Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Late Winter Gardening Day Check List

  • Towels dried in the sun.  At the end of the day, I will wash off the actual sweat of outside physical labor, and smell the sunshine on the sun and wind roughened terrycloth.  I will rejoice in that simple pleasure, which will be followed by a glass of wine.  
  • Located garden coveralls, which were stashed last October in the back of my closet, and forgotten on the rainy and cold days of winter.  
  • Located my favorite garden pruners, oiled them, and put them in the pocket of my garden overalls, and ventured out into blinding sunlight.  My sweatshirt was too hot for me, and I left the front door open, frightening the cat that likes to stay inside.  “Dad, what is that bright light?” she meowed.  I am not sure.  It is a strange and unfamiliar phenomenon.
  • a month’s worth of trash burned, including an amazing collection of cardboard boxes.  Do these just reproduce in the dark garage like rabbits?
  • Kitchen compost to the compost bin, which I turn over.  Anticipation of putting compost out in a month on the grapes and apples.  The funky compost odor smelled good, almost springlike.  
  • Lawn mowed, ending the “winter rough” look.  Getting intoxicated on the smell of fresh mowed grass.  The lawn mowing activity brought back the simple pleasure of cutting grass and not having to really think about much, except just following the pattern of mowing.  A word of gratitude to the gods that the lawn mower actually started.  
  • Flag put out, with no foreseeable hurricane force winds to propel it a quarter mile down wind, or twist the flag and the metal pole into a broken pretzel.   Watched the flag flap in the breeze, against bright blue sky.  
  • Apple tree planted, replacing tree twisted in half by November gale.
  • Plum tree planted, adding on to our little orchard.  Now there are two plum trees.  Noted that I am not a precise planter of orchards, and future pickers of fruit here will note my less than exact grid of trees.  May the apple gods remind them that this Johnny Appleseed was a lawyer, not a surveyor.  Or, maybe they will just blame the less than perfect grid of trees on the storms, or think that I got into the Scotch before I started to plant the orchard.  I’m OK with that idea.
  • Tied up two apple trees listing leeward from the prevailing winter gales.  New stakes and lots of baling twine.  Now, the orchard actually looks like an orchard, rather than an example of wind damage, and Exhibit A of an application for a FEMA claim.
  • Pruned apple orchard of “new” trees.  It is, amazingly, the eighth year for this orchard and it is starting to really look like an orchard.  I am especially nice to the tree that produced its first crop of amazing pie apples last fall.  I asked the gods of the orchard for an encore of that gift.
  • Planted magnolia in front yard, anticipating its eventual growth to twenty five feet, and filling the yard with the scent of magnolia blossoms every spring.  Had to expand the hole, as I discovered what is likely a very significant buried rock.  I consciously tried not to think about the three other magnolias that have died in the front yard by my hand and the whimsy of the gods.  
  • Eucalyptus trees re-staked and pushed upright, with more bailing twine.  They apparently do not like 60 mph gale force winds.  Wimps!
  • Bark dust reapplied around some of the shrubs in the front yard, making the yard actually somewhat presentable.
  • Bird nesting boxes cleaned out, letting them dry out in the sun and readying them for the spring nesting season.  Last week, a house finch mama was seen checking them out.  I must be a good host for the parents arriving soon.
  • Mentally noted an expanding list of future garden chores awaiting me the next time I venture out.  
  • Realized that Tylenol is an essential element of one’s love of gardening and the enjoyment of a sunny day in February.

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