Wednesday, March 14, 2018

November Hill farm journal, 47, flow

Daughter and I returned from California last Wednesday and on Thursday morning my husband and I met with the Duke Energy Progress folks about the trees. We learned a few things we hadn’t known: most of the trees they want to cut were cut before, around 20 years ago, and several of the tallest ones grew back from those cuttings, leaving visible weaknesses in their trunks which may make them more likely to fall. We also learned a lot more about the transmission lines.

I had what I think is a brilliant (ha!) idea that would allow the trees to stay and the lines to remain safe, but it will take time to find someone to develop it and I’m not sure the idea on its own is enough to back off Duke Energy, so we have made the difficult decision to move forward with cutting.

The good news is that they selected 11 trees to cut, not the entire swath as we had feared, and will have a tree man do it by hand. We have located a local man who has a portable sawmill and who will process and use the wood from these trees to finish off our feed/tack room once the wood has dried, and Duke agreed to have the tree guy cut the timbers in lengths we can use.

Both before and after the trip to California I’ve been feeling like a gear hopelessly grinding away at something relentless, to the point of being stuck. Too many unfinished projects, no sense of progress happening, winter (we had snow on Monday!), and the thought of losing trees have all weighed me down. Then my writing retreat scheduled since last July for next week at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico was canceled. I tried for several days to work it out so I could go on my own, but kept hitting obstacles.

Yesterday two things got finished, thanks to my farm helper and his assistant. The sun came back and the bit of snow melted. I walked from the front gate to the back, thinking that I was going to have to let the trees go, and I was also going to have to let Ghost Ranch go. And at that moment I spotted a stream of water flowing down our driveway. I thought at first it was the snow melt but it is a little spring that has popped up. Water flowing. Flow.

I feel connected, as I’ve written before, with November Hill. That’s a large part of why having the trees cut has been so difficult. But knowing one man will do it, with respect, makes it a little easier, and knowing we will use the wood for something lasting makes it a lot easier. When I let the battles in my head go, I felt the gears turning again. And the flow of a little spring appeared, making the perfect metaphor.

The redbuds are blooming now, and I have a plan (and an order forming) for planting trees in the back that won’t ever need to be cut. Redbuds and hollies, some shrubs, all native pollinators, and then some tulip poplars in the middle of the farm where they can grow to the sky without worry.

We managed to get the front field limed before the rain and snow rolled in on Sunday, so the horses are in the back pasture. We’ll move them and lime the back when the cutting is done. Yesterday afternoon I was able to take Bear Corgi to the back, which is finally secure for dogs, and let him have his first romp off leash back there. He loved it, and the pony and donkeys came to the shared fence line and trotted up and down, laying down the Equine Law. Bear was on his own mission and they weren’t part of it, so peace prevailed. Baloo Corgi is having an issue with allowing his collar and harness to be put on, so he wasn’t with us. We’re working on it daily and I hope very soon he’ll be romping back there too! This is stage one of getting the Corgis acclimated to being free on the farm. Things are moving along.

Meanwhile, the pony made it clear what the boundaries are.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I have a problem letting trees go too. I know it’s silly but I get attached to them. I think you made a good compromise with the energy company that will work for both of you. And in a way you’ll still be able to keep the trees because of the construction you’ll be able to do with the wood.

Glad to hear you’ll be warming up soon and things are budding already. Yesterday we experienced our third Nor’easter in 10 days. Wind and snow again. This is getting ridiculous,I’m not living in Alaska! It boggles my mind that there are still so many people who don’t believe in climate change, when all the facts are in. Fake News...I think not. Sorry just went off on a rant.

billie said...

A, I’ve been thinking of you with all the storms rolling through up there. I was hoping to get up your way the end of March but I may need to push that back some!

My thoughts on climate change: the earth changes, the climate changes. It’s been going on for millions of years. Now if we’re smart (probably not nearly as much as we humans like to think) we have to look at what we are doing to negatively impact climate as well as the environment and start making changes. Ignorance is bliss but at some point it becomes dangerous. Ranting right along with you!