The big locust is now firewood. It was a casualty of the long, cold, dangerous winter that is finally fading into memory. I spent a sleepless night during an ice storm, listening to branches breaking and crashing everywhere, and in the morning it was revealed that a main limb had split off from the locust, thankfully away from the house. But I could no longer trust its integrity, and this spring it had to go.
Not only had it shaded us for many al fresco dinners on the deck, it was fodder for several art works. The squirrels used it as a highway to access the birdfeeder, so I used its leaves for monoprints in Squirrel and Locust.
It was also the vantage point and temporary safe harbor for fledgling robins on the way into the big world from their nest in the deck supports. The Fledgling, from 2005, documents such an event; I just watched a replay, sans the tree, this morning.
The safest and best direction for the tree guys to fell it was onto the part of the yard occupied by the vegetable garden. I had to take up all my fencing, posts, and edging boards in preparation. I use a permanent mulch system, but after all the disruption decided to have the plot rototilled and start fresh. I spent a lot of time pulling out chunks of tree roots and raking the ground smooth, then re-edged it and started driving new stakes for the fencing. Above you can see where I am planting canna rhizomes I stored over the winter. The area in the upper right of the picture is the asparagus plot.
Every big change in the garden is also an opportunity. I will be grateful for the increased sunlight on my plants. Above you can see the chicken wire fencing going in. Its necessary to keep out the rabbits and groundhogs.
Above I’ve finished the fencing and have spread the straw I use as mulch.
Here’s a picture I took this morning. The garden is mostly planted, and all of those green daubs will be exploding into growth soon. I will mulch the asparagus plot once I am done harvesting it for the year, in a few weeks.
All of this was a great deal of unexpected, time consuming heavy labor. I’m not exactly complaining. I enjoy heavy labor and digging holes and such. I come from peasant stock and find grubbing about deeply satisfying. But combined with the normal spring chores and maintenance on the perennial beds, and the rest of life’s demands, I have had scant time in the studio and am starting to miss my immersion in art. Things were a bit of a jumble after my big adventure filming for Quilting Arts, and it took a while to get everything sorted and put away again. I like a tidy studio. One thing led to another with that project as well, and I did some heavy sorting and reorganizing. One happy find was some half forgotten prints I made from silver maple leaves. I’ve readied them as a hand embroidery project.
I’m also doing some needle felting for some larger works. I’m still working through some design issues with this one, but I’m willing to share the back of it at this point as it’s looking pretty cool.
So, in summary—onward and upward! Thanks for reading and commenting.