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As MKL and I contemplate what to do with my bungalow’s easement (otherwise known as an uneasement, since it has made my life uncomfortable for four years), we are considering many options, all of which will keep me out of jail, which they’ll put me in if I let my easement get out of control. I have spent hours in time and muscle, weeding, digging, pick axing, and trimming, but all the weeds (and why must they be considered weeds? who made that decision? that they can’t just be plants?) quickly return, because I haven’t tried replacing them with anything. We tried black fabric to keep the weeds down, but they just grew through it, and then the black fabric disintegrated in the winter, blowing around like a wayward witch in the spring. Now, things are about to get real. I’m prepared to pick axe (again). I have ten bags of manure (you’re welcome, neighbors). I will have wildflower seeds. I already have two volunteer sunflowers and some pretty purple perennials that I can’t identify. And today at breakfast, we discussed planting aspens. Aspens are beautiful. They thrive here, and the sound of their leaves in the wind is magical. But they do spread like weeds (no pun intended). They put out feeder roots and make lots of little aspens – they may even create their own grove on the easement. Best of all, they have eyes. Beautiful, all-seeing eyes.

Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Willows whiten, aspens quiver, little breezes dusk and shiver, thro’ the wave that runs forever by the island in the river, flowing down to Camelot.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson

Daily gratitudes:
A good team
The scythe
That Mr. Man likes to sit at the edge of my aura
Family, both old and new
Ring-necked doves

I learned more about hay today than I ever thought I would.  It was not an unwelcome lesson.  I can now say I’ve had my hayday – oh, wait, that’s heyday.  Whatever.

My landlord found hay for cheap (I personally thought hay was always cheap) on Craigslist, so we took my truck to pick it up today.  I learned that my landlord, who has lived here for 25 years, is seriously directionally impaired.  We finally found the farm at which the hay was located, and started sorting through the huge stack looking for bales that were relatively intact.  Not as easy as it sounds.

Here’s what I learned about hay today:

I now know what baling means when it comes to hay.  It means tying bunches of hay up into like-sized rectangles.  Perhaps that was obvious to most of you, but news to me.

Despite what I am sure is diligent baling by farmers or whatever haymaking equipment they use, hay bales can and do fall apart.

When hay is stacked, even in baled form, you can still sink in it up to the tops of your thighs.

Hay is not easy to pull your legs out of without assistance when you’re in thigh-deep.

Stacked hay has many things in it besides hay.  Like overly friendly bugs.  And spines of dead things with tails still attached.  And probably the thing that ate the dead thing.  But fortunately, we didn’t see that thing.

Hay is HEAVY.  Seriously!  I see why all those farm boys were so strong – if you’re hefting hay all day long, you WILL get a strong back, and strong arms, and strong legs.

Hay is fun to stack in the back of a truck.  It’s like fitting a puzzle together.  And the back of my truck holds 12 bales of hay.  It is, however, challenging to heft it up into the back of the truck – see the above point about having strong legs and a strong back.

Hay infiltrates almost every part of your body, including your socks and your teeth.  (Wait, are socks a body part?)  I was still picking hay out of my teeth an hour after I left.

Hay is itchy.  Really itchy.  So incredibly itchy that you want desperately to take a shower sooner than immediately.  I cannot possibly imagine anyone wanting to take the phrase “a roll in the hay” literally.

Doing anything hay-related on an incredibly windy day makes whatever you’re doing with hay twice as hard as it would be on a non-windy day.

A pug feels like the king of the world when standing on top of a truck loaded with hay bales.

Well, there’s your primer on hay for today.  I feel like I can cross something off my life list now.  And I am ignoring the fact that my landlord says it was straw, not hay.  In my heart, it was hay.

My landlady and I started planting the garden yesterday.  I didn’t have a garden last year at all.  Only a cactus plant, an immortal poinsettia, and a miniature potted rose that greens but no longer blooms.

The garden at Pat’s house had been active for years.  Some years, it was amazing – a riot of color and an abundance of produce.  Other years it was frustrating – bugs and dogs and weather combined forces to destroy almost anything I touched.  But as our marriage failed, the garden failed as well.  It hurts me deeply to think of it, to think of dreams now lost – the garden was a metaphor for my marriage.  Pat’s hurt has been reflected in his neglect of the garden, and the property in general.

He has decided to make the side yard very nice this year, and I take that as a hopeful sign that he will be okay.

My LL and I were in the massive big-box hardware store, looking for seeds and manure, and we discussed hammocks.  I want to take my hammock from Pat’s house, but it hurts me to do so.  He built the garden arbor to house the hammock.  It was the last thing he built for me.  On the other hand, it’s mine – a gift from my family – so I should have it if I want it.  He doesn’t care about it.  He almost never uses it.  It’s time for a fresh start for me, for Pat and for the hammock.

It was hard work preparing the garden, but it was satisfying.  I like sitting in the dirt, letting it run through my fingers.  I never cease to be amazed by seeds – these miniscule black dots that look more like fleas than anything else, and yet that will become a head of lettuce, a huge hollyhock, or a field of orange poppies.  How do they do it?  How is all that knowledge and life stored in this tiny little package?  It makes me more wonderous of how the universe works to create things than contemplating how humans evolved.  Did seeds evolve?  Or have they just always BEEN? 

In the past, gardening was a healing activity.  Peaceful.  Something that put me in touch with my roots, my ancestors, the earth, the basics of nature.  Once it got to be a chore, and Pat groused at me about not keeping up with weeding and watering, and yet kept making more and more planting spaces that he expected me to fill and maintain to his satisfaction (which I never could), I lost my zest for it.  I fell out of love with it. 

I’d like to fall back in love.  I’m looking forward to watching beans push up through the soil.  To the amazing spread of pumpkin vines.  To pulling spicy radishes, and making a meal of them with an ice-cold beer.  To tending window boxes of geraniums that coordinate with my colorful cottage.

Yes, it’s nice to fall in love again.

February 2020
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