Location: one hour from Suffolk, Rockingham, and Scarborough, United States

I'm one of the co-authors of Point of Hopes, Point of Dreams, and The Armor of Light (which, contrary to some reviews is NOT a Points novel). Proud member of CoastLine SF, Piscataqua Obedience Club, and admin for Horseboard.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Better than last spring

Now that spring weather is here -- complete with afternoon seabreezes, which means we're a good ten degrees cooler than spots inland -- it's such a pleasure to be working outside. Hell, it's a pleasure to be working outside, period. Last spring was when I was diagnosed with a sanctuary site metastastis of the original breast cancer. In the brain. Right next to the brain stem. I had nystagmus, some double vision, and minor balance issues. Really minor: I managed to get the kitchen painted before I knew what precisely was wrong. Even when I was diagnosed, the neurosurgeon I saw said the my deficits were minor. But enough to make me disinclined to drive out to EPONA and work with 1000 pound animals, or even to root around in the soil very much.

This year, I feel so much better. The fact that the last MRI showed that the little bastard is smaller than it was in December certainly helps! I'm also not on the damn steroids.

This year, I got my seeds started! The cabbages and tomatoes already need to be put into pots; the basil is coming along wonderfully.

And last weekend -- on a day that was unexpectedly dry -- I managed to cut, hack, dig, and grub out one of a pair of old arbovitae in front of our house. They were (once) globe arborvitae, but had become more like amorphous arborvitae. They were repeatedly damaged by snow and ice, causing the main trunks to split; they were sheared by the city sidewalk plows. But did they have the grace to die? No. So last weekend, I went out there with my loppers and pruning saw and got one of them back to the main trunk, and got that almost down to the ground (I left enough to act as a handle). I then went out to Home Depot and asked one of the folks there to recommend the best tool for getting the rootball out, understanding that there was no room to swing anything -- it had to be a digging tool. He recommended a terrific construction spade.

Digging out the roots became a job that required not just four hands, but at least one foot, as well, as we pulled and twisted the bulk of it up and around to lop off the remaining roots, but, by golly, shortly before 1 PM (a good thing, since the NASCAR race at Bristol was due to start at 1:30, and I would have been left to carry on by myself), we wrenched the damn thing from the ground.

What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment! I was muddy and sweaty, but it was great to get my hands into the dirt -- even if it was mud and clay. And I got a terrific and unusual recommendation for what to replace the arborvitae with. I had been thinking of holly, or something like that, but one of the women at Rolling Green Nursery suggested a super-dwarf variety of crabapple! And Melissa and I both think that's a dynamite idea. We can prune it back as hard as we need to contain it -- the space they'll be in is very limited and we don't want them encroaching on the sidewalk -- we can underplant, and there will be fruits for the birds through much of the winter.

So far, folks, 2005.1 has been awfully darned nice.


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