Hoe a row and grab a tire.
Today I ate blackberries, hardwon by my partner in all things Farm. These blackberries were sweet, plump and special: they came from the land we're farming, the land we've promised to steward.
Alex told me that the small few handfuls he gathered took him nearly 15 minutes. In harvest-years, that's a defeatingly long time. But these blackberries had been planted years ago and have since turned feral as hell. These are blackberry canes who've developed the taste for the wild, and aren't too keen on giving up their sweetness easily.
They are fierce, hardy, and they fight back.
But when I reached into Alex's hat and popped a berry in my mouth, it felt all too right. You work hard for those moments when everything comes together in a moment of perfection. Life is hard.
This entire week has been hardwon--every time we've started a task a tool would break, we'd realize an essential something forgotten that required a trip in the truck, a phone call would come, family crises would arise, or we'd get in our own silly way and argue between ourselves about the placement of a tire.
Today, though, things went right. We weeded, we harvested, we tractored, we cleaned, we planned, designed and accomplished. So that tender, fragile blackberry (in that admittedly stony moment) became the metaphorical-cum-tangible fruit of our labor, and it was the tops.
However, I wasn't the hero who fought the thorns to sum up said metaphor, so perhaps we should chalk it up to just some really good fruit and stuff my analysis.
There was a delightful sense of purpose in our actions today, special berries or no.
Alex managed to stake his claim in the world of Men Who Mow Grass, an exclusive club to which he'd only ever been an honorary member thanks to our many years as renters with minimal lawn real estate. Keeping the grass low isn't a top priority at our farm, but when you expect large numbers of people to come out and tramp around as we do soon for our Open House Farm Party, we figured it wise to step up the manicuring a tad.
And from that mowing came the birds. Oh, the birds!
Alex does not share the enthusiasm for cataloging and identifying all the birds that show up across the farm everyday, but I suppose if we were both clutching field guides and pointing at branches all day we'd never get anything done, so it's for the best. Today I was finally able to get close enough to the elegant white birds I'd been spotting from afar in the cattle pastures.
Each pass Alex made with the tractor, a flock of these snowy-white birds would descend and pick through whatever critters had stirred to life. Out came the Peterson's Field Guide to Native Birds of Texas, and ta-da!
Cattle Egrets. Not the most glamorous of names, but a name nonetheless.
And the day only grew more fulfilling from there.
Hopelessly weedy marigolds and celosia were saved from drowning in growth.
We finally started our perennial herb garden, after many fits and starts. We're taking a rectangular piece of ground previously covered with black landscaping fabric and turning it into--one day--a tranquil spot near the pond suited to the butterflies and the people.
Think old tires, lots of rosemary, echinacea, lavender, dopey little outdoor sculptures and the like.
There will be a longer, more specific post to come that details the process of installing this little dandy, but as we were so pleased with ourselves to get the ball rolling (or tire, as it were), I deign to include a sneak peek here.
And so goes a day after many days that felt like a string of Nothing Accomplished...I've managed a strange compilation of ramblings and happenings from this here April 25. Feels good, though, and I don't regret the ramblings one bit.