Saturday was a gorgeous day here in Northeast Ohio. We took advantage of pristine skies and reasonable warm temperatures and spent most of the day outdoors. We spread 8 yards of playground mulch throughout the property. It was rewarding a job as I’ve done in a long time.
I started the day by running up to Lowes to get about $25 in supplies, namely some 12″ square cement pavers and bags of river rocks. My first chore was to establish our apiary. I fired up the gas trimmer, which was reluctant to awake from its winter slumber, and cleared about a 14′ x 10′ area of the north meadow. It was soggy but I managed to rough up the ground a little and flatten two areas, about 4′ x 4′ each. I then laid down a couple of pieces of tar paper, cut from rolls leftover after construction of the house. The paper will hopefully cut down on plant growth under the hives. I knifed some holes in the paper though, just to keep water from pooling on top of the paper. Upon the pieces of tar paper I laid four of the cement pavers, as level as I could see. I test fit the hive stands that I had made a couple of weeks ago, to see if they fit nicely and didn’t rock or roll. Around the pavers I deposited two bags each of river rock, if for no other reason than to cover the tar paper and look nice.
Once all of the above was done I started spreading playground mulch all over the place. I started with the apiary, covering the rectangle of real estate I had cleared previously with the trimmer. Next I laid down mulch, 2″-3″ thick, on all the pathways. Pathways we had laid out with orange spray paint nights before, adhering to our landscape plan. Towards the end of my afternoon I had a some mulch left over so I even started a mulch path from the vegetable garden to the apiary as well, cutting through a couple wet areas.
My wife, who apparently can be a professional mulch spreader, then lovingly raked out all the piles up mulch into pristine new walkways. We are tickled at how great our new pathways look, and the fact that we no longer have to tread through mud to get from point A to point B in the backyard. Long term the mulch will weather and turn grey, which should look good with the grey house, but for now the paths are a welcoming warm brown color and spongy underfoot. And now with the playground mulch gone, I have room for our top soil delivery on Monday. Some times things don’t hang around for very long around our micro farm after all.
I feel the land’s magnetic attraction almost instantly; being holed up inside all winter has something to do with it too. I could barely tear myself away from a water break on the porch as I listed to woodpeckers and other birds in the yard. Looking across the driveway I could see my deer crossing lackadaisically in the distant, mid afternoon. I am amazed by the subtle contours of the property. They were all but hidden when we bought the land, and didn’t look like much during construction, but now as we add definition to the yard, and looking at the drive one can’t help but stare at the order that permeates from presumed chaos.
This Easter afternoon we walked the land with the boys and just love that they have a place to run around with out worry, assuming we can keep one or two of them in sight for longer than a minute. And while the sky attempted to drizzle and little boys need naps, we shunned reality for an hour and kept on walking, discussing, planning and exploring….I think we made a monumental decision on where the apple trees will go, if and when they show up. We admired our paths and the new home for our bees, who will be here before we know it. We also checked on many of the baby trees I planted last year. Many if not most didn’t make it but we found plenty that are looking forward to Spring as much as we are. Two of the four hazelnut trees have buds on them, as well as the red maple by the veggie garden. We even found several pine trees still around, though they are but sprouts.
I will leave you with my Easter thoughts and wish you all a happy holiday.
As I sat and listened to the gospel today (I forget by whose account it was), to the obligatory story of the disciples discovering Jesus was no longer hanging out in his tomb I got to thinking. John’s account goes like this:
So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first.
So I mused silently, quite amusingly to myself at least, man Peter must be in heaven going “What the? Again? Every Easter they have to bring that up…. ‘But the other disciple ran faster than Peter’. What the hell. Had I known it was a foot race and every year for two thousand years we’d remind everyone that I came in second I would’ve tried a little harder. It was Sunday morning for Pete’s sake. Who in the heck gets up and runs first thing Sunday morning. And don’t even get me started on the whole ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’ bit. Yeah I get it, I wasn’t the favorite AND I’m slow.”
Reflecting back on the actual events twenty plus centuries ago I have visions of a slightly overweight man in robes, hands on knees, having just run down a dusty path trying to keep up with his compadre. The other guy eagerly awaits, asking if they can go into the tomb, darting to and fro. “Hold on.” Peter says in between gasps. “Hold on….my calf muscle seized up on me….and I might puke a little bit.”
Happy Easter everyone!