Thursday, October 30, 2014
This fringe of roots is still attached to a tree that blew over in a hurricane about two years ago. The tree is still alive and growing aslant, with its limbs resting comfortably in the limbs of another tree some distance away. When the root mat flipped up, I naturally could not wait to look under it. There I found a rectangular stone box with fitted lid that I think may have been a water feature back in the Sheep Days (the earth is full of springs around here). I thought this was a sufficiently thrilling discovery to do for one downed tree, but this summer, as you can see on the left of the photo above, some helpful groundhog (Marmota utilis digibus) in the course of her labors, started tossing up terra cotta pipe fragments from the burrow she sited under the root mat overhang. You must admit, this is a very convenient spot to live, as it includes this huge covered porch. So I think the pipe shards are definitely associated with drainage, but I don't know if the groundhog hit a refuse dump full of broken piping (middens are another thing we have a lot of here), or if she is burrowing right through the old drain system itself, long since crushed by the weight of the world. In any event, water and marmots and the passage of time, and the passage of water and marmots through time, seem to be the theme of the day.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Just in time for Halloween, Great Aunt Matilda has been reduced to a pile of severed limbs. She was the enormous and fabulously old Christmas cactus I inherited when my friend Rodrica moved away, and she did alright for a while, until the summer that my daughter was in the hospital and I spent a lot of time driving back and forth. Whenever I got home, I watered the plants, on the theory that I didn’t want my plants to die and who knew when I might be back again? Consequently Great Aunt Matilda began a downward spiral that I just this morning realized was caused by root rot. However, unlike GAM, I am not ready to lie down and die. I saw where Lestat the vampire is back again, and if he can do it, so can we.
I partsed out Great Aunt Matilda, threw out her truly disgusting crown and nasty soil, and am presently aging off her cuttings in the nice warm kitchen, whence they will be re-planted into a scrupulously moist-but-never-wet, highly porous soil and given literally THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE. Which in our case means against the back wall of the south-facing, upstairs media room, a place suffused with bright indirect light. If she likes violent video games, moody French cinema and TV crime dramas of questionable intelligence, all the better. In the summers, she will be borne forth in her clay litter to summer in the tubercular ward, if she lives that long. She will be treated to kelp cocktails. She will be fawned over tirelessly. This is an explicit bribe.
I only hope it works.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
A couple weeks ago I pulled all the garlic and laid it on the front porch to cure for awhile before I hang it in the cellar. After a few days, the garlic scapes lifted up into the air, I guess so as to continue blooming unimpeded. It's a little creepy.
I said to my son, "I don't like that these garlic plants are strategizing. It's like they're conscious. I don't eat things that used to be conscious."
He said, "Their consciousness is just a chemical cascade."
I said, "So is mine."
"Well, you're screwed then. You have to stop eating."
I am eating anyway. I am just making sure to say thank you first.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Almost ten years ago, the viburnum leaf beetle arrived in our orchard and ran through the highbush cranberry (Viburnum opulum var. americanum) like forest fire. For years we saw scarcely a leaf of it anywhere. But last year or the one before, little short bushes began to appear in our brush islands, and now look! The cranberries are flowering again! Planting for wildlife is one of my guiding principals in developing our place, so I am overjoyed.
In other red news, we learned this week that the chicken and duck flock on the next hill to the north was wiped out in its entirety by a bobcat, who was caught red-mustached on the neighbor’s gamecam. I suspect this is the individual who killed Enterprise.
And the latest tooth-and-claw update—the ducks went way too far from the house and were attacked in broad daylight by a very large raccoon, who was then killed on the road that night, no doubt leaving behind a litter of orphans. Brutish, nasty and short—an excellent summation. The ducks are confined to quarters, where they are nursing neck wounds and testing the new fencing for weaknesses.
Monday, May 5, 2014
The sliding door to the Sheep Room no longer closes, and I am uneasy for the 3-Headed Goose that is sitting on the next nest over from where Enterprise was snatched. The geese are a lot louder and more violent than the gentle, docile turkey, but they are still essentially helpless against carnivores.
As you have probably guessed, John is going to Colorado tonight.