whistlestop caboose

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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

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Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Monday, November 13, 2006

The cows and the raspberries

I can barely sit in front of the computer today, thanks to forking back aches. Translation: I used a pitchfork for too long yesterday to put some order into the summer party gone on too long that is our raspberry patch. In the spring the patch looked like it was enjoying itself and we fretted slightly, but like most parents felt it reflected badly on us to complain. The berries were rich and red and made great jam. We attempted to keep the weeds under control, but most days it was an either/or: pick the berries or pull the weeds.

Guess which one we did and how we are now paying the price. The weeds are well entrenched, the raspberry babies shooting up on the slope below the patch are out of control, and there are just too many stalks. The garden books show lovely images of the old stalks, which you cut, versus the new, which you leave for next year's berries. In my garden they are hrd to distinguish and anyway I'm sure we have 3 or 4 generations a year, not just 2.

So I took the pitchfork to the patch and it looks tidier. The raspberries are laughing at me now, though.

I nearly forgot the cows! All of a sudden two days ago our place stank of cow poo. Odd because it normally doesn't even though we're next to a barn. But for three days last week the cows did a terrific job of chomping down the grass in the fields around us, which they do just once a year. And then, November cold hits and the cows go into the barn for the winter. And their poo flows out. For two days we have a potent combination of fresh grass + cow pies not left in fields but gathered indoors and shunted to the poo pile. Pong! After that, they eat hay and the smell and the cows settle down to a long, cold but cozy winter in the barn.

Meanwhile, I have to admire the neatly chomped-down field next door. And while I fight raspberry roots the cows, just a few metres away in their barn, low gently as the afternoon turns into evening. It is a contented sound.

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