It was a warm and sunny Sunday, and though it's not officially spring yet, in one of my cold frames I planted seeds -- spinach, mustard and greens. It's foolishly optimistic, but there's no gardening without optimism. Mostly it was a day for puttering around the property preparing for when spring really does arrive. Gathering up the winter's deadfall and piling it up for my future hugelkultur; rooting the invasives out of the raspberry patch before it becomes impenetrable; cutting down sassafras and lilac to make room for a little orchard of plums; pulling out the endless supplies of burning bush shoots; digging out some mossy rocks for Monica's shade garden.
Inspired by this post on the blog, Of The Hands, (which I just came across) I walked back into the woods with Nico. The last eighteen months, from Hurricane Irene through last week's nor-easter have torn at these woods. Dozens of ninety-year old oaks have come down, either snapped off at the trunk or toppled over -- roots and all. I wanted to pay a visit the old white pine three walls back to see how she'd fared. Judging by the age of the oaks, these pastures were abandoned to the forest some time after World War One, but I think the white pine stood when sheep still grazed these fields. Today there was a great wreath of limbs surrounding her, torn off and thrown down in the storms. But she towers there still -- in a wood green with her smaller descendants. Standing on opposite sides, Nico and I reached around the trunk, and by pressing our bodies into the bark we could just touch each other's fingertips.