Sunday, May 31, 2009

Far from Home (take two)

Well, you know you're getting old when your whole person can be ravaged for weeks by a few ounces of caffeine... I mean seriously, I've been on edge for like, I don't know... two, three weeks now--sleepless, dreamless, hopeless, heartless, serious and seriously unfocused, confused, retarded and nasty. I know some of you are thinking, yeah, what else is new, but you all have no idea how much you can go, um, take a hike...

This weekend was pretty stupid, for me and for those around me. I'm not being too hard on myself here. I was pretty much a total suckpatch from, well, about all day last week until about five minutes ago. But what does that have to do with Digging In?

Only, maybe, everything.

So it turns out this whole Living with the Land thing is maybe just a little too 'organic' for me (possibly because
my job is actually turning me into a robot!! a f-ing corporate robot!!!) because all this sensitive, intuitive, tuned-in, earthly activity is almost offensive to me this Spring, not like an, oh I don't know, Attacker but more like some kind of really rare and exquisite Beauty giving me the finger and then stabbing me in the eye. No, worse: just, you know, turning away.

But that's the thing, right? It all just turns away...

A few years ago I printed off a form from the Office of the Secretary of State of Minnesota, to register the name of the place: Turning Earth Farm. We were gonna have an underground bar out in the Oak Grove called the Wormhole...

So it's kind of a big deal for me right now, to feel like I don't really give a crap about the seeds and plants, much less the soil, the garden, the Land... There's no connection, no inspiration this year. A different place altogether. And a different challenge, to build on what we started last year. But what are we building here, and why?

Anyway, about the weekend.

After a nice breakfast on Saturday we left for the St. Paul Farmer's Market, to pick up a few replacement tomatoes, for the ones I started which were just small (really too small) but mostly strong until I scorched them last weekend. I had been thinking somehow that I'd just drift into and out of the market and pick up just what I was looking for. Instead I got lost and became indecisive, overwhelmed by the calculations of how to cut my losses and reassess all values (in this case, green, red, yellow, orange, cherry, pear, just plain old, sauce, salsa, where am I? etc.) and then found out I had almost no cash, anyway, and all of it was for nothing. (Like working for The Bank, you know, in a way. For Nothing.)

I bought only three little tomatoes, because I couldn't do more. I got them from The Herb Man--he's there sometimes, with his splendidly-feathered Hat, but I've only ever talked to the young Moon-faced girl, yet... They sell all kinds, all but a couple (well, many) that I'd hoped for... and man, I know it sounds so trivial but to rethink the whole damn schema while you're getting advice from a teenager on the virtues of a bunch of fruits, it's enough to make a very middle-aged woman become a complete psycho in a matter of minutes and when I got back to the car I just let loose in such a--how do I say?--craptastic (or maybe fucktardish?) way that is honestly (for those of you who've never tried it out yourselves...) just so foul on so many different levels that it is Truly Offensive to the Entire Universe...

So that went on for quite a few miles, until we were well past the city, passing farms on the interstate... And I'm really sorry about that.

It was a nice drive up the St. Croix River Valley to Landscape Alternatives, where Monkey and I each spent a good hour and maybe a half browsing, pondering, considering and admiring all the native plants they have for sale... very good little thing they've got going there, and 1) it was so heartening to talk with the owner and the young man who worked there, who were both quite knowledgeable and kind and 2) it was cool to find out about that recycled wool/wood mulch (will find name and post later) and 3) I appreciated seeing the very real connection between two small businesses owned by people who believe in supporting Each Other.

So, onward... We're now about three hours late, in a way, and still a half an hour away from a phone (CM’s cell phone was on the fritz). I bought a phone card from a couple friendly and rather helpful Holiday Station employees (recalling that summer I worked for SA, way back when) and left a message for the folks. We didn't roll in to their place until after 3:30. Turned out that we had just missed the motor noise for the day--that being lawn mowers, tillers, 4-wheelers, chippers--so I felt a little better about our late arrival... Spent a couple hours (I know, seems like a lot, but you try figuring out where to relocate 60 little live creatures) putting in the natives for the butterfly garden around the arbor. A little later we all shared a nice dinner of chicken in a sour-cream Dijon sauce, with fresh asparagus and tarragon from the garden, over brown rice. So tasty, and thank you, Mom. I walked out after dinner to listen to the frogs for a while and to hear the call of owls, far beyond the back fence. Evenings there are enchanting, even if you are a robot...

