Sunday, March 3, 2013


Beeyard Hazelnut
            I love the rhythm of springtime pruning. Study the essence of the tree. Wiggle a branch to see where it leads. Move the cat. Think for a moment, then climb, balancing the loppers or saw on the branch above. Trim. Toss the branch down. Wiggle another. Think. Trim. Toss. Climb down. Reconsider. Up. Trim. Toss. Down. Move the cat off of the ladder. Shift locations. Cut out some suckers. See what appears. Clear up the brush pile around the tree.  Stop for a day. Come back another time. Wiggle a branch. Consider. Begin again. Move into the Being of the tree.


All of the trees are pruned for the season. I thinned out the compost hazelnut a few weeks ago,  turning it from a brush pile tangled in the phone wires into an airy branchy thing free from entanglements. Then I moved over to the beeyard hazel and de-suckered it, while pale golden pollen sifting down on my head. A few nips on  the blueberry and red currant bushes had them in shape. Then I moved around front, accompanied, as always, by the Lucy Cat. First, I de-suckered the plum tree create a blooming pink and white umbrella reaching over the Ark. Branches came in to be forced on my bureau in front of the mirror. I spent another late afternoon after a day of Professional Development climbing up in the fig tree, cleaning it up. And then, today, the apple tree assumed it’s final height. It has been reaching for the sky for almost ten years now and I’ve been hesitant to prune it because I love the apples so. But, this year, it had to happen.  A rain of small branches fell around the ladder as I tugged and trimmed. It is done.

Chard Gratin
The best way to eat chard, ever….

In a large cast iron frying pan, sauté   two big bunches of chard, chopped, in olive oil. Add 2 Tablespoons of flour and cook for a few minutes. A two cups of milk, slowly, cooking between each slosh. Spriinkle salt, pepper and a bit of nutmeg over the mixture, then cover with bread crumbs. Bake in the 350 oven for about half an hour, until the milk is thickened and bubbly.  Eat the whole batch in one sitting.

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