Quietly, bit by bit

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Last week: before.

We’re slowly moving through Things That Need To Be Done, and I am beginning to achieve a wee bit of balance, thanks to my garden / supply store.

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After; Chance of the fox-tail exploring the newly-cleared stones.

The back and one of the side gardens are now trimmed and/ or staked back, giving the dogs more room to run, letting us humans go through the gates without fighting off rowdy foliage.  I trimmed all the mulberry in the yard once again, staked it where that was needed, cut down all the renegade French hollyhocks before they went completely to seed (gathering much of the seed that had already matured, first) but they will still show up in the cracks between the paving stones again next year; they are insistent that way and they really like it there. I halfheartedly tried stripping the stalks, but they were too green yet, and there is another large stand of the same hybrid hollyhocks within the garden if there is time later in the season to steam and strip some. Their stems are not as large nor as straight as what we call ‘alleyhocks’. (Those make lovely paper).

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Not Alleyhocks.  I have a grandma kind of garden, but it’s exactly the kind of grandma garden I’ve wanted since I was a wee kid…

I did harvest all the tall orange daylily stalks from the front and side yard and the ones I’d planted in the alley, plus the stalks from a favorite darker red, still tall, daylily. When I left, they were all blooming profusely, and I thought I would miss the window for getting the most benefit from them, but I lucked out.  The stalks make rather ugly, rough, fibrous sheets of paper but yield a great strong pulp to use for the internal structures of castings, especially those meant to be installed outdoors.  It’s win-win: nice, dense (and easy plant-to-paper) foliage, a lovely long month or more of blooms, and then a just a few quick hours of work to harvest, cut, cook, beat and freeze the drained stem pulp to have on hand when I am building again.

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Daily dog training, an appointment with a highly recommended trainer (who has trained service dogs! Fingers crossed for his evaluation and affordability), and web site updates, admin for the next show, and a residency / grant I’ve been nominated for are things getting done incrementally, as well: the late-summer rhythm of home is re-establishing itself, and that’s fine and good. So is eating my own tomatoes and fresh herbs every day, and (surprise!) having time and the inclination to blog a bit today.  Next week, we receive the schedule imposed by our situation for the next few months,  adjust our rhythm to encompass that and whatever it brings with it.

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The extra-tall bucket, before covering it with a mesh bag.  Today is perfect weather for the cook.

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