Even with Monday off for the New Year holiday, it’s been an exhausting week. This is mainly because over the course of two days we got 15 inches/38 cm of wet, heavy snow. So much shoveling! And even when it stops snowing there is still shoveling because the street plow comes by and, ope, where’d the sidewalk go?
Yesterday I pulled snow off the chicken coop roof and dug out the trash, recycling, and organics bins. Today James and I are working on getting some of the snow off of the roof of our house. Roof rakes are a special kind of torture—heavy “blade” on the end of a really long, wobbly pole. And then when you pull all that snow off the roof there is usually more shoveling to get it off the porch, walkway, and deck. My nextdoor neighbor hardly has any snow on their roof. They did not rake it off. Near as I can figure, they must have their thermostat set to 80F or something. I can’t imagine what their heating bill must be.
I love my work colleagues so much. Many messaged me or came by the library to find out if I biked to work during the storm. They were worried! I took the bus Tuesday and Wednesday. I told them that while I frequently make questionable cycling choices, even I was smart enough to know when to take the bus!
The roads are all cleared now, and with cars parking on both sides of the street there is barely room on a two-way road for one-way traffic. It’s ridiculous. So biking right now is a special kind of fun. I am biking almost down the middle of the road in some places. I have become a mobile traffic calming device, making drivers slow down to safer speeds. Some don’t mind, others are real jerks and slam down the gas to pass as soon as they can and fishtail on the ice. Part of me prays they don’t spin into me. Part of me prays they end up stuck in a snowbank. And part of me scolds the part wishing for them to get stuck.
Don’t think the garden loses ecstasy in winter.Rumi
It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.
As I mentioned in my evolutions post last week, one thing I am focusing on this year is slowing down in all areas of my life. I had gotten myself worked up about planting trees in the garden and whether I should get a peach tree. I was doing all sorts of research. I posted to a local garden forum—will squirrels eat all my peaches? Answer: yes but if you are lucky they will leave you a couple. There were also suggestions about netting and other deterrents.
Finally, I realized I had lost all connection to my actual garden. What does the garden want? So one evening on my way out to put the chickens to bed, I stopped and stood quietly and asked, Garden, do you want a peach tree? No answer was immediately forthcoming, but I didn’t expect one. Gardens work on garden time.
Thursday night after putting the chickens to bed, Garden told me they didn’t want a peach tree because peaches are not well-suited to the garden climate. Yes, Garden was right, I wanted to force a tree into a place they didn’t belong. Thank you Garden! Garden wasn’t done though. They suggested the serviceberry in the chicken garden that is constantly fighting for space with the monster elderberry would really like to move into the main garden. That will require some careful transplanting and digging, but it is a very good idea.
I asked Garden if they wanted a cherry tree or another kind of tree. I am waiting on that answer, but I’m sensing it might be wait, not right now.
So the peach tree dilemma has concluded.
The seeds I ordered from Seed Saver’s Exchange have arrived already. I have not placed my Fedco order yet because three of the seeds I want are new and not yet available. So I wait. Can’t plant them now anyway!
Some non-gardening slow things I’ve been doing is knitting and weaving.
Knitting a mitten I started last year with some wool from a local shepherd that was also milled locally. Really enjoying the round and round of it. No picture yet, soon though.
And weaving. Over my winter holidays I made a 4×4 pin loom. I am using cotton yarn and will be making a bunch of squares to sew together into a kitchen towel. I have always had great tensioning when it comes to knitting, but weaving? As you can see, I pulled the left side way too tight. Now I’m doing it looser, so my square isn’t so very square. This kitchen towel is going to have some character, that’s for sure! The weaving is fun and meditative, I am very much enjoying it.
- Still reading The Gift by Lewis Hyde and Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. Both are marvelous. But also now reading…
- Book: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding. Kate Briggs has a novel coming out later this year called The Long Form that riffs on Tom Jones and sounds really good. So, I am preparing. I love it when books make me read other books!
- Podcast: For the Wild: Tricia Hersey on Deprogramming from Grind Culture. Want to talk about slowing down? This was absolutely wonderful. Hersey is the founder of The Nap Ministry, and has a book out called Rest is Resistance. I had no idea she had a book out, and I immediately requested it from the library.
- Podcast: Accidental Gods: Plan. Pause. Reset: Real Steps to Radical Transformation with Eva Schonveld and Justin Kenrik. There was much about slowing down in this podcast too. And Eva also talks about listening to plants.
- Movie: White Noise. I have not read Don DeLillo’s book so I don’t know how the movie compares, but both James and I really liked it. It is wonderful, satirical, absurd, and surreal. And now I want to read the book!