and the repetition of it does not make the sun set one iota less than “holy” to me. . .every day.
Living on a rabbit patch, does have advantages . . like watching the sun set over a peaceful pasture. I drive in from the small town, where I work, and it feels like the place has been waiting for me , when I get home. Birds are singing and the air is pure and fragrant, especially now. Of course, my boxer, Cash and the cats, Christopher Robin and Moon Shine, make a big commotion at my arrival. What a contrast to leave a hot asphalt parking lot and step into cool shade with tender grass beneath you, a few moments later. There is an immense amount of work, I remind myself, when I get sentimental about selling it.
I was mowing yesterday- a small pasture that had not been mowed this year. It was an awful job and it was hot. I had several limbs to remove and more than a few briers were growing along the fence. They scratched me hatefully. When the mosquitoes came out, I gave up and went in the old house. Supper would be late this night. I really can not wait to find my little cottage with a smaller yard, I thought.
I will not stroll by the laughing river this weekend. Tomorrow, we work on the oldest barn floor. I also have to cut some overgrown bushes and more hateful briers down the wooded path. I will likely disturb the rabbit community, on account of that. I remember when we blazed the trail in the patch of young woods. It was slow and tedious work, with primitive tools. Every foot gained required a lot of hard work. Each year, I go to great lengths to maintain the path, that meanders by three old barns once used to “cure tobacco”, years ago. Doves live there now.
Early Saturday Morning
I intended to sleep a bit later today, but I woke with a start, and couldn’t decide if it were Friday or Saturday. After a few rounds, I decided it was Saturday-by then I needed coffee. Cash and I went outside and found the morning shine, especially lovely on the fresh cut lawn. I looked at the old barn. It is what is called a “pack house.” These barns are big and usually two story -and there are less of them than there used to be. They were used to store dried tobacco, corn, hay and such. In the fall, the barns buzzed with crews removing the dried tobacco from sticks, to be graded by “old people” who knew how. I remember my grandmother -and Ida, so old , no one including her, knew her age, sorting the leaves by hand, for market. Little children had contraptions that were really, screened large play pens, to have their snacks in and to nap, so flies wouldn’t bother them. I have one, that I converted to a place to store food while we picnic. I learned my nursery rhymes, in an old barn like this one. My sister and I played in the barns, in the winter, with our dolls. We set up housekeeping and spent many hours in the coldest months tending to sick dolls and teaching them rhymes and verses. I guess, I really was “raised in a barn”, after all.
The old packhouse at the rabbit patch is white, with a wreath painted on the door and some of my favorite verses are painted on the sides. It is dirty and cluttered and then -there is the floor. I always knock loudly on the door, before entering, just in case there is a varmint inside.
In recent years, the old barn has been used for family reunions. Once, neighbors used it, when it rained on the day of their own picnic. It stores furniture too, and even has little curtains at the windows. The upstairs has a beautiful view of the fields of sage and the little orchard. There is three days worth of work, in that barn, at least. Just considering that makes me want that little cottage with the smaller yard, all the more, -because really a garden shed is all I need now.
Dear Rabbit Patch Diary, Good Morning! I am especially busy with an old barn today. There is a fire to tend-and I fear supper will be late, again . . and scant. Today, I must give my all to the rabbit patch . . . so please send my warmest regards to the laughing river