(It’s been a while since part one…you might want to read that part again….. ~n~)
Corn season was done, the fields had been harvested. The dairy farmer from Otis had come with his big silage machine, cropping the stalks and trucking them away. They paid in the traditional way of farmers, a handshake and a promise of shared bounty. He got the corn, she got manure, milk, cheese, and the occasional steak. One hand washed the other, as Moma would say.
But that was done, and the fields had been sown in with winter rye, to sweeten and enrich the soil. The autumn rains had been fierce, breaking the long, dry summer heat, and causing the farm ponds to spill their banks and leak one into the other. There’d been a week there when she’d come close to blowing out the dam on the home pond, as the water rise was close to threatening the house and barn. They’d even brought Larry in from his apartment in the barn just in case. Thankfully, the rain had eased, the water levels dropped, and life returned to post-harvest chores. Closing up windows, putting up garden produce, dealing with the fleece from the few sheep she kept for the wool only got the top of the autumnal chore list done. Now it was all about finishing up the wood pile. Three cords was not enough to see them through the winter. She and Larry took turns chopping wood that they’d pulled out of the woods back in the spring. After spending time seasoning, they needed to cut them into wood stove-sized pieces, then quarter each chunk of log, then stack them neatly in cords, close by the house for use this winter.
The wind grew chilly, making her shiver. Chopping wood warms twice, she recalled her Dad saying, once while chopping, and then later by burning it. She actually thought it was three times. Gods knew she was sweating as she carried split wood to the pile. Yet every time she stopped for a break, she was reminded that it was November. The wind carried a sharp bite to it, a promise of cold. The air tides were shifting, and soon, frigid Canadian air would rocket down the spine of the Berkshire mountains. She hoped there’d be some good snow this season; this remote area of Massachusetts counted on those skiers from the big cities for a great deal of their annual income.
Grabbing her thermos, she poured some tea into the mug, and wandered down to the pond. The geese had come, then gone. Something had gotten to one of them, she noted, seeing a few feathers around the ponds edge. It was far from molt season. Likely a yearling lost its battle with a snapper, or a wily coyote had gotten lucky. They didn’t usually come that close to the house, but then again, pickings were getting lean, with the chipmunks and other burrowing critters staying in their dens during the colder days. She walked the perimeter of the pond, checking the dam for leaks. Thankfully there were none. Next summer, when the water levels of the upper ponds fell, they’d barricade each pond, and make the repairs in the breaches caused by these late storms. Farm pond two had suffered a significant breach, and the tiny run-off brook had flowed hard through the hole in that dam for four days during the worst of the rain. That meant that pond three and four would have some damage as well. And that meant that this pond, home pond, would have borne the weight of all that water. Yet, this dam had held back the flow. Sure, she may have come close to pulling the lever to “blow” the dam if the water had risen any higher. But the pond had taken the extra water, and held strong.
“Dam good,” she said out loud. And grinned at her own sally.
There would be a ton of work to get to once the fields had been sown. Dam work wasn’t always fun, hard on the fingers, the feet. The ponds stayed pretty chilly, even in late June. She sighed into her mug, and her exhalation became visible for a moment. She opened her lips wide, blew again, watching the puff of breath dissipate. It made her smile, remembering how, as a kid, those first cold days when she could see her breath…how exciting it was. Now it was a harbinger of hard, cold times ahead.
“And if you don’t get back to chopping wood, it’ll be even colder, you dummy,” she admonished herself, each word punctuated by puffs of white cloud. She was just dog tired. Autumn work was hard work. And she’d not been sleeping all that well of late. Maybe she needed to get laid. Gods, those fucking dreams. She shook her head. She was not going to think about them just now. Still, her clit flared to life for a second. Fuck that. She had wood to chop! Throwing the last of her tea into the pond, she turned and strode away.
The biped had come to him! He was excited by that. He watched her from bottom of the pond. She never guessed at his presence just below her. He lay still, watching her, fascinated as always by her alien body. Two legs, two arms. Poor deformed creature, he’d thought at first. He had come to realize, after finding others who resembled her, that she was one of the norms here. The other creatures…those he could ignore. Lower life forms, they were food. But the bipeds…as he sank into the depths of home pond, as she had named it in her thoughts, …the bipeds were very interesting. And her in particular. He curled into himself, wrapping his many arms tightly round his vulnerable center and rested, waiting for nightfall.