Waiting on rain. In my humble estimation, it’s all about reciprocity. After all, I’ve done the hard work of getting the gardens ready, dozens of new trees planted, the manure spread, and the grass seed scattered. Now it is up to the old man to simply cut loose and let it pour. But nothing falls from the sky this dry spring — we are already down 75 percent for the year — leaving me to wonder if it is time to channel our inner Assyrian and slaughter a goat.
Instead of tackling the endless to-do list and fretting about no rain, yesterday we headed to town in the truck. The master gardeners of Roane County had their annual plant sale, and we went as much for the fellowship as for the plants.
Several hours later, good conversations with friends (Tim, Russ, Summer, and Maureen) under our belts and a handful of ornamentals in the truck bed, we headed for home. When we crossed over the Tennessee River, we reentered our side of the county, South of the River. Winding down Highway 72, we pulled off on a gravel drive in Paint Rock at Aaron and Michelle’s small farm, a tidy place with goats, pigs, chickens, and gardens. Aaron broke from hoeing his garden long enough to give me a flat of heirloom pipe and cigar tobacco plants he had successfully started. I’m anxious to try my hand at curing my own blend this fall.
As we said our goodbyes, a few hopeful raindrops fell onto the pollen-coated truck windows. Here it comes, I pronounced as the skies darkened. We drove toward the farm, winding down and around the curves of Sweetwater Road as fast as the old truck would safely carry us. We arrived just as a steady drizzle began to fall … and then stopped.
A few hours later, after a few more fits and starts, we had accumulated a tenth of an inch of rain. Now, I’m a man to appreciate the small things in life as well as the big. But, come on….
So it was, that as late-afternoon guests pulled up the drive, I was in the midst of dragging the goat toward the sacrificial altar. Considering this a sign from a higher power for a temporary pardon, I postponed my attempt to appease the gods for a little while longer. We greeted and conducted our visitors on a tour of the farm for a couple of hours, a fairly common experience for us and, we hope, enjoyable and educational for them.
After their departure it was time for chores and dinner. Cindy fed the livestock, and I prepared a chicken paprikash with an old rooster, accompanied by a simple tomato tart and a cucumber salad. We read until bedtime, when the rains finally began to fall.
A little more than an inch fell overnight. And this morning the smell of burnt offerings is scarcely noticeable in our valley.