Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter at last.

Captain Jack left us 9 days ago. He continued on with his life of traveling buck service. Sha'om and his daughter Lena drove up in their small white truck. I walked Jack to the gate which Lena opened. The chickens tailed us making a parade escort for the Captain. He hopped into the truck with a little urging. We tied him in and off they went to a new herd of does three miles away. Life is quiet once again. Silent gestation. The mystery of where conception occurred will be revealed a few months from now. My daughter called asking me if Mocha and Flora are pregnant. I hate to admit to her that all of the does might be. Ever resourceful she tells me of a new web site she has found on making scandinavian fermented milks. Good to know. And of a friend who is interested in having a milking doe. Also good to know. I may be overrun with goats a few short months from now.

An unusually long dry spell has been broken by five days of constant precipitation. We woke to snow yesterday. There are six inches all over. My response is to get out in it.  The sun is just about to break through and then the sugar frosting will melt off. The gorgeous beauty of the forest can be hazardous. As we walk through open spaces we can hear the splinter of limbs laden with snow fall. We see and hear a small tree go over in the willow thicket with a crack and thrashing of branches. Safest to admire this beauty from an open space.

Now we can settle into winter. I begin to prune the old apple tree. This golden delicious has been growing here for 80 years. Its giant branches are the ladder I prune from. Every year it puts out so many new shoots. I admit that this work tests my patience. Clip, clip clip. I can not make it go any faster. The first year I pruned this tree I learned about going slowly. I went at the limbs with a fierce pace and found myself pulling the shears along with the small limb I wished to sever right into my front teeth. Cracked one in half and gave myself a black eye. Now that the rain has stopped I will return to this work once again. I start with the most difficult one to prune. Some years I prune all the smaller trees and save the big queen for last. It will take me at least a week of constant attention to make my way around her branches. Alex will come to help me. He works here once a week and assists me in whatever tasks I am up to. His favorite activity is to organize the workshop. But he is quite wonderful because whatever we are doing is his favorite thing to do. He has abundant positive feelings about work. He will pick up the trimmings as I make my way around the tree. I wonder if the fog will lift?

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