Matfield Green - Our first years

Friday, February 23, 2007

House Update

Yesterday was a red letter day. Bill, with some help from Jim Worster, emptied the trailer that has been sitting behind the new house for almost a year, putting all of our worldly good (many of which we had forgotten about) into the new barn. We are now poised to move in, probably in May.

There has been lots of progress but not much of it visible in a photograph if I were to post one. Pat has installed all the plumbing and is moving on to the electrical. He has also framed the rooms upstairs and down - the living spaces are sketched in and waiting for the drywallers. Now Pat has moved on to installing electrical wiring. As soo as that's done he'll move outside to put up the siding (already painted by Willie and Bill) while a team of drywallers goes to work indoors.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pepper in pink

A day without long underwear

Today is the first day in months that I am not wearing long underwear. Surely Spring is on the way. Pat, our resident weatherman, believes that the frigid days are behind us. Bill and Pepper and I will celebrate with a long walk this afternoon. We're hoping to take Jim and Nancy Wight up on their offer to let us walk on their land south east about 4 miles out of town.

Time to buy those seed potatoes!

I saw an eagle soaring high above me as I walked out east of town yesterday.

And on Thursday I spied a bobcat out the back window of the bunkhouse while we were having lunch. She was on the prowl just west of the tracks. Bill got a good look with his binoculars. Sure enough - no house cat this. Short tale and spots.

Yesterday evening Bill and I took a spur of the moment trip to El Dorado for Mexican Food and music at the Iron Horse Concert Hall. A great spot with great music that I am surprised was not better attended. It's at the pack of a small art gallery and frame shop. Run by a man with Mardi Gras beads around his neck by the name of Dan Koch. Harry Bennet of Kansas Organic Producers put us onto the place. Music last night by The 5 Man Trio. Bluesy, folk rock music. All original. Actually 3 men - Dave, Gary and Chris - playing countless instruments which I will nonetheless attempt to list for you: 5 guitars, a string bass, 3 harmonics, a variety of drums, cymbals and the like, two brass instruments and some more that I've missed. This place is a keeper.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Flint HIlls in all their glory

Check out these clips on You-Tube from a soon to be aired documentary on the Flint Hills. They capture the romance of this place better than any photograph.

The California Sisters

Pat Wick and Jessica Gilbert are two sisters from California who have been making a huge difference in the town of Ramona, KS - a town of about 100 people just a little north and west of Matfield Green. Like us they are transplants (move-ins) their Aunt calls them. Unlike us they had roots in Kansas, with aunts and uncles still in Ramona, a decided advantage when it comes to fitting in (not that I'm complaining about the welcome we've received).

Pat has published a book of essays and photos called "Another Day in the Country." I just read a paragraph that rung very true and may help to explain to my city friends my seeming obsession with the weather:

She writes, "There's a differenct scale of measurement in the country than in the city. In the city, commerce sets the tone and demands a forty-hour week or a workday that extends until teh work is done. There is predictablity from nine to five, end of the month, vacations, and fiscal year. In the country, nature dominate the timetable with sunrise adn darkness, summer and fall, heat and freezing westher. One can never quite predict when things change in the country."

Thanks for that, Pat.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Baby Boy McBride

All the test results are in and there is no longer any reason to contain the news that I am pregnant and we are expecting a baby boy in mid-July. If all goes well, he'll arrive with the green beans in a very fertile 2nd-year-in-Kansas vegetable garden. I'm a bit sleepier than usual these days but other than that I'm feeling great and happy to be doing my part to repopulate the Great Plains.

Bill and I walked along the east bank of the Little Cottonwood River yesterday morning, crossing the river on thick ice just east of our house and bushwacking our through brush and trees that will be impassable once Spring comes. Lots of deer tracks on banks one would think were to steep for man or beast. Hawks and robins in the trees. Birds flitting to and away at the spots where the water wasn't frozen. We climbed up from the river at the main road through town and did the loop through Matfield back to the bunkhouse.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Game on Game Day

There was quite a crowd at the Hitchin Post for the Super Bowl. The Big Game wasn't the only draw. Sue & Ken were true to their promis to serve "game on game day." It started with Ken serving everyone in the bar a plate of rabbit, duck and vension meat. The venison was chewy and flavorful. The rabbit looked exactly like chicken and tasted great. And either I didn't get any duck or it tasted like venison. After that, to our surprise, Ken brought over a pheasant "not under glass" just for our table. I was doing my best to save room for the rabbit stew (with potatoes, carrots and onions) from the big crock pot on the pool table. There was barely room for a taste but oh was it good.

I joined the football pool, guessing that the Bears would win 33-27. They didn't.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A convocation of robins

There are robins everywhere. In the trees in the sky looking fat and healthy and singing away. Jess Deane says he has never seen so many. But I remember something similar from the first trip I took to Chase County with Bill in late January 2000. They must be congregating for the trip north. And perhaps because it is colder than usual they hang out here for awhile. It's worth noting that the high here today was projected at 32 degrees and and Chicago the projected high is zero. I must remember this on those 100+ days in July.