Sunday, March 20, 2005


Today was lovely, bright, warm, sunny. Well, not so warm that I lost my sweatshirt for very long at a time with the breeze that was blowing, no I didn’t. But I didn’t have the usual hat or earband either.

With husband transplanting spinach and beets into the garden (the spinach seeds planted 27 days ago had grown their first true leaves and their roots to the bottom of the trays), I took the horse to the front fields to graze, not meaning to stay down there. But stay I did. First I worked in the berries, finding them, cutting out last years canes, tying up this year’s canes. Some of them are thornless blackberries we got from an uncle’s garden when he died. I should write the aunt and tell her I was working his blackberries today. Some of them are not thornless and I did not have my gloves with me. Ouch.

When I’d finished that I put on my stream bank restoration hat. We’ve watched through the years how the creeks move, and how nature stabilizes that movement, and what exacerbates it. When we bought the place the front creek was “clean” meaning it had no trees growing along it. Streams need a riparian boarder undisturbed to stay healthy, to control erosion, to keep the water from overheating, to provide hiding and food for the life that would teem there. So we’ve let it grow. But some areas need some help and we do various things – pile brush, find a big rock to redirect the flow of water, and encourage the willows. Today was a willow day. I just cut budding tips from the existing willows and push them into wet dirt where they seem needed. Some will root, some will not. A few roots make a world of difference. I got my feet wet through my boots and I had a blast. Doing that I found the most pure vein of clay I’ve ever seen in the wild. I don’t know if there is enough for an oven or not but it is what it made me think of (see the Earth Ovens book).

I even managed to vault myself up onto the horse and ride back.

The roses have leaves. So do the gooseberries. Have you ever read Anton Chekhov’s story Gooseberries? I think I pull it out and read it every spring.

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