One of the most common questions I get about living at Two Mile Ranch is, “do you ever get lonely?” I’ve written Five Things You Should Know about Living in Solitude earlier on this site.
It’s a fair question. The idea of living alone in less than 700 ft. is a far cry from typical. Readers familiar with Walden think of Henry David Thoreau, carving out his existence on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s back lot on the edge of Walden Pond. Astute readers of Walden know that Thoreau spent time in the local town almost daily, and had a continuous stream of visitors throughout the 2+ years he lived on the edge of the pond.
Like Thoreau, and others who live a rural and solitary life, I’ve found “alone” is far from lonely and often, isn’t so alone. Saturday was a typical day.
I woke Saturday morning after hearing the wind blow beginning about 1:30 in the morning. I slept fine but no no one was blowing, meant a change in the weather was coming. After yesterday’s torrential rain, a day of sunshine would be a welcome break. Indeed, the clouds broke early in the morning and most of the day after noon was sunny and bright.
Because I teach graduate students, and the semesters just getting started, I began the day looking over e-mails and reviewing the online course websites. I made a scrambled egg burrito and look forward to a few months from now when the eggs will be from my own flock of chickens. With a couple coffee in hand, I drove north in the town to spend time in Bob’s Barn, the local meeting place where men my age and older swap stories about the week and generally look after each other. At 48 years old, I’m a youngster there. “Frosty” is pushing 80 years old, and talks and acts younger than many of my co-workers half his age.
This morning’s conversation was nothing special, but this group is covered such topics as stem cell research, CABG surgery, the economy, foreign policy, and angiograms. Today’s chat included the pros and cons of Windows XP versus Vista. And a little bit of “tractor porn” as we talked about new machines some of the locals are using in the fields this year.
When the conversation wound down and everyone headed off to do their chores, I returned to Two Mile to move some mulch and plant my final 10 trees. After launch I spent some time online, helping a few graduate students find their way in their new course. Later in the afternoon, I picked up some dirt, and a flat of flowers to plant in the feed trough I’m converting to an above ground planter. Soon after, Norman my friend and occasional man-who-keeps-an-eye-on-the-place-while-I-am-gone, came by to do some morel mushroom hunting in the trees.
Saturday’s dinner was a stir-fry of chicken, peas, and peppers, all of which will be home grown by this time next year. With garden planting just days away, I look forward to seeing what does well in the new garden space. While Bob Wills music played in the background, my friends Eli and Caroline drove by in their horse-drawn buggy. Seeing their buggy reminded me that I want to buy some baskets from Caroline next time I drive by their home on Elk Chapel Road.
The ducks, chickens, and pheasants are all fed and watered. The sun is beginning to move towards the edge of the hill across the highway. The iPod plays Bob Wills, Asleep at the Wheel, and a collection of country music. Lyle Lovett sneaks in a tune now and then.
Just another day in paradise. Just another day at Two Mile Ranch.