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Wednesday, June 5, 2013


So green!  So humble!  And never an umbrella.  “We’re always surprised when it rains,” my dear friend and Medtronic colleague Martin Conroy would say.    So of course, I did the same.  Walking home from the pub, streets pulsing with music and Guinness-inspired faces, and then, suddenly, splat, splat, splat.    Soon my sweater would be soaked, but not my spirit.  The music played on.  Ah Galway Ireland.  Love you. 

Then why am I not in love with our little Galway on The Land?

According to meteorologist Mark Seeley, it’s official:  we’ve endured the wettest March to May in Southeast Minnesota history.   I call our May a 12 step program.  12 inches of snow followed by 12 inches of rain.    A cold rain.  A Galway rain. 

And with it a Galway sky.  A blanket of gray.  And here on The Land, where the great dome of the prairie sky is everything, that’s one big blanket.  For me, emotionally, it’s the blanket that’s the challenge.  Were we more like Puerto Rico---where clouds rise off the central peaks to spill a sudden shower, and then, just as suddenly, its blue and warm---I’d feel very different.  My soul longs for the blue.  Needs the blue.  No blue = The blues.

Should I blame it on Home the Land Built?  I mean, what’s it like to live in such a sun-centric home when their ain’t no sun?  Truth is, we’re doing amazingly well.  Not only have I not started the backup electric generator, but I’ve plugged in the extra fridge just because we can.   The heat has been a bit of a challenge (yes it June and its cold, they say June is the new April).  It’s too warm to light the masonry heater.  The overhang in front of the great south bank of windows is doing its job:  stopping what little light there is from entering as passive heat.  And the solar hot water---barely enough for our shower and dishes---has little left over to heat the floor.  So this morning it is 68F in the house.   Tomorrow I’m expecting 65F.  But that’s not terrible.  I’m a Minnesotan for goodness sake, with a closet full of sweaters.  Unlike last summer’s Amazon, we never deal with overheating.  Such a cozy, cool night’s sleep. 

As for the other systems, we have plenty, I mean plenty, of rainwater in our cistern, though the water has taken on a faint smell, reminiscent of Minneapolis water in the spring.   I fear the first flush diverter can’t divert the first 50 gallons into the yard when it’s always wet.   I’ve switched from automatic to manual (meaning I run out in the rain).  So far, I’ve managed to find a break in the rain to empty and wash sawdust toilet buckets.  All systems go!

Don’t get me wrong, the rain is a challenge. Much more so for Lonny and Sandy Dietz, my dear farmer neighbors,  who are now forced to plant their veggie seedlings into the muck.  And if you think I need warm and blue, how about a tomato? 

And how about the Indian grass on the prairie.  Like tomato and corn, so many of the prairie plants like warm and sunny.  Corn, they say, is a prairie grass, grasped and tamed by our Native American ancestors.  Both corn and Indian grass are C4 summer geniuses.  With their extra molecule of carbon, they hold their breath (and precious moisture) all the long hot day, only to huff and puff all the moist night long, igniting their stored solar energy to rocket skyward (you can hear the corn grown). 

So maybe I’ve shirked some of my gloomy-skied Danish roots and become an Indian grass.  A C4 prairie plant.  Maybe that explains why, after a rare day of sunny work on The Land, I find myself staying up late.  Maybe I’m growing, rocketing skyward.  If the sun ever shines.  Until then I need to root down for my inner Dane, toss aside my umbrella and walk between the raindrops in the green, green grass of June.   Ah Galway!  I miss you.

1 comment:

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