Monday, June 16, 2014

Home improvements

Before it starts raining today, I want to go take some pictures of the decorative grasses that were planted yesterday as part of the site preparation for the day when the Daughter's Fiance becomes my Son-in-Law. Here's what they looked like before the transplant. I'm assuming they're not considered invasive or they couldn't have been sold at a commercial nursery. Then, again? (Further research indicates the grasses are considered an annual in our planting zone, but invasive in Florida, California and the south and southwest U.S. in general.)

pre-planting ornamental grasses
pre-planting ornamental grasses        © harrington

Before the grasses could be planted where the bride-to-be wanted them, the husband-to-be and the father-in-law-to-be had to remove some smaller cedar trees. That was more of a chore than I wanted on Father's Day. The small tractor we have doesn't quite have the muscle for stump pulling. When I used to drive a full size pickup 4WD, that worked nicely. No, with my heart in my throat, I put the Subaru Outback to work. Other than the fact that the rope kept sliding off the stumps, and I had forgotten how sharp cedar needles are, it worked well. Here's the largest stump we had to deal with. I think the tap root went down further than the trunk went up.

pulling a cedar stump
pulling a cedar stump                         © harrington

Since we're working on establishing a small orchard, mostly apple trees, I think we're going to extirpate the rest of the cedar tree population on "The Property." After yesterday's experience, we may rent a stump grinder for the larger trees, or hire someone to grind them for us. I don't want to begin to think about what it must have been like years ago to clear some of the fields around here with hand saws and oxen. James Galvin seems to have a grasp that how we think about where we live depends largely on our perspective.

On First Seeing a U.S. Forest Service Aerial Photo of Where I Live

By James Galvin 

All those poems I wrote
About living in the sky
Were wrong. I live on a leaf
Of   a fern of   frost growing
Up your bedroom window
In forty below.

I live on a needle of   a branch
Of   a cedar tree, hard-bitten,
Striving in six directions,
Rooted in rock, a cedar
Tree made of other trees,
Not cedar but fir,

Lodgepole, and blue spruce,
Metastasizing like
Bacteria to the fan-
Lip of a draw to draw
Water as soon as it slips
From the snowdrift’s grip

And flows downward from
Branch to root — a tree
Running in reverse.
Or I live on a thorn on a trellis —
Trained, restrained, maybe
Cut back, to hold up

Those flowers I’ve only heard of
To whatever there is and isn’t
Above.


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