(Throughout the weekend, little Brother keeps asking me to kick hack and play catch with him, and oh how I want to, I really really do. And I really really hate that I’ve got to keep telling him no, but oh how I really really wish he would he would have just known to just help work for a while, so that I could just play for a while… I did ask, I think…?)

Sunday after another late breakfast we set out to plant as much as we could before the promised (or at least hoped for) rain of the afternoon... Although I didn't accomplish as much as I'd hoped to, it turned out that together we got quite a bit done: 3 varieties of corn (with 3 more following), 2 of carrots, 5 of beets, 1 of rutabagas, close to a dozen of peppers, a half dozen of eggplant, eleven of lettuce, 3 of mustards, 1 of arugula, 3 of basil, 4 of cabbage, 2 of brussels sprouts, 3 of broccoli, 2 of cauliflower, 1 each of fava bean, fennel and radicchio... with so much more to come. Sweet cold rain fell on us late in the day, not a lot but so much to everyone, right now...while it came we all silently gave thanks and then had a late meal of brats off the grill and a lovely greek salad, not particularly harmonious but together enough on their own that it worked out just fine (and thanks again, Mom, for feeding us all) and then after that, a Real Live Rainbow, Double-Bright...

And then I went and ended the evening with a good old-fashioned freak-out, all over everything... With little Bro driving home, I had some time to come back down to Earth, but it took a while and a bit of Radiohead to get me there... and then finally I saw that

...there's really nowhere at all that's any more beautiful than what we have here and

I love you so deeply and dearly, All

and I'm not what you think

I am

(but I am a foul-mouthed crazy bitch sometimes. sorry about all that, compadres)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Log

Long weekend. I took Friday off, for some "me" time, and ended up spending the whole day (okay, granted I got up after 10am) busy working--housekeeping, yardwork, errands, phone calls, weekend food prep--and finally sat down after midnight. Stayed up too late (way--again) and was about two hours late Saturday for what was supposed a day of planting trees with my brother and getting his garden beds in shape, but he totally crapped out on me. That was okay, although at least one of us really should have tried a little harder. Cosmic M rolled into his place unexpectedly on Saturday evening and we had a late dinner with family at my folks' place, followed by some unpleasant but necessary conversation and a bonfire, in the usual style (i.e., big enough to be exciting). Saw a shooting star or two and hunted for roasting sticks in the pitch dark, by the light of my little brother's cell phone. Kids these days, I swear...

Sunday we set to work after a late morning. Cosmic M turned over all the beds in the front while I weeded the turtle garden and turned up the green manure (rye and vetch, red clover) from last year. Mom and dad planted ten thirty-foot rows of potatoes (reds, Yukon golds, russets and purples, all saved from last year) in the back garden, which they'd weeded, edged and tilled on Saturday. Little sister tended to the all the trees we recently planted, giving them a much-needed soak and some hardware cloth tubes for rabbit protection (they've topped a few, little bastards) which we should have done right off the bat. I graded the remaining paths in front and pruned the corner rose while the boys played catch, kicked hack and then built another burning pile out of the downed wood pulled out of the fence row a few weeks back. Seems like we must have done more than that, since it took all afternoon and evening, but you know how these things go... A few of us missed the dance at the neighbors' down the road (even though I'd taken time over breakfast to make a nice quinoa and roasted veggie salad to bring along) but it was important to get things in shape for planting next weekend and I'm glad we did. In the evening I worked on plotting out what was to be planted where, and later middle sis joined us for another fire, under a new moon, listening to frog songs and loons. First firefly.

so this was pretty cool...

there was one branch in the fire

that was maybe twelve feet tall

(you can see it sticking up higher

than the rest) and when the

fire started to collapse

it just gracefully dipped

to the East and balanced there

on top of the burning pile

as we all looked on in

wonder and what's more

amazing is that it continued

to hang there in a perfect

balance while the pile shifted

and sank twice more and

then it just rested on top of it

and slowly reached down

toward the ground in a gentle

arc until it finally split

in two. it was beautiful,

must have been oak.

