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Monday, March 30, 2015

We see what we see


The broadbeans and peas are putting on a little height, and the pear trees are in bloom. Three more flats of the stunted greens -- collards, cabbage, turnips, kale, bok choi, chard and lettuce -- are added to the three beds. The beds are wider than they look here because the paths have slopped over onto them. So I'm comfortable with planting right next to the paths.

Slugs have been absent, oddly enough, though this is the kind of environment that thrills them. But I am getting some damage from escargot-sized snails. I go back and plug a new plant into each gap.

Starlings have been building a nest in the soffit above our garage entrance and a few days ago, I excluded them with a bit of plywood and four screws. They have not yet elected to go elsewhere and sit on the power lines above me, calling me names all day. Sorry, kids, it's a rough neighborhood.

Gaps in the weather have allowed me to paint the long wall by the creek, where the house tries hardest to mold. I include some of our homemade vinegar in the paint, with some salt and that seems to help.

I mowed half the pasture yesterday and hope to mow the other half today. At this time of the year, it's full of clover and not seedy so I'm bagging it all and hauling it to the compost heap, where the pile is already tall, green, and steaming.

Later in the year I'll chop-and-drop the going-to-seed pasture to maintain its fertility, mulch it against moisture loss, and discourage blackberries. I put the mower on its tallest setting, allowing the cut grass (it's really more of a meadow) to continue shading its own roots, preserving the green cast of spring well into summer. This year, though, we think we will go brown early.

The neighbors all tend to cut low, and their grass browns early. They bag and toss. I'd ask for the clippings, but I think they may contain weed-and-feed. Instead I take over a dozen eggs and chat. If hard times come, I want to be referenced as generous-natured.

Moths, which are sprouting from grubs in the pasture ground, sense the approach of the mower and rise into the sky ahead of me. These are the survivors of feasts wherein flocks of birds, usually the starlings, have gone over the ground grub-hunting.

Along our road, there are "swipes" on the edges of the ditches, where a bear or bears have turned over patches of sod looking for these grubs.

I don't think any of the neighbors have noticed about the bears -- or anyway they have not mentioned it. It's always what nice weather, what a cute dog, are you retired, we like your ducks. And I respond in kind: how do you like your new car, my the kids have grown, lovely daffodils you have this year.

I keep the bear to myself.

We do what we do, and we see what we see.

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