The First Week In May

For the most part, I accomplished what I set out to accomplish this weekend.  The berry bushes have their cables now, upon which I can train them and the garden has is wire mesh fence. We’re getting closer to being able to start our veggie garden, just in time for any threat of frost to be but a memory. All week has been beautiful and this weekend was no exception. In fact we could use some rain.  We went from monsoon to drought in the course of just a few weeks. The next chance of rain isn’t until Friday so we’ve started to hydrate some of the new plants with water from the rain barrel.

Both projects, the cable and the wire fence were fairly easy and straightforward. Review the photos to see how they turned out. For the cables, I drilled 3/8″ diameter holes in my four-foot tall 4×4 posts at about 18″ and 36″ off the ground. My book says 5′ posts with three cables is the way to go but I didn’t want super tall posts in the garden, so two cables is what I landed on. I then passed an eye bolt through each of the holes and secured it with a nut and washer. From there I took my aircraft cable and looped it through the eyelet at one end and back upon itself, securing it with a locking band (essentially a u-bolt assembly with two nuts to tighten the cable against itself forming a loop). At the other end I loosened the tensioning hardware and hooked one end onto the eye bolt in the corresponding post. And repeated the cable loop attachment process, with another locking band, on the remaining loop of the tensioning hardware.  Finally I turned the tensioning hardware by hand and eventually a wrench until the cables were taught.

That was Saturday. Today we installed the wire mesh around the garden to keep rabbits and deer out of a little 20×40 foot plot of land. With the help of the wife I rolled out the 2×4 inch opening wire mesh and cut it to length with wire snips. We loosely stapled one end to the outside of one of the 4′ tall 4×4 posts. Pulling tightly we secured the other end of the fence to another corner post, using 1/2″ stables. Then if need be, to straighten things out, I pulled the first end free, then pulled it tight while the wife stapled it in place. Finally I trimmed any excess fencing and repeated the process around the garden. This week or next weekend I’ll fashion gates for the two garden openings.

The property is in full bloom and looks extraordinary. I say it peaked yesterday because the wind blew all the service berry flowers off by today. The blueberry bushes are just getting their bell-shaped flowers. Around the meadows and woods we can see dozens of wild flowering trees, many of whom may have started life as seeds in someone’s suburban yard.  All the dogwoods are in full bloom as are what we’re calling crab apple trees for lack of a better term.  I even see that one of our does is pregnant, I’ll presume with twins given her girth as she ate clover this Sunday morning in the south meadow. Everything looks great, especially since I finally cut the grass this weekend too. It’s looking a lot better than last year, and will look even better once I can plant more seed and we get some sorely needed rain. Early May is a remarkable time of year to be here. It is so beautiful.

Saturday night, after the wife and kids retired indoors, I snuck a half hour to myself. I walked the freshly mowed lawn, and driveway. As the sun set, coloring the sky in shades of pink and blue I observed how the colors interacted with my newly greening world around me. The wind rustled soft silk-like flowers. Dogwood flowers floated as if they were applied by splattering a brush against a green canvas. I would literally take five steps and stop for a few minutes observing the world around me. Each respite taken to observe the scene before me; connecting visual line, pattern, color and texture…attempting to make sense of it and appreciate it.

It’s an extraordinary beauty that was lost during construction that has awakened this Spring. Different but no less spectacular than before. Photos do it no justice. My words never could, even if I had energy to conjure them. Only a walk in the yard at dusk, during the first week in May will suffice. Walking through an ethereal landscape where the light changes a thousand times in twenty minutes…you can actually see it change. I swear living in a bowl (i.e. valley or hollow) has much to do with it. As does the architecture (natural and man-made). And the foliage.  Even the symphony of birds, insects and other animals.

I  could even be brought to believe every blade of grass plays a role in how the painting is perceived. Its color, shape, disposition and mood brought to bear on the subconscious.

Many people live in many beautiful places. But for me, I live in the most beautiful of all. And it is something that comes to appreciation only by virtue of familiarity and study…and reflection. How else could one say everything changes in just five short steps or by going from standing to squatting (which I do as well in my dusk walk, to differentiate the perspective of a seemingly unchanging world around me). Given the time I’d try to walk it every evening if I could. It’s an ever-changing beauty that is only amplified by its being hidden in plain sight. It makes me feel like I’ve gotten one over on everyone else; with a slight ping of guilt I suppose for keeping it all to myself. But like I alluded to, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For alas, home always looks most beautiful to those who call it such.

But on the off-chance you want to take a walk, might I recommend the first week in May.



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