Land re-emerges at the end of our seasonal ice age. Until now we’ve been kept in fresh snow, clean and white.
I noticed melt first where Farmer cleared snow, scraping near dormant, dry grass. Then drifts against the south side of the farm house showed signs. Like rotting lace, vanishing and hollow: snow retreated.
Today’s sky was brilliant blue.
“I can’t see! The light hurts,” Princess cried.
We donned sun glasses. This sudden brilliance was all too much without them.
It’s time, I thought, It’s finally time.
Princess played with cats while I trimmed a short stand of caragana bushes west of the house. They’d irritated me all last summer with their porcupine protrusion of scattered branches, catching me whenever I passed. There are lots of caragana stands to trim. We’ll be busy until it’s time to plant the garden.
Rather than discard, I pushed many cuttings into a five-gallon pail and added water. Perhaps they’ll root and I’ll replant them in a waning section of the old windbreak bordering the north field. With the Indian Head tree nursery gone, perhaps farmers will rediscover other ways to make shelter belts.
My father took me once to the farm his grandfather homesteaded. Strip mining left nothing behind except a stand of caraganas that continued to thrive, surrounded by spill piles: a fitting symbol for living from the farm. Curious, I researched this shrub.
“It’s edible!” I told farmer, “Both flowers and beans.”
But he already knew that: ate the flowers as at kid. I have a vague memory of doing that during childhood play at a neighbours’ (and wondering if I’d die).
Trimming caraganas, I admired their strength. No matter the weather, count on them. No matter what animal decides to eat it back to stump during hard times, the caragana will regenerate in spring.
Caragana: erosion barrier, C02 for oxygen exchanger, snow catcher, wind break, groomed hedge, pollinator attractant. Add their yellow blooms to salads and harvest bean pods (when they start to pop) for extra protein in breads and cereals.
Poultry also love their leaves and beans. So suddenly there are now several ideal spaces to rotate the chickens’ free range pasture.
In this age, fueled by compulsion to get out and buy, be something and get what’s yours, the caragana provides its own reasons to stay home, eat, appreciate and enjoy the view living from the farm.