Willow Planting

Without photos this is rather dull. Apologies as well as accolades to those who read on. Today we planted the willows.; 56 of them. These are dual purpose; for cropping and summer privacy, not aesthetics.  As crops we hope to cultivate a sufficient quantity of, what are referred to as ‘ rods’,  to build some living fences or experimental structures to create garden architecture and then,  some willow border edging to deter our feathered charges from invading our gardens. As privacy, we hope that the willows’  rapid spring and summer growth will provide an adequate, albeit light and seasonal,  screen from the heavy traffic to and from our neighbors places’ to provide some relief from our ( I mean ‘MY’) sense of exposure.

No offense. I’m very fond of our neighbors and their lodgers and employees and subcontractors, but when I moved here from NYC , and gave up the stimulation that ‘the city-that-never-sleeps’ provides, I’d expected that, at least,  I’d be able to sit outside at 7:00 am with a cup of tea, (and, yes, a cigarette) in my pajamas, and write my To-Do list without having to wave friendly acknowledgement and greeting to every passing vehicle. Not so. I feel obligated to disrupt my focus and wave and smile; and so may they! They may very well be thinking ” Oh, god, her again….jeez, what a pain in the ….oh, wave, wave, Hi, How-ya-doin?”

Yes. Let’s have a screen, shall we.

The willow planting will not make a beautiful hedge or a year-round screen and we know that. They’re deciduous, for one thing. They won’t flower, in the ‘specimen’ sense (maybe a few catkins in Spring). They won’t present beautiful, shapely forms or even interesting hues and shades and foliage.  We’re trialing these plants for the USDA. We are looking at soil erosion issues as well as their ability to ‘break-up’ compacted and hard pan soil.

We have planted them in a row that borders the driveway. They have been mulched, for weed control,  and the mulch has been covered with black, plastic netting , secured and anchored with wire ‘staples’, to deter the chickens, ducks and turkeys from scratching in the mulch. (This was even happening while we were installing the netting, of course with the cutest, most innocent and most grateful looking faces imaginable, peering up at us with expectant hope, as if to ask “When are you going to get rid of this impenetrable webbed stuff?” ! The feathered ones believe that any earth disturbance around the place is done for the express purpose of making their lives more pleasurable.)! Think again, o feathered ones.

The trial is on. I’ll report back in the Spring/Summer of 2012 to see what happens.

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The Glass: Half Empty or Half Full?

After all of these years, doesn’t Dickens still speak to us with candid authority? It all depends upon which side of the fence one finds oneself on, doesn’t it?
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
—The opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities