… Wind Doth Blow

Oh, dear.

The snow came and went, the rain swept through, and the sweeping included a few odd bits of architecture. This was our greenhouse.

Used to be a greenhouse

It’s pretty small damage from a storm that left  some folks with burst pipes, collapsed roofs, or standing water in their livingrooms. Still, I think it’s sheltered its last tomato starts.

The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.

Well, never mind that, because this weekend THE SUN HAS COME OUT. Rush, rush. Get into the garden!

Almost always there comes a weekend in January when the weather fairs off and some short spasm of garden work can be indulged.  Usually I give it to the herb garden. Weeding out and snipping up the herb plants is a job on the right scale for a short interval of sun in midwinter, and the soil there is more likely to have drained enough to be forgiving of gloved hands in the dirt. At the moment we have no herb garden, since everything that was garden is now heaps of construction spoils.

But there is orchard to prune! Whee! I mean it. I have had such a case of toxic garden withdrawal this year, and all the more acute in the winter weather. So I found the clippers

Still Life at Pruning Time

(now, there’s a miracle all on its own) and went forth to do service against the forces of crossing limbs.

Now, look here. It is January, after all. So I wore my coat and hat like a sensible gardener. But it was not 15 minutes when I had the coat off again.


My condolences go to you-all who live east of us and are looking at those -20F temperatures. I know I was tired of just ordinary 20F quickly enough. But today I revel. And I am not alone. Little speaks of comfort like a hen finding a place to dust up on a winter afternoon

Dust, beautiful dust

or a cat absorbing the heat from a window.

Yellowcat taking a break

I give you that the day was short for the task, my arms and hands are not well toned after 3 months or so of garden idleness, my clippers, peccato mio,  are not sharp,

prega per noi peccatori, adesso e nell'ora della nostra morte

and the quest for the perfect 45-degree cut is never reliably fulfilled.  But I sweated a bit, and reminded myself of a couple of callouses softening, and found a few muscles that have lain dormant. Ahh. How sweet the smell of severed bark. How musical the sound of clippers closing.

Actually a t-shirt!

A good day in January.

Published in: on January 18, 2009 at 2:47 pm  Comments (3)  

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  1. I’m enjoying this wonderful day too, pruning some grape vines and hunting for truffles in the forest in the afternoon when the ground thaws a bit. I have a greenhouse that survived the wind and it’s empty so far. If you want to me to foster some seedling for you this spring, let me know. I’d be happy to trade greenhouse space for your greenhouse cultivation knowledge. I’m on Lewellen, I tried parading the neighborhood with a rose in my teeth (your suggestion from nov), but I only attracted the attention of the goats down the street. 🙂

    If you found a rose in this winter setting, you don’t need any help from me! Thanks for the offer. With any luck, we will have some new greenhouse space in time to set things for the garden this year. I need to do a construction update to give an idea of what’s coming. The new greenhouse will be part of the house, a critical piece of the solar engine. Stay tuned — maybe next post.

    And, did you find any truffles?


  2. I want your chicken! She looks so happy in the sunlight. Is it still warmish?

    Yesterday was sunny still (frost in morning, sun bright enough to melt the ice in the open, cold again at night), but today the clouds are coming in. I don’t know if the chickens know enough to look forward to the next sunny day, but they are good philosophers: carpe diem is a way of life.


  3. I did find truffles, we have white and a few black every now and then. My husband is a member of the mycological society and some of the members came out a few years ago and we were excited to find out that we had them here on our place. Happy to share if you want some. I sell the big ones in portland but the little ones taste the same and I always have extras. If you want to come hunt for them sometime let me know, you might have them on your place too! Once you’ve seen where they are found here you might find that you have areas with similar growing conditions.

    You have my interest now! I have looked and looked the last few winters, scratching under the firs with a garden fork, sniffing for that bleach smell in the roots, looking for a hint of something fungal and knobby. I would love a lesson in truffling!

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