Monday, May 07, 2012


But wait a minute – aren’t summers free from teaching supposed to have me make progress on my writing project (aka the book)?

Well yes, but I wont return to it until my exams are written and graded and that’s several weeks before me. My classes are not small.

In the meantime, Ed and I continue to work the land.

Four years ago, I created a flower bed by the path to the sheep shed.
Three years ago, I started work on the flower bed by the path to the farmhouse door.
Two years ago, we weeded and I planted the flower bed at the “front” of the farmhouse.
Last year we began work on the huge bed to the west.
And this year we’re at it again – besides the so far fantastically successful orchard, with our 13 trees and 11 blueberries, and besides the veggie patch out front, we’re adding a flower bed to the east.


For Ed, it’s not about creating beds. His goal is to cut back on the “lawn,” which is hardly a lawn – rather, a mixture of grasses and weeds. And so he whips...

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...and he moves and removes boulders, old railroad ties...

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...and he piles on the chips, taking free truckloads from anyone who is in the business of shredding trees. (Our latest contributor: Madison Gas & Electric.) Conventional wisdom has it that woodchips take away nitrogen from the soil, but we’ve had such tremendous success with shredded wood that Ed is convinced that the CW is too conventional and with not a lot of wisdom to it. There’s much to the process of wood chip decomposition, spore creation, etc etc, that is so complicated that it’s rather like trying to understand the economy – anyone’s guess is good until proven wrong.

The days of planting and tending are magnificent in May. By mid June, bugs start to be a nuisance, but for now, it’s just us and the butterflies. And Isis. 

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He follows us as we lift and shovel and fill and occasionally Ed will say – he’s happy, he has a good life here and I agree and we both know that these comments are only in part about the cat.