Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I came home after this diversion, with thoughts of doing something outdoors that might be both gratifying and productive. A given glance around this farm gives an endless list of things which might fall into either of those categories. I juggled and few and then I looked at the area formerly known as the veggie garden, now an overgrown jungle of surrounding shrubs that have way over grown their “matures to something? feet high??” nursery tags, the interior path ways filled with dry grasses, volunteer zinnias, and goldenrod, and raised boxes undetectable. I felt somewhat like Scarlet O’Hara standing in the post Yankee ravaged South, ruined garden of Tara, and I said to myself, “As god is my witness, I will grow collards in here again!” And thus began my afternoon of righteous labor with intent to take back that which nature had the full summer to run amuck with.
Soon I was in my rhythm snatching the villainous weeds and stuffing them into my bucket. Once full, the bucket was dumped into the front end loader. This continued for unknown hours. The tractor made at least 4 trips to the compost pile to dump this mess and at long last the horses convinced me it was “quittin’ time” and I stopped my mission for the afternoon. Mission was not anywhere close to being accomplished but I had scared some of the weeds still left in there pretty bad, and they know I am coming back for them, soon. I did feel pretty darned gratified.
I did pause Sunday, as I worked, and looked around, and listened, enjoying the pleasure of being able to be outdoors again, and even though working hard, not dieing from the heat. It was pleasant, apart from a few nasty fire ants that got into my glove, to be working with the soil, making room for new plants. The scent of the herbs that I hit as I weeded filled my nose and made my mouth water. First, closest to the gate is the bed of chocolate mint, a small leaved mint that has a distinct sweet and yes, chocolate smell, like peppermint patties. Then the garlic chives mixed with this, followed by the thick scent of the basil stems I broke, and then the rosemary chimed in. It was an olfactory overload, but very nice.
Across the pond from the garden, the tall sweet gum trees were filled with the autumn arrivals, the fish crows. This time of year these birds come in large groups and sit at the very tops of the trees boisterously yakking back and forth with a nasal sort of honking and beeping. They are smaller than the regular crows we have here year round and they do not make the “caw” type sound of the larger birds. Theirs is a sound that now quintessential October background noise for me, like June bugs in June. These fish crows will hang around for a while and then be gone to parts unknown, hopefully to return to sing their songs next October, and for more after that.
My back “told me so” the next morning when I got up, about that weeding thing, but a few Tylenol later I was up and kicking. I rode my mare, Sunset, back to the creek, through the woods on the south border of the property. We sauntered along like I was on a Thelwell pony, with her grabbing bits of grass as we walked in the filtered sunlight, leaves crunching under her feet, and lazily made our way back to the creek. The creek was very low and the swamp maples were only hinting at turning colors but showed promise of doing so soon. The trails had done like my garden and were a bit thick to travel through in parts but it was a nice hack.
The perimeter trail ends on the north side into a field that doesn’t get cut regularly and tends to grow wild after a few years. When I came out of the shade of the woods I came into a field of golden sunflower/daisy like flowers blooming on very tall shafts. Goldenrod blooms laid out in a blanket of gold below it and sporadically placed were towers of a pink wild flower I don’t know the name of.
It was spectacular, and it was peaceful. It is nice sometimes to be able to be totally blown away at a simple field of wild flowers and not just be a viewer from a car window, but to be riding a nice horse through it, and just be, there, in a sweet moment suspended in time, and one of sheer unexpected beauty.