Monday we got another late start--everyone's been tired. I spent the morning obsessing over the garden plan until it was ready for approval. Dad planted onions in the back (990 yellow sets) and fixed the leaky tires on the new chipper. I staked rows in the back for sweet corn, squash, beans, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Sadly, I discovered that my tomato and brassica seedlings got scorched from sitting out the day before, although it looks like they should pull through--we'll see. Just another reminder that I don't know what the hell I'm doing (and that everything usually turns out more or less okay, anyway). Cosmic M tilled a bit of the compost garden and mom got it cleared of weeds, while I fretted more about where everything was going to go and seeded white clover in the turtle paths, covering it with freshly chipped garden scraps (handy tool, that is, but really obnoxiously loud). I could have done a bit more work, I suppose. Ended the day with beer and hackeysack, as is our way (at least when there's time). It was hard to leave at sunset, as it always is, but good to be home at last and able to unwind for a couple hours. After a ten-hour day today I'm ready for sleep, but I know it's too early... I'll be up in a few hours if I go to bed now. If only there were stars here.

So that's the scoop. Hopefully I'll have time soon to write something of interest.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ivy League (a plant did this to me)

I think it's finally over. I'm still a little itchy here and there, now and then, but the worst patches have now healed. I had a bath today and scrubbed away the rough spots... felt good to see them go. It looks as though I may be left with a few scars, but they will be as beautiful as what was there before...

My dear mother still suffers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My melons have doubled in size!!

Ha ha. Seriously, though, they're twice as tall as they were this morning. This crazy-hot weather we're having has given everything a nice boost. A week ago I was a little worried that everything was too small, too far behind, but now things are looking pretty good. I have a flat of tomatoes in four-packs, two of brassicas of various sizes, two of melons in four-inch pots, one of morning glories and moonflowers in two-inch pots, one of delicious lettuces, and even one full of tiny eggplants and peppers who finally decided to give it a go, along with a few odds and ends... I'm feeling decidedly better about our prospects. Maybe we'll be able to eat this year, after all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And now for something...completely different

Another late meal alone, of a different sort altogether from yesterday's indulgence in the luxuries of Spring: seared tilapia baked in a chipotle-jerk sauce and served over rice pilaf of red onion, garlic, candied pineapple, pepperoncini, shredded carrot, orange juice, toasted coconut and cashews, with a twist of lime and chopped cilantro. May sound a little weird but it looked fantastic and tasted even better.

Despite the fact that it might have been pulled off the menu of a local hot spot, my meal tonight is a lesson in leftovers: sauce made from chipotle puree and bbq sauce (both homemade) that have been buried in the fridge for months, rice from last Friday's takeout, cilantro on its last legs, lime sitting in the produce drawer for no reason, carrot so old it was growing a beard... (although I did make a special trip for the coconut). There is something supremely satisfying to me in making use of what is available and creating something spectacular out of the mundane, assembling disparate pieces into a whole, salvaging the good parts, loving garbage... I think the word is "resourceful". I try to be. It makes me happy when I succeed.

Next challenge: parsley root. Go ahead and lower your expectations, if you must, but you might be pleasantly surprised...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dinner for One

You really don't need a date when your food is this sexy... A late dinner tonight, with a crusty baguette and stanky washed-rind triple-creme to start, followed by a perfect plateful of tilapia, sweet and flaky; luscious asparagus spears, slick and firm but tender and without a trace of bitterness; fresh morels, earthy and mellow, almost other-worldly (there's just no way to describe how they feel on your tongue...)--all gently sauteed and then poached in butter with a splash of wine, a bit of lemon and a crank or two of black pepper, no salt needed. My Lilac wine still has a slight edge on it, but it's coming around--a deep, round, floral sensation with a dry citrusy finish and a nice bite, a little more liquor than wine but quite nice if you like that sort of thing--and you can be sure you haven't tasted anything like it. 'Tis the season. Hope you're enjoying it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm bushed.

Yesterday morning seems like days ago... Mom picked me up and the two of us met my brother and nephew at a church in my hometown for my neice's music recital, which started off with "Fuzzy Wuzzy" followed by "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and only got better from there, with "Jesus Loves Me" squeaked out on violin and "Tomorrow" (from the musical "Annie") sung by a rather unenthusiastic adolescent, culminating in the music teacher playing a medley from The Lord of the Rings on violin, backed by the soundtrack. In spite the fact that she was chewing gum the whole time, my neice's performances were quite good and showed much promise; she faltered a bit on the violin minuets but showed impressive sensitivity to Bach in phrasing and tempo. Her piano piece was particularly well played and was arguably the best of the whole set. There were a few other nice moments, along with several which pushed me to the verge of cracking up, but overall it was good to be at church, with the kids, making music. A sweet time.

Inspired, I spent a few hours at the piano yesterday, working at difficult passages that used to come easily, voice faltering and hands fumbling. I've given up on being frustrated about it; it hurts, but there's nothing to do now but practice. And hate it, and practice more...

