Monday, April 11, 2011

Before and After

I'm going to have to organize a before and after slideshow one of these days. It's hard to look out the window and remember anything other than what I see today—a tidy fence, an evergreen lawn, young fruit and nut trees, the cool, rich earth of the early garden. Beyond, a shingled greenhouse and a well-grazed pasture, compost bins in various stages of decay, and strawberry beds awakening to spring.

Our property is shaped a little bit like this, but plumper: ˩.  The bottom part of the backwards L houses the house, the yard, and our youngest fruit trees. The "hinge," if you will, contains gardens, sheds, the woodshop, and livestock paddocks. It runs along Meredith Lane and ends at the goat paddock.

The long part of the L is all pasture—about an acre of it. We think we might turn some of that over to oat hay.

To put our progress in perspective, we made an offer on this place when the long part of the L was so overfilled with dead plum trees, crawling blackberries, tangled barbed wire, and assorted bramble bushes that we didn't even recognize it as part of the marketed property. We thought we were putting our money down on a rectangle. The bottom of the L. ("That's an awfully small acre and a quarter," I thought at the time, "but I'd better not jinx it by complaining.") We thought our claim stretched as far as the greenhouse in one corner and the demolished boat in the other (that's another story for another day) and that fitting a horse paddock on this property was going to be like a game of Tetris.

A week before closing, we met the owner for a walk-through and a boundary discussion. Pointing over the head-high brush, he pinpointed a tangled birch tree in the distance. "That's the corner," I believe he said, though I confess his statement was drowned out by the voices of the heavenly choir. Where he saw an impenetrable thicket, I saw pasture.

 (to be continued)

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