Friday, July 29, 2011


Some people were born to be hermits, and I'm turning out to be one of them. Since I quit my day job nearly eight years ago, there are entire days--in the winter, sometimes entire weeks--when I don't leave our paltry four acres. I found last winter that I'd lost all my small talk: At parties, the only way I survived was by pretending I was interviewing someone and peppering him/her with questions.

Also, my greatest pleasure is when some great thing presents itself just outside the back door. In the winter, I'm happiest when the snow's deep enough that I can step off the porch, strap on my skis, and glide off into the woods. This time of year, I'm all aquiver about berries.

When you cut down a bunch of aging spruce trees, as we regretfully did the winter before last, raspberries are the first to take advantage of the sunny patch. After that the hardwood (deciduous) trees pop up, followed by softwoods. I adore berries, and especially the raspy ones, so earlier this summer I waded into the patch behind the dahlias and ruthlessly did away with anything that wasn't going to enliven my Cheerios.

Here's the result:

The corner of wood poking up from the bottom of the photo is the deck railing, so nirvana is roughly two dozen steps from my cereal bowl.

Tomorrow's breakfast and the day after's. The raspberries are being very clever about ripening--just enough ripe at one time to eat in one day. Thus avoiding the torture of jam-making, which I hope never to experience.
Blackberries will be coming along in a couple of weeks, although not where I'm accustomed to them. The patch down by the vegetable garden has been taken over by bittersweet and needs to be razed and started over. Meanwhile, so many poor old spruce have fallen down out front that there's a prolific new patch there. I'm watching them so hungrily, waiting for the first signs of ripening, that I know I'm going to wake up one morning and find a bear got them all.

As I gathered this morning's cereal-garnish, it occurred to me that, if I were inclined to drone on and on about Life Lessons, a raspberry patch has them all. The best ones are on the oldest and scraggliest plants. New perspectives --bending over to look at the plants upside down, or turning to wade out of the patch past plants you've already harvested--reveal a treasure-trove that was hiding before. If you get greedy and go after more than you need, you always tip over your berry basket and lose half of what you already had. (Congress, take note.)

Fortunately, I hate Life Lessons.

The Writing Report: Still in research mode. I was struggling through A Brief History of Time, but then I met an actual physicist who assured me that it is, in fact, incomprehensible. Instead I went to the library and took out Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality, which is much more fun.  I also got Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates (about the New England Puritans), which is an absolute hoot as well as being informative.

The Knitting Report: I have to find some cotton yarn for a top-down sweater, which I have to start knitting before my friend Lisa goes home to Minnesota. If I start it without her there's a chance I'll throw the whole thing into the fire.

* A play on NIMBY , which means "not in my back yard." Around here, it usually refers to someone who loves the idea of, say, wind power, as long is it's in somebody else's neighborhood. I suspect I might be one of those, actually--I love the idea, but would hate the noise. We should put them all out at sea--it's sort of noisy out there anyway, isn't it? (Oh dear oh dear -- I bet I'm being stupid.)


Ruth said...

You're not stupid, it's called off-shore wind parks. (Believe me, the word verification says I'm an exper-t)

Anonymous said...

I didn`t think they were that noisy anyways, you must have some weird wind turbines out there.


P.S. My word verification thingie is tisat, so that reminds me of a tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket, so it fits in well with your post today!