It was cold yesterday, and windy as hell, so brutal that the eggplants flopped over and curled up on themselves for protection (they unfolded nicely in the safety of the house). Hard to open the front door, even, against it. Mom and I spent a couple hours weeding the arbor garden in the afternoon and then shared a rather lovely green dinner together: asparagus from the garden sauteed with last year's onion, garlic, chives and garlic chives from the garden, a bit of green pepper and basil, tossed with fat couscous, feta and black pepper; salad of romaine with arugula, horseradish leaves and chervil from the garden, lemon vinaigrette and a bit of parmesan. Quite nice.

Played a bit more, in the evening: Brahms, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Ravel, not what it should be but it still felt good. Stayed up late, talking, until 2:30 or so. It was the first time in years, maybe ever, that we've spent any significant time alone together. Something we've been missing.

I lingered in bed until late this morning, watching the light shimmer in White Pines while Grosbeaks and Jays flitted from branch to branch in the trees around the feeder. Coffee, egg sandwich for breakfast with fresh arugula from the garden and then out to tackle the grass. Despite warnings of frost and even snow overnight, it was 50 degrees by noon today, lovely sunny and warm.

The garden beds themselves are amazingly clear of weeds this year, considering what a mess it was a couple seasons ago, but a small amount of grass has taken root in the paths. It's a real pain in the ass to remove because the paths are compacted, so it takes some effort to break them up and get all the snaking roots out, and after that the path is pretty wrecked and has to be re-graded. I spent a good two or three hours with a fork in hand, turning, stooping, picking, throwing, half-stoop stepping and stooping to pull again, to the point that standing up straight put me in enough pain that I had to use the fork as a crutch... also removed quite a few dandelions and various other weeds which I'd really like to identify (need that weed book.).

Transplanted the Lovage over to the center of the turtle garden, where it promptly went from being a robust two-foot beauty to a pile of limp celery, a rather harsh transition but a good move, I think. (It was perking up again by sunset.)

not Lovage, but Rhubarb flowers are really cool

After a sandwich and another mugful of coffee I powered through creating a new garden bed adjacent to the arbor garden, graded the area under the arbor and then all the paths, with the exception of the four shortest (too tired, blisters, time). By "grading" I mean using a garden rake to break up the surface of the compacted soil, pulling and pushing it down the line or into the beds in an effort to smooth and level all the walking paths. It should also aid in turning everything over next weekend, to have the beds clearly delineated.

Hell of a lot of work.

It was good working alone, for the most part. (Mom's still afflicted with poision ivy and wasn't able to do a whole lot.) Moments came and went when I felt a little lonely, a little unappreciated, a little hopeless, but having gotten the beds mostly into shape I was able to end the day with a sense of accomplishment and possibility even though I didn't manage to get the raspberry rows tilled and planted with clover, weed any of the other garden beds, plant lettuces and flowers or pick any of those nice fat dandelions for wine. I did manage to harvest nettles, though, which are sitting on the kitchen counter now, waiting for a trim, wash and dry...

All in all, things are looking pretty good. The new beds around the arbor are just right, and I'm really happy with them and all the rest of it. More than once today I stopped and found myself thinking how much I really love this garden...

It's after midnight, and I've managed to waste two whole hours since I got home. Time for nettles, and then to bed. Hope you've had as good a day as mine.

Monday, May 11, 2009

out and about on the Kettle

might be my first (White Trout Lily)

state of grace (Trillium)

you can see through (Maples over Sandstone)
...but I can't focus

can you see it?

(we like it here)

lost my bobber in that there tree (don't bother trying to find it)

we crossed here (on those trees, to get to the island, to put out a smoldering fire around a small red pine which was apparently started by some stupid asshole who wanted to ruin everything just to get off)

me and my shadow

beings from another land

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

itch I have to scratch (!!!)

Okay. I haven't had poison ivy in quite a while, maybe so long that I thought I was impervious to it, which might explain why I took no precautions whatsoever while digging around in the fencerow on Sunday even though I should have known better. It wasn't until yesterday afternoon that I began to notice it, and it didn't really seem that bad, just a couple small spots on my arms, but overnight I lost control and managed not only to get it on my hands and fingers (I had been wearing gloves, of course) but somehow on my left knee and also my forehead (lovely) and it's been driving me mad all day now. This isn't some little insect bite or even a nice fat bee sting. At the moment I can conceive of nothing more satisfying than scratching the hell out of this stuff, even though I know it's wrong, so wrong. At this rate I'm going to wake up tomorrow with some in my ear and more on my lips, I swear. So let this be a lesson to me. Leaves of three, let it... wait. What leaves??

