Saturday, October 19, 2013

growing things

The farmette has many trees. On balance, that's a good thing. Shade. A feeling of privacy. Spring buds, autumn colors.

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(For my breakfast photo, I give you the mighty crab, which, in the morning hours, is abuzz with robins and their compatriots, hacking away at the red fruits.)


But for the most part, these trees aren't your sweet little trees put in some years back, still waiting for their adolescence. These are mega trees that tower and explode with new growth each year. And of course, some branches die off.

We have moved beyond the impasse, Ed and I. He no longer objects to sawing off dead branches. But to go after live limbs (ones that block light or bully their way into a space occupied by another) --  he says he cannot do it. And so as we once again team up to do our seasonal tree pruning (at least at the level where we can reach branches with our pole power saw), the negotiations begin.

That one. It needs to go.
No it doesn't.
It's killing these beautiful shrubs.
Fine, just that one. Sorry tree!
It'll love you for it. Trees like to be pruned.
How do you know?

And so on.

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It's a massive project and we only have time and energy for so much of it. As we haul the last load of branches to the enormous wood pile out back, I look over toward the fields to the north of the farmette. They're used by truck farmers as well, though not anyone we know.

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The skies are of an uncertain mode. Cloudy. Not cloudy. Partly so. It makes for a beautiful display! But I know what's coming: frost this next night. The most vulnerable flowers are having their last flowering moment.

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Enough nostalgia. There's more work to be done! In the prairie grasses out back I see that we have our old foe trying to make a comeback -- the honeysuckle that we'd worked so hard to eradicate is sprouting again in small clumps.

We get to it: they all have to be clipped back. You leave one standing and you'll have twelve cousins joining it in the space of a month.

A commenter asked about our master plan here, at the farmette. It really is quite simple. We love that it is wild and untamed. That most would say "overgrown" rather than "manicured." That every flower bed is freewheeling and seemingly unplanned.

But there are limits to that prairie freedom out there. If honeysuckle were allowed free reign, these puffs of prairie seed would soon disappear.

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If creeping charlie continued to mount its aggressive expansion, we'd lose our raspberries, our flower beds, our strawberry patches.

So we try to channel growth. To moderate, to redirect.

...And then we retreat inside, for a late late lunch of peanut butter sandwiches with Ed's grape jam, eaten at the kitchen table (bathed in the light of a bright Fall day).

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The farmette at her seasonal best. Stunning, even if a bit unkempt and wild around the edges..