Sunday, January 03, 2016

A light dusting

I have begun work on my rakusu. This is a miniature monk's or nun's robe which is worn at certain times like a bib, symbolically connecting me, through the generations, with Gautama Buddha himself, and a sign of my acceptance of the precepts to guide me through life. Each of these tiny panels will be hand stitched to the others, and is a symbolic rice paddy. One is "nourished" by the precepts, you see.

A light dusting. Because temperatures have been falling into the low twenties (Fahrenheit), I've been covering the kale patch. Beloved brings in the poultry's water buckets at night and sets them out in the mornings, to keep them from freezing. It's not really cold cold, though. A look at the woodshed confirms this.

You can see there is a fair amount of chop-and-drop Japanese knotweed in the current mulch. It was laid on last summer, leaves and all, to help shade the garden during the intense drought.

When the thermometer drops into the twenties, we put a little birdseed out.

Lark buntings, which I've not seen before, swarmed the feeder. They seemed to be passing through. As I went out, they retreated to the orchard and swore at me with a musical "chip-chip" that was a new sound to my ears.

I brought in a Brussels sprout plant, which must have sprung from a seed among a kale mix I'd bought. It's been waiting in the garden since March for me to take an interest, and today was its day. I use the broad leaves as well as the sprouts.

I've been visiting the potting shed and looking it over rather wistfully. You'd think I would know better than to go out there and try to pretend it's March.

Patience, girl.

This time of year that room is not much visited.
Its herringbone-patterned floor of worn bricks
tilts here and there where rodents have made inroads. 
Homemade flats lie heaped in corners; stacks of cells
lean sleepily together; insulation dangles;
tools hang, festooned with webs and dust. Sometimes 
when the door has been set ajar, a towhee wanders in,
becomes confused at light from so many windows,
beats itself silly, then rests, is eventually found 
and shown the way out. There's not much
an old lady can do but wait, watching for
earlier suns to rise, for petrichor, 
for that sudden dislocation brought on
by stepping into sunshine by a southern wall.
Then, after one jonquil blooms by way of 
affirmation, she'll step in, rearrange things,
dust her work bench and stool, bring seeds,
open the soil bin, grab a pot, begin.

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