Saturday, April 07, 2018


Well, the month is quickly running away from us. Enough of waiting for the spring that will not come. We must get to work.

Let's start with the inside of the farmhouse. Each week I "clean" it. But you know how it is. There's cleaning and there's CLEANING and all too often I opt for cleaning with a very small "c." This weekend I make up for my sins. Baseboards, walls, you name it. All must be scrubbed. At least, this is the plan. I begin with gusto and even a modicum of enthusiasm. Spring cleaning!

I pause to tend to the baby chicks. I think they need an adventure to keep them from tearing their place apart. Here you go, babes! This is the outside world!

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(Tomato, as usual, is the most easy going about this new perch. Cupcake is the one most easily frazzled.)

Another pause, for breakfast.

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And then we brave the cold (and it is cold: just a degree or two above freezing) and work outside. I have a very clear vision of how we must prune our grape vines. The trip to Burgundy gave me ideas! And so we snip away.

(Before -- I know, a mess!)

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(After: gettin' there!)

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(The cheepers never come out to this corner of the farmette... except when we are here.)

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Fingers only partly frozen, we then attack the young orchard.

The planting of the new fruit trees has been eye opener for us on all that can go wrong. It took a couple of years to figure out how to protect the trees from deer. Having solved that problem (Ed built cages), we are now trying to understand why we loose the crop to birds and animals and, more importantly, why the trees are attacked each year by beetles so that by late summer, most leaves are skeletal images of what they once were.

Farming is not for the faint at heart.

By mid afternoon we're done with pruning. All work and no play! Time to head out for a leisurely hike. It is sunny, after all. Let's look for the turtles in the County Park up the road.

There are no turtles.The biting winds must have sent them scurrying. The park belongs to the brave souls. Geese...

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... ducks too, of course...

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...and in the fields -- cranes. Waiting for the warmer days...

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Deer, too. Looking for the greens shoots that should be here by now.

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It truly is astonishing that we should live this close to the heart of the city and yet have all around us the habitat for so many birds and beasts. True, the trucks and diggers have been rolling in this past week. They'll be starting construction in some of the open fields to the north, to the west. But right now, the land is vast and the developments that threaten to encroach upon it are limited.

We are so very fortunate that we should live here at a time where we can look over our shoulder and spot a deer, a badger, a wild turkey or a crane -- animals and birds that have lived in these wetlands, prairies and forests far far longer than we have.