Sunday, May 05, 2013

the lay of the land

[UPDATE no.2: Thank you, Lili, another faithful observer of the farmette life, for reminding me of the silo. Yes, there's that structure as well. Right next to the garage. And as long as I'm updating, make that *60* more everbearing strawberries to plant. In neat little rows, a dozen each, alternating with flowers.]

[UPDATE: Thank you,  Golden West -- this morning's commenter -- for being more alert than I was when I wrote this post! For the sake of thoroughness, I neglected to mention yet another structure on the farmette -- the writer's shed: a pretty little building that was once to be my writing retreat. Before I decided to move here permanently. The writer's shed isn't completely finished, but it can be and perhaps will be some day. Ed says that if they scrap the farm fields and put in a development next to us, we'll put the writer's shed on wheels and set it down somewhere else and start everything again in a new place! All the farmette structures, by the way, form a vast circle: farmhouse at the south, garage at the west, sheep shed and barn at the north and writer's shed at the east. In the center is the vast courtyard that is a place of great magic for me.  You see it in many photos. I can't stop being enchanted by it.
Another correction -- 25 more strawberries to plant!]

A commenter to the previous post asked about the raspberry bushes at the farmette. Well now, it struck me that any number of readers probably do not have such a fine recollection as to what's what. So that when I write about extending a flower bed from the farmhouse to the sheep shed, you may be yawning and wondering -- is this even a big deal?

So let me explain.

The farmette has several structures to it: the farmhouse, of course. In addition, a freestanding garage, but neither of us keeps a car there. It's basically Ed's guy tool and scrap shed. With bikes and motorcycles thrown in.

Then there is the sheep shed. That's Ed's hangout. Machines, papers. cobwebs -- the kind of place where he can retreat and no one will tell him to straighten up and get serious.

And there is a barn. Teetering, yes, that. A lot of loose boards. There's a tractor within it. I know that. But really, I stay away from the place. Over the years, birds have set up nests and as a result, the place is full of bird poop.

Okay, but who cares about the structures! The month of May is about the outdoors. So what can I say about the outdoors?

Visualize this: nearly every project and land improvement plan has focused on the courtyard of the farmette. If you were to drive by our place, you'd never know, for example, that we have just created the biggest flower beds this side of the Mississippi. It's private. Hidden from view. I don't intend it to be that way -- it's just the lay of the land.

In terms of flower beds? Well, I have a mega one to the north of the farmhouse, a sizable one to the west and a difficult one to the east. In addition, we have a tomato patch out back and a new and expanding orchard there as well.

And now the new flower bed that extends on and on, from farmhouse to sheep shed.

There is aloso the raspberry patch. Call it a project. One of top ones to come back to (up there, along with rebuilding the front entrance). There are hundreds, nay, thousands of raspberry canes  just to the east of the sheepshed. They used to bare fruit. One of these days we'll tear them all out and start from the beginning. But not this month. Maybe not even this year. There are too many other projects. And far too few hours in the day to accomplish them all.

But I can try!

And so again, the day is handed over to the world of the outdoors.  We eat breakfast on the porch...

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...I take stock (we are nearly at the peak of the daffodil season)...

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....and plunge.

Flowers to move, divide, share with the new emergent flower bed. Bareroot strawberries to put in (I plant 10. 15 to go!).

And finally, the tomatoes that we started form seed: let them thrive and fly in the real world out there!

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(We planted about two dozen. That's less than a third of what has to go in.)

 At the end of the day we are yet again exhausted.  It's a good thing that my daughter is over for dinner or else I'd keep on going until I could go no more.

Late, very late in the evening, my girl and I walk the land. The sun is nearly set.

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We talk about how odd it is that neither girl has the gene of working outdoors. My girls love the flowers, but not the work that goes into raising them. Kids share a little of who you are. But only a little. (Which, really, is a good thing.)

Late in the evening, I play old records and she and I sing loudly to them...

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...and Ed dozes sweetly, gently, as if nothing in the world could wake or disturb him.