Monday, May 4, 2009

Notes on the tree planting

For those interested in details, here's the scoop on the tree plantings we did last weekend.

For the windbreak, we staked out an area approximately 22' wide by 180' long, at a distance of about 10' west of the back garden fence. Running the length of the corridor, we marked three rows, 11' apart, and staked them in 10' increments. Between these we marked two more rows and staked at 10' increments, offset from the first rows by 5', for a total of 88 tree sites.

The contour slopes gently down from south to north and from east to west, with a rise of a few feet. At the northern end is a low spot which tends toward the wet side, with sedges and grasses of that inclination; the soil there is rich, moist and quite dense. At the southern end, the soil is loose and loamy, almost sandy in places. The entire area is part of a field which has for years been mowed for hay by a farmer who lives down the road; two years ago it was disced and replanted in clover, field peas and rye, but many of the wild plants persist, including patches of yarrow, mullein and cinquefoil, many different varieties of wildflowers, timothy and other grasses. We gathered much red clover and yarrow in this area last season, for tea and medicine.

Staking, planning, marking and tagging took up the better part of the morning. Help arrived at around noon and within a short time all the holes had been dug, using a method devised by C Monkey which proved to work quite well: cut a small circle, bisect it, and flip the halves out of the hole. Planting took a few hours, with three of us working at it. In retrospect we might have gotten through it more quickly if we hadn't dug such nice holes or worked the soil to the extent that we did, but if the care we took ends up improving the health of the plants and increasing their likelihood for survival, I think it was time well spent.

Toward the northern end we planted a snaking line of eleven sugar maples, which we hope to tap for syrup in the years to come. The rest of the planting was comprised of fairly equal numbers of wild plums, chokecherries, pin cherries, highbush cranberries, juneberries, and hazelnuts, with some red osier and a few crab apples; all but the juneberries and hazelnuts were part of the 'wildlife package' we bought from Pine County SWCD.
The idea was not to build a classic farmstead windbreak but to provide a moderate amount of wind protection, bird and insect habitat, seasonal beauty, fort-building potential and perennial edibles. For our first design on this scale I think it worked out pretty well. I guess we'll find out in a few years.

Later that evening we planted a hedge to the east of the sauna, to create a bit of a screen between the road and the sauna and house beyond. This is a relatively flat area with a mixture of lawn grass and other common 'weeds', and the soil here is loose and sandy. The hedge consisted of two staggered rows of six shrubs, chosen for both utility and beauty: five juneberries, four hazelnuts, three wild plums, two red osier dogwoods, and a partridge in a pear tree. Ha ha. Actually we haven't gotten the pear trees yet...

Item of note: we didn't find out until Saturday afternoon that Carlton County SWCD shorted us all our juneberries and more than half our sumac, substituting wild plums instead. Nice of them to make sure we got their money's worth. Anyway, we left the holes for the juneberries and hope to find another source to fill those 18 spots. Kind of a bummer, since they were a central player in both designs. Bright side is that now we can choose a few different varieties that will best suit our needs and tastes.

So that was Saturday. Sunday we planted another grove of sugar maples in the southeast corner of the orchard and spent a few hours filling in open spaces in the southern fencerow with what remained of the other trees, plus some staghorn sumac. The fencerow is an old one, marked by piles of fieldstones, with some nice big oaks, a basswood, a few maples, a white pine, and various understory shrubs below. Here and there some baby balsam and pines have taken root. Along the ballfield end some raspberries are coming in, along with a few gooseberries--a nice surprise. (Also, a not so nice one: turns out there's still a fair amount of poison ivy in there, I found out today.) The soil in throughout the fencerow is rich and loamy, loose and full of earthworms.
Quite a lot of worms all around, actually.

Overall, digging was a lot easier than I'd expected it would be (granted, I didn't do most of it), and the planting went fairly quickly. As it turned out, the more challenging parts of this project were finding stuff (stakes and tags, mainly, which we might have easily avoided with a little better planning) and deciding what would go where (again, planning and also communication). Conditions were really ideal for planting, with soft moist soils in all areas and beautiful sunny weather to boot. With the exception of a few dozen we set aside to share with others, almost all of those 250 trees made it into the ground. Not bad for a couple days' work.

