This little bit of strange ancient seeming wisdom feels just about right as I roll up my sleeves and begin to work around the cold earth, planning the infinite possibilities of land and seed and creation. We are the alchemists and some of us remember and others (me) are beginning to be reminded. Amen and what a way to start the week.
This and a million other awesomenesses over at Gravel & Gold.
I fell in love with this incredible Katherine Wolkoff photograph of a deer bed after seeing it in Abbey Nova’s house tour (loving, lurking), and actually went so far as to contact her gallery and inquire after prices (as they say, if you have to ask…). The whole series of photographs is stunning, but it’s the idea of the deer beds themselves that I find so compelling. To make their beds the deer press down tall grasses to create a little room, grass walls shield them from predators, grass-over-brush makes a soft place to curl up. Something from nothing, softness and sleep. Imagine my joy when on walkabout the other day in the backyard, trying to figure out where to start digging for the firepit, I noticed my very own deer bed amidst the grasses being kept long for winter, to be turned under when spring comes*, but in the meantime, satin sheets for sweet does.
*also when spring comes, and this deer bed comes with a “free continental breakfast from my tender garden shoots” I’ll probably change my tune as to how sweet these does are, but for the time being, they are welcome to lay their winter bones here.
Sweetheart got me THREE big, thick, gorgeous books on starting a vegetable garden, so the day after the Christmas snows, I went out to walk the land. I’ve been thinking about this garden for years. Thinking big. rows of fruit trees and berries and tender lettuces and cucumbers and new potatoes and strange roots. I want them. And, I’ve decided: this is where it will go. This huge swath of gently sloping earth that gets full sun all summer and has enough funny nooks and tree-lines to the sides for any guys that like shade. This knobby, untended, johnson-grassed stretch of impermeable Albemarle Clay. I’m pretty sure it’s a good plan? Hmm.
I don’t really know what I’m doing in the garden. But, it’s in my blood. My grandfather used to cultivate flowers from cuttings and would eat a warm tomato off the bush like an apple. My mother lines her beds with precious Poet’s Laurel and twisty Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick and knows about blossom end rot and how to kill slugs (answer: with beer) and a thousand other secret earthy mysteries. Me? I’ve just stuck as many plants into whatever containers I can find, cross my heart, and know I can shake my fist at Brooklyn if it fails. Not so, this year. Perhaps it’s too much. To go from herbs planted in coffee cans to almost a full acre of possibilities? Oh. Man. BUT. We are not ones to be thwarted, we will get our hands dirty, we will grow. And- the books, with their maps and charts and diagrams, are ready to be devoured and the seed catalogs arrive next week. So now, in the time honored traditions of anyone working the land, we thank our lucky stars we have the rest of the winter to get it all together.