Thursday, March 04, 2021

The Jumblies

The wind is pushing us through March's runcible early days, thrashing our hair, frisking the chimes, knocking the branches from dead trees. It is waking us up out of a long winter sluggery.

Helen and I spent a jovial afternoon pushing a wheelbarrow full of moldy, decaying fruit through the snow to the Rot Spot, an area of ground we are filling in and enriching with compost. In the fall I chucked pumpkins there, our neighbors dumped their chicken coop compost into it, we buried a dead and quite frozen feral cat nearby a couple months ago, the giant sunflowers we harvested in the fall were piled on, and ecetera. It's an area of ground making swift work of what is shared there. The earth is quiet and efficient.

We had to share pushing the wheelbarrow, each of us taking one handle and forging ahead, avoiding (not quite) frozen footprints from previous walks. There were many near misses of toppling over, sending our icky fruit basket rolling onto the snow. We made it, laughing the whole way.

While out there, in the lower fields, we tackled the mess of dried out cosmos, and plants yielded easily from the soft ground. It was good timing. I was hot in my three sweaters, and robot gloves. Hints of summer, memories of flop sweat while weeding, played through my mind.

Our neighbors toy goat was on the outside of her fence. I told Dan to text her. Their goats are the tiny, demure version of our big, meaty dunderheads. They sound like dog toys, and are about half the size of Boer goats. Pygmys, I think? The sweet escapee was happy to just be on the other side of the fence, and didn't wander at all. 

After several trips to the Rot Spot with the cosmos plants, we pushed the wheelbarrow back up the hill together, and went inside for tea and seaweed.

Then it was time to move the goats from the barn to the outside paddock, which required a good hour or more with rearranging the fence while being whipped in the face with thorny underbrush. We made the mistake of leaving the stanchion inside the paddock, so while the fence was charged and all was well, they figured out they could leap from the stanchion over the fence, clearing it without shock. 

When I went outside to put the ducks in for the night, the goats were at the duck run, and then they followed me to the kitchen porch where I called for Dan's help.

Later, I read a poem by Edward Lear aloud to Helen, who was working on memorizing Latin plant names. I'd never read this poem before, and I really love the playfulness, the nonsense words that make some sense, and the rhyme and meter. The title. "The Jumblies," made me think of the day we'd had, and how many of my days now seem like I'm riding a sieve out to sea.

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