This trip has been planned for several months. Rick is taking a week off from work and Jessie and Jake are coming for part of the week. There is a lot of work to do to reclaim the barn from the rodents and insects. We call the smaller barn the Bee House. Up in the south facing walls there is a small hole and we can see a nice bee population has made a home for their lively hive. Jessie has made this her project, turning the two-story barn into a home.
They arrive just after midnight on Sunday, so up late on Monday. We spend the morning making their renowned Chicken and Waffles. Jake marinates the chicken breasts in buttermilk and pickle juice, they are then dredged in flour, eggs, and cornmeal, and fried to a tender and crunchy perfection. The slightly sweet waffles are covered in butter that has been whipped up with lots of fresh cracked black pepper and maple syrup. What a way to start the week! Rick and I are in heaven here, with the company of these two lovely souls.
Just after noon we all head outside and show Jake around, it is his first visit. Through both barns and then behind them where we will set up the camping tents. Decisions need to be made about the best location to situate the bath house, and sauna. As we look over toward the pond a massive bald eagle flies past us in full view. Yesterday I saw a group of 4 white snow geese glide past me. I think they are all patiently waiting for the pond to melt. Our 5 acre pond is home to so many birds, and I know a lot of wild life depend on it. Jake and Jess are set on emptying out the Bee House of all the leftover nursery materials that the previous owners had left behind. It takes all of the day with both of them working diligently to nearly empty the lower portion of the barn with the debris. Thousands of plastic pots of every shape and size have made a huge pile. Also, little treasures are uncovered. Mostly old tools and bottles.
Rick and I continue to work on removing the old straw bales that have been put up against the foundation. I’m not sure what the purpose was, possible they were hoping for more insulation? This has only made for a great place for insects to multiply and rodents to hide. As we pull out the bales and the accumulated leaves, we find a hatch of thousands of box elder bugs. They scatter up the foundation and into the walls. No wonder we have so many bugs in the house. Tomorrow I will scatter diatomaceous earth on the ground. Hopefully this will control the invasion. Back in the house as the sun sets, we prep for dinner. A pork shoulder has been resting in the fridge, with a covering of salt and chili powder. Jessie is making fresh and oven roasted salsas, I make guacamole. Jake is roasting the pork that will be chopped up with mole and chicken stock cooked down to a dark burgundy colored sauce. All this will be savored in hand pressed corn tortillas for a lovely taco feast.
Jessie starts her dough for French bread. We will have fresh bread for Bahn Mi sandwiches for brunch on Wednesday.