Saturday, March 20, 2010


On this first weekend in spring, I put on work gloves and set out to organize the some of winter's mess in front yard of Slate Hill House. The weather was fair, with large clouds and the sun warm on my skin. Nina sat at a distance as I first gathered the 12 and 15-foot branch falls from the giant pines that defined the triangle of Pan's small grove in the front. , I moved those large branches in the grove closer to the house beside the trails leading to the back yard. I left two larger branches on the grass to be cut up some time later. Inside Pan's Grove, small branches gave a spotty pine rug under foot. I let those lie, thinking that kind of cover might be expanded with trimmings later. Then I rummaged up a branch trimmer and cut the straight growths arising from the base plants onto which the Devil's Walking Stick plants were grafted in order to tidy up their appearance. I left those freed pole where they stood for Nancy to gather when she returns to use in one of her constructions. Then I swept the porch around the small metal fire stove, so the dried leaves wouldn't catch when it was lit. I threw a tennis ball a bit for Nina so she'd get some exercise. Finally I gathered the hammock up from the porch where it had spent the winter and fastened the chains to the metal frame. It had been sticking out from under the snow only three weeks ago. At last I tested the taunt hammock with a comfortable sprawl as black Nina and the coon cat Fox sat guard near me just as they always had before the winter made us stay confined in the house for months. When morning ended, it was time for getting things together for a trip to the store for the week's shopping on a really fine day.

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