Much gratitude to all of you who lent your time and energy to this effort. I think it's going to be awesome. I'm already looking forward posting those 'after' pics a few years from now...

I'm grateful, also, for all I learned in just three days--maybe less about the land and trees than about how to plan and execute a project of this kind, and how (not) to do things next time. I'm excited about the next big thing. And all the small things in between, as ever.


The same thing happened to me last year around this time, a sort of aural hallucination or perhaps astral projection in which I hear, all day long and through the night, the sound of frogs singing. It is there in the background, a constant chorus, soothing my winter-worn soul...

Reason tells me I cannot be hearing such music, over the hum of this machine and through these walls, beyond the traffic, but my senses betray me: I hear it, as I feel the beating of my own heart. It is a song which need be heard only once.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

holy crap am I tired.

I remember now why I didn't manage to post much during last year's growing season...

First of all it's more or less impossible to keep up with blogging about doing things when actually doing them. Secondly you have no idea how much time it can take to just find enough stakes for 50 trees, much less 100 or more. Thirdly where the hell are all the shovels? Fourthly why can't I find any colored yarn or string or the box of curling ribbon which I so conveniently labeled and stored with all the other Christmas crap in the upstairs bedroom so that I can color code the stakes for all these fucking trees since we didn't think ahead of time about just buying some of those little wired plastic flags and they don't sell them at either of the local hardware stores or lumber yard? Fifthly I'm tired already and what time is it? We're never going to get this done.

(By the way there's a reason no one ever gets to fifthly. It's hard enough just to look at it.)

A lot happened yesterday and today, including but not limited to: seeing my niece in her first feature role in a full-length play; planning and staking and planting a windbreak of more than one hundred trees behind (to the West and North) of the back garden; watching pairs of bluebirds and swallows negotiate for housing on the back fence; taking in the sound of frog songs in the background all day (even now I still hear them...); working shirtless, getting sunburned; tying one hundred little ribbons; sharing a delicious dinner of chickens, potatoes, broccoli, green beans and butter, all grown within a 5 mile radius; working til sundown with beer in hand; planting a (privacy) screen between the yet unfinished but oh-so-enticing sauna and the road to the East; walking out back after sundown to the sound of redwing blackbirds chattering madly around the pond; staying up late, admiring the moon; getting up late, avoiding the sun; getting all pissy for no good reason; planting a grove of sugar maples in the SE corner of the orchard; counting and recounting and counting again how many we have left of what; filling in spaces in the Southern fencerow with the remainder of 250 trees of different 10 varieties purchased from the local Soil & Water Conservation Districts; being a witchy bitchy nasty hateful harpy (oh yes, I suck); finding old nettles in the new raspberry patch; finding more space for more trees; gazing in awe at the grace and beauty of sandhill cranes flying low overhead, and their shadows below; getting really tired of making decisions about trees; venting all the way home; starting a flat of basil & parsley, some elecampane and two flats of melons, along with a couple unusual cucumbers; eating last year's nettle soup for dinner (so implausably green, so inconceivably good); sitting down for hours...

(digging action)

(looking up, sandhill crane)

Overall it was just an amazingly beautiful weekend and perfect weather for the work there was to do. Many hands pitched in and we managed to get the better part of all those trees in the ground, and I'm very grateful to all and to everything for that. I wish I had the energy to do some decent writing because there are so many many things I've left out, but I'm ready to drop... The sun looks good on me, though, and does a pretty nice job of hiding the bags under my eyes. I'm about ready for it now.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


It's about an hour past sunrise on an incredibly beautiful morning here. I hesitate to use the word "perfect" but I think the only thing wrong with it is that we're supposed to be planting two hundred trees today.

Sometimes clouds pass over the moon in a way that leaves the night full of holes, smoke-ringed windows through which the stars magically come and go. Last night was one of those nights. I could watch a sky like that for hours...

Back to the half-moon, I rested my elbows on the garden fence and shed a few tears at all this beauty and sadness. The cat stood in my moonshadow, caressing it with her tail. I spoke and she trotted over to my feet, eager for affection, as I reached through the wires to touch her little head. She's a bit wild, that one, but she'd have followed me anywhere, right then. It's good to have a companion, roaming the night.

There's something about the way a White Pine shimmers in the morning light that makes it easier to start the day. This morning I walked downstairs and looked out the front door to see a Sandhill Crane gliding out over the yard toward the Oak Grove, which I took as a good sign. We have a long day's work ahead of us.