Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Measuring Progress

Tuesday, January 9th. A cold front is moving in and some snow is expected. It will be the first snow in some time. The spring-like weather has afforded an opportunity to do and see things at the new property which would normally have waited until spring.

I worked both days this weekend and three or four days a week after work since Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th, when I wrote a piece entitled Land Lessons and Wildflowers. I said something which suggested that new land and new gardens need to have a vision and I showed this picture.

Today I coaxed Gail and Alex to come down and see the progress and help load the truck with brush. I've surpassed twenty loads for sure so any help loading is a welcome change. I didn't think they really wanted to go as the wind was swirling and it's not the greatest job to begin with but they are a part of this project and they know it. As we pulled off Route 2, I stopped at the top of the hill so they could look down at what had been a collection of poplars, alders, grey birch, blackberries, wild cucumber, grape and wood vines, burdocks and assorted rush and weeds. They said nothing but their eyes told their thoughts and rewarded me for my efforts.

If you click on each picture separately, you should be able to see the difference. The property line is more apparent now that the debris is cleaned up. The make shift road left from the days when this was the town and State sand pit is more prominent now. Its height serves as a diversion for water runoff from Route 2 as well as water that is hydraulically moved from the hill above and the adjacent river. Next summer I'll have to get local contractor Kevin Hudson to stop by with his traxcavator for a couple hours and create a ditch parallel to the old roadbed to encourage the water to head back to the river.

Yes, I'm pleased with the weather and pleased with my progress. I can measure it it smiles from my family and friends, truckloads of brush removed or the honking of passers by. Since I've started this project I have met people every week that I have never seen before or who I have seen but never spoken to. It's a rewarding experience for certain. Almost weekly since we bought the property, a logger in a shiny black rig gives me a wave and a long ho-o-o-onnnk with the air horn as he heads west, returning empty from either Canada or Maine. He's not from around here but somehow he wants to show that he notices change and I'll bet someday he slows that rig down enough to stop and say hi. Gardeners are like that and I'll bet he has had dirty hands before.

As we began to drive back up the hill, I pointed out to Gail and Alex where I wanted to plant some Astilboides tabularis, several varieties of ligularias and rodgersias, and some creamy white bloomed Aruncus doicus. I could see that Gail was drawing mental pictures of the layout even before she said "You've really done so much in so little time. This will be beautiful."
I reached down and pushed the lever out of four wheel drive and we headed home.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the thermometer reads 24.7 and the snow has stopped at 2 inches.

Gardening wishes,

George Africa

1 comment:

John Curtin said...

Hi George,
Interesting to read of conditions so different than ours here. Also read your comments on brussels - cooked right they're great and I have a stick pulled for this evenings meal.

I've spent some time in Brookline/Putney Vermont. I notice you've a link to Brattleboro (a town I like). Do you know Duttons and the Dam Diner near Townsend Dam?! Where's your place in relation to these?