Sunday, September 30, 2007

Autumn Ruminations

Today was a perfect autumn day. The morning was cool and comfortable, and the afternoon temperature was in the 70s. It was a great day to work outside.

In the morning, Chris and I ventured out to the pasture. I was assigned the monotonous but strangely satisfying task of picking up sticks. There are quite a lot of bits and pieces left over after bush-hogging. As I raked and stacked sticks, Chris expounded on two of his favorite topics:
  1. Which trees need to come down (after his collarbone heals, of course)
  2. Which model of tractor he wants to buy
I have learned after 2o+ years that Chris makes decisions by talking about the subject. My role in all this is to listen and offer the occasional opinion, but mostly let him ruminate. The purpose of the discussion is not to make a decision right then. It's to make a decision at some point. So, having taken down umpteen trees this year, we still don't have a completely clear view from house to pasture. This will change, once it is determined which trees are dead or otherwise unsightly. Second, we have a behemoth of a tractor affectionately called "Ned the Bull," who is old, unpredictable, and far from agile. It is time for Ned to retire; the question is, what sort of young whippersnapper will take his place? I think Chris has worked through enough options to know it will be four-wheel-drive with a front-end loader. But how many horsepower? Will it have a belly mower or a bush-hog? Can you attach a post-hole digger? My oh my, the permutations and combinations are endless. I had no idea. So I listen, and nod politely, and look forward to welcoming a new tractor in the coming weeks or months.

In the afternoon I moved to the front garden and went after the weeds that have piled up around the bushes. This was a solitary task, and gave me time to do some of my own ruminating. It's time I had a project of my own on our property, and I'm going to start a vegetable garden. I've been inspired by our strawberry patch that refused to die despite a year of neglect, and by the "eating locally" movement in general. And today I read this great post, "Lettuce Give Thanks," by A Mark on my Wall, where she is trying to eat mostly food that comes from within 100 miles of her Chicago home.

So I've chosen the spot for my veggie garden, and I've requested a book from the library that came highly recommended by some of my bookworm friends: John Seymour's The Self-Sufficient Gardener. I'll do some prep work as I can during the autumn. Over the winter I plan to read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which I know will be motivating. And, I'll pore over seed catalogs and other how-to books and internet sites. With any kind of luck, we'll have fresh produce in the summer !!

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