Saturday, February 9, 2008

MapleCorners: The beginning

After 10 years in Minneapolis, I finally couldn't stand it anymore. I needed to get out. My neighbors were nice enough, but looked askance at me that the clothesline was actually used. Growing vegetables in the garden? No, it seemed gardens were supposed to be used for flowers only. According to them, anyway. I grew up in a small, Mississippi river town in SE MN, and worked on my cousin's farm during the summers. I wanted to get back to the country. I got approval from my employer to work from home two days a week, started my search, and moved to the farm in the summer of 2000.

The former owners didn't bother to do any mowing, so the grass and weeds were waist high when I moved in. Due to the long grass, the mosquito population was incredibly bad, so much so that I literally ran to the house from my car when I got home from work, and couldn't venture back out again. Every night before bed, I would go around the house with the fly swatter, killing them so they wouldn't suck me dry overnight. Even so, they called me measels girl at work due to all of the bites. There were times that summer that I cried, thinking I had moved to my own personal hell filled with the blood sucking minions of Satan!

I don't give up that easily though. I immediately began to research something to keep the grass down in the pastures. I stumbled upon llamas and alpacas as being easy to care for, intelligent animals. What with still working in Mpls, being away from home for 12 hour or more stretches with the commute involved, easy to care for was very important. The first four llamas came that fall, and alpacas followed the next spring.

So now I had all that fiber, I needed to do something with it. I took a class in drop spindling in May 2001, and haven't looked back since. I had learned to knit in Germany on my junior year abroad oh so many years ago, but hadn't done much knitting since then. Having all that yarn made me start knitting again. Dyeing, weaving on the tri-loom, felting, all followed after that. I learned mostly from books, or from websites.

That all means the lowly mosquito is responsible for my fiber addiction!

Do I miss anything about Minneapolis? Chinese food delivery. Walking the dogs around Lake Harriet. Saturday mornings at the farmer's market on Lyndale. Rhubarb bars from the French Meadow Bakery stand at the farmer's market. Going to shows at Lee's.


cornbread hell said...

wow. well told. very well told.

rilera said...

I love it! Escaping from the rat race is something that I'd like to do one day. You are very courageous and brave.

I too enjoy walking around the lakes and bread from the French Meadow. Thanks for sharing!

Do you still have the job where you work from home?

hopalong682003 said...

I lived in Eagan for 12 years, but now I'm in the land of very quiet suburbs in southern California. My Mom-in-law still lives on a farm up by Pine City, and I swear it is quieter here!

Hey, thanks for leaving the comments, on my blog, too. :-)

Annie said...

Thanks Rick.
Robyn, I had a great role model. I'll tell her story tomorrow. Er, today. Later.

Yes, I still work for the same firm, but in a different capacity and only part-time now. The pat-time thing wasn't necessarily voluntary on my part at the time, but they saw that working full time, the commute, and taking care of Mom and the farm was heading me to an early grave or at the minimum a mental breakdown long before I did. I see that now, and am eternally grateful to them that they basically created a position so I could continue working for them from home. I have been with them for 17 years now, my first and only "real" job right out of grad school.

Hopalong, I see you agree that country living isn't quiet!

Miss T said...

Nice story--and the only time I've ever heard of mosquitos doing something positive!