Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Thing We Have To Do

The quote I pulled up on my journal list today is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  He said, "It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do that makes life blessed."  If you are a gardener, in Minnesota or elsewhere in the land of snow and cold, you are probably wishing you could be outdoors, gardening--the thing you like to do.  Instead, it's time to do the thing we have to do:  get through a few more weeks of winter--and enjoy it! 

Yesterday, armed with printouts from the University of Minnesota horticulture site, we pruned our apple trees.  Pruning is one of those jobs that is actually kind of fun if you do it when needed.  There is a little surge of power that comes with every waterspout beheaded.  A feeling of satisfaction at a tree well shaped.  On the other hand, if you forgo pruning and the tree gets out of control, as our first State Fair apple has, you have a job on your hands.   The State Fair is now crowned with a lot of unsightly top growth from too large a cut-back two years ago.  The only good thing I can say about pruning it is that it causes one to look up, instead of down (at the snow beneath the boots.)  The rusty-brown leaves of the pin oak make a beautiful complement to the blue sky.  I feel blessed just knowing that I don't have to prune the top of this giant.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Front Yard Poultry

 Backyard poultry may be the new urban craze, but I'm taking it to the front yard.  That's right, late winter is a great time to show off hens and chicks.  So succulent you could make a potpie from them?  Well, maybe not quite.  Just now, when I'm getting itchy for something to start growing, these don't just hint at flowers to come--they are a bouquet today.  A bonus: This mass of once molten rock, which looks like a milky quartz crossed with Swiss cheese, makes the perfect pen for my poultry.  I'm not gathering any eggs, of course, but then, there are no cages to clean.  Highly recommended.