Friday, March 21, 2008
It has seemed like a rather long winter in some ways and short in others. I am happy to see things warming up here and to hear the signs of spring. A few days ago I noticed the frogs in the pond by my garden starting to call again. There are at least two different kinds, spring peepers and some other kind that I know is very small and has a very loud call.
To hear the frogs and see me on video check out the latest installment of DRTV.
I have been starting into some new projects now that the weather is warming up. I've gone out a couple times with the maple sapping crew to gather the sap buckets. If you help with the sap gathering, you get a cut of the final product. Sandhill, the nearby community, has a sugar shack where they boil down sorghum juice in the fall to make the sorghum syrup they sell around the country. In spring it doubles as a maple syrup shack. We don't have sugar maples around here, only silver maples, and although the sap requires more boiling, the product is just as tasty.
A number of us have been pruning the fruit trees around the land and hoping we don't get hit with another late frost this season. Last year it meant no fruit for us here, and no fruit for those in most of the southern half of the country. There are peaches, pears, apples, sour cherries, and an apricot or two. I'm looking for a place now to plant my own fruit trees. I brought apples and pears with me, and just ordered more apples, pears, and cherries from a nursery. I will probably plant them around my houses, and as well make an orchard wherever I end up planting a vineyard.
In the last few weeks I've been gathering wood for various building projects. I got some wood by taking down sheds at the Dog and Gun flea market that takes place a few miles from here. Yesterday from this wood I built a wood shed for storing firewood at the cabin I'm living in right now--the one I had moved here. Last week I was taking wood out of a few houses in nearby Rutledge. I got some nice tongue-in-groove hickory flooring for the cabin and some good 2x6s for the new house I'm going to be working on this summer. I've been planing the floor boards and installing them as beautiful new floor in the cabin. As soon as I get it all in, I will protect it with a coating of linseed oil.
I have already gotten all my seed orders in and have begun starting some of the longer season veggies, flowers and herbs. I've never had to start plants without the use of florescent lights and a reliably warm place to germinate them. I do have the use of a greenhouse now, but unless it's a sunny day, it doesn't get very warm in there. I also built a cold frame for getting some lettuce and spinach going early out in the garden. I'm determined to start eating fresh garden veggies as soon as possible.
We had a little peace rally in nearby Memphis, MO, the county seat, to mark the fifth year of the US invasion of Iraq. It was definitely different from anything like it I've ever been to. I've been attending peace rallies and vigils in Madison, WI for many years. In Madison, most of the people were against the war already, but were not moved to get in the streets to show their opposition. True, many more people attended the peace rallies, but it was definitely friendly territory. When we stood quietly on the lawn of the courthouse on the square in Memphis, I felt like we were part of a spectacle never before experienced by the other locals. In some ways, I wondered if it was worthwhile because I thought people that didn't agree with us would not ever understand where we were coming from--that they would just see us as unpatriotic terrorist lovers. I think everyone in town must have made a point of driving by right in front of us just to read our signs and see what it was all about. Two older men who claimed to be veterans stopped to tell us we should be ashamed of ourselves. One said he'd been in WWII and that we should always support our troops because they'd protected the freedoms that allowed us to stand here opposing the war. I never understand this argument because if they'd protected our rights, why are we supposed to avoid exercising them? I would say that it's likely he did help preserve our freedoms by fighting in WWII, but every war since then has done nothing to protect our freedoms. Threats to our freedoms since then have come purely from within--McCarthyism, denial of civil rights to people of color, and the Patriot Act. Activists have fought to preserve rights that people within the US want to strip from us, and still we find our civil liberties being eroded. The other guy claimed to have fought in Vietnam, and aside from calling us cowards for wanting to withdraw from Iraq he told us the only way to win the war in Iraq was to stay in it until we've killed every last Iraqi.
Then there were two people who came by to tell us that they supported what we were doing and others who gave us supportive hand gestures like the peace sign. Overall, I think the result was positive, though maybe different than it would have been just after Bush declared "mission accomplished" when things in Iraq didn't look so grim. Maybe it made people in the area realize that others feel the same way they do and are not afraid to express it.