On monday, there was snow and ice. It fell quietly and melted immediately. This time, V left the pup with me and took Trout back to ATL with him. The dogs had a fight over a pig ear, and Koby ended up with two puncture wounds on her face. I was severe with Trout and hurt her already fragile feelings. I think she realizes now that this pup is a part of our family, not a visitor, and she is alternately thrilled to have a playmate and blue and withdrawn. The pup must be managed constantly, there is no fencing here and miles and miles of wilderness around us for her to get lost. She hears the call of the wild now and then and puts her hound nose to the ground to follow a trail to adventure. She is excellent in responding to "come". I smell of liver as i have treats at all times ready to reward. V deserves much praise for the good training he has done with this pup; now i am just reinforcing what he has taught her.
The day moon floated in the rare blue. Its been a rainy winter and its been hard on me. The mountains are, in many ways, a lonely place. Light and radio waves are blocked and there is a sense of isolation. I drove to Lake Rabun last week and felt the shroud of anxiety lift as i entered a bright valley along the way. I see the recession in rural towns in a way i never do in the city. There isnt any work and store fronts that once offered the little extras in life are empty now. I read in the paper that the park service had relaxed the maximum time a campsite could be occupied. There are families that have been living on the lake now for months.
I worked on my raised beds yesterday. I have three, with a system of PVC hoops and plastic to make a quick greenhouse when the weather turns. The mountains have their own microclimate; sometimes the only place on the georgia map with snow will be my western corner of the county. The cohuttas are snow capped even today, but that may change as we are scheduled to hit the upper 60's. My beds are a mixture of compost ive been cooking a year now, fortified with hen manure and the loamy earth from decayed trees in the wood lot. I add some of the ash from my fire pit and commercial planting soil, some mulched leaves and a bit of sand.
I have swiss chard, spinach, onions, red sail lettuce, romaine, butter crunch and bibb started. Leeks and cauliflower, and some collards for the hens. Today i will put in my seeds for carrots and the fancy radishes i picked out for V - they are called the easter egg radishes because they are pink, purple, red and white. One of the carrot varieties i chose was "purple haze" which has a purple skin with the traditional bright orange inside. I also have the sunshine mix with the bright yellow carrots. In the field, there are little wild yellow carrots with the sweetest fragrance. What a great perfume they would make and i would if i could figure out how. Maybe i could just cut one up and rub it on my neck.
I'd like to try beets too. Im going to get a hydrator and make veggie chips this summer. Beets make some of the best chips, but judging from last year, finding ways to use zucchini will be time well spent. I also love the hydrated green beans. They are so sweet and crunchy this way. i really dont like them cooked that much. This year i might not do pole beans and try a selection of bush beans and peas instead. This will be year two of the garden, and i am still trying to figure out what works well here and what i like. I grew okra last year and really couldnt give it away. I only like it breaded in corn meal and fried so this year i wont grow it. I did like its flower though. Kind of like a pale yellow hibiscus with a maroon throat.
Koby conked out appropriately in a garden bed.
The hens hang out on the deck in the late afternoon. Ive spoiled them terribly. Easter and Vera are hoping for some pasta.
When i see the first star pierce through the sky, its time to go in. I have an exhibition in May, with 3 other artists, so i am painting in the evenings. I'm doing a series from the garden scans i have taken. When it's time for bed, i cuddle up in the quilts and read the blogs and news feeds. Safe in my little pumpkin cabin, i meditate on the sorrows and the beauties, and prepare to start the whole process over again.