- Caring for tools: A couple of hours each year of rubbing linseed oil onto wooden handles will keep tools at the ready for years to come.
- Obtaining tools: Take a few hours twice a year to attend a farm auction. It is an inexpensive way to pick up tools you did not know you needed—three dollars for a tool to remove bark from a log.
- Your copy of the Rural Weekly Informer: Take the time to talk with the neighbors. Whether hearing of a death, of a birth or just plain old-fashioned gossip, this may well be your only chance to gain valuable knowledge of your community.
- Never gossip … well, never call it gossip: Control the smirk on your face as you work the latest gossip into a conversation. It is more seemly and manly to assume a mature visage, as if imparting this bit of news for a valid reason.
- Beating the heat: Wake when it is first light, go to the garden and pull weeds. Reentering the house, remove the annoyingly smug look on your face upon finding your partner sucking on her first cup of coffee.
- Beating the heat #2: Starting mid-July, take a late afternoon walk in the woods with the dogs. It is a smart thing to do. The weather is too hot for work under the sun, and the chanterelles are beginning to carpet the ground under the mixed hardwoods.
- Dog races: Let the dogs run unrestrained after the bolting deer. They won’t catch them, and the chase takes them far from the fawns hidden in the brush.
- Sound show: Use an approaching thunderstorm as an excuse to sit and watch the horizon, listen to thunder and drink a cold beer.
- Dinner plans: While sipping that beer, mentally review the larder. Dinner should be based on what you have provided.
- Reaping what you sow: Perfectly marbled ribeyes from a steer raised out on your land, potatoes dug minutes before baking, juicy tomatoes still warm from the sun—a fine homegrown meal is well worth the time and sweat. It’s an essential farm lesson that needs learning only once.
- Farm flexibility: Company showing up unexpected requires only extra place settings and the ability to not fuss about quantities in a recipe. A handful of this and a dash to the garden are all that is needed when friends sit at the table.
- The purpose: A missing lamb takes priority, dinner can wait. Because without first being a good husband to the animals in your charge, the table would be bare.
- Light show: Before sleep, walk to the top of the hill. Admire the lightning strikes in the tops of thunderheads near the Kentucky border. Pat the heads of your dogs, and walk back home in the dark.
Reading this weekend: God Against the Gods: the history of the war between monotheism and polytheism by Jonathan Kirsch.