Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Plans Unfurling

I went to my class down at Marji's Ewephoric Weekend in Granby, CT. She had a great crowd of women - from experienced knitters to beginners. I tried out a new class called "The Edge of Color" which was a huge success (it was a class on different kinds of edge treatments). My embroidery on knits class was fun too but not as well attended. I think I need to make the class description a little better. Everyone from the afternoon class wanted to take the morning class after seeing what I taