Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Still Bitter, Still Clinging to My Guns

The tractor’s down again, so I decided to clean up a bit.
I spent the day clearing brush from the fence along the back property line. The property line, in itself, is a bit of socialism: I share it with my neighbor, Jack, and the French Broad Electric Co-Operative. French Broad comes through every few years and clears it out for me, readying themselves for the day when a big wind just blows their power poles over and they’ll have to rush in there to restore electricity. But I decided to help them out a bit, this year. It’s an election year I decided there was no better way to celebrate than to get myself tangled up in a half acre of invasive thorns. A pound of sweat and a gallon of gas later, I’ve got everything looking pretty good. Rose briars are hacked up, right up to the power right of way, and locusts are cut at ground level. I left them willy nilly along the fence lines, sometimes leaning against each other, so the birds would have something to play on. Winter can be somewhat dull for a bird – even from a hundred feet the monochrome of the landscape can be kinda dull, and I want to encourage them to recreate.
The long term plan for the back fence is to get it clean enough to run two bush-hog swaths along it, keeping it mowed about ten feet out. I need to keep the briars from entangling themselves in the fence wires, and I need to keep the locust stumps from getting big enough to hurt the bush-hog. As it is now, I ignore it, and French Broad comes along every few years and obliterates everything with this riding lawn mower/assault vehicle thing they have. Pretty nifty: mows everything, including old tires. But I figure there’s a better way. So I want to keep it mowed and establish pasture. The birds probably have other preferences; the briar shoots and little locust and poplar are perfect for them. The high grass and the eventual goldenrod are perfect for something else. I like the scrubby side areas of the farm – or, I like what lives there. Less and less of the farm, every year, qualifies as scrubby. As I clean up, plant, build, etc. things neaten up. I’ve sort of re-established that kind of habitat: perennial shrubs, berries, fruit trees, but there’s nothing like a true opportunist. Raspberries planted in a strait row are a poor substitute for a multiflora rose thicket. Anise hyssop and Echinacea stalks are never as much fun as goldenrod and ironweed. The birds are just gonna have to be happy with what they’ve got. I’d prefer my surrounding more natural, also, but I compromise without bitterness. I need that fence to make a living, and I’m not going to build a fence and then fail to take care of it. You don’t do this year after year after insufferable year without some sense of purpose. You don't do it without clinging to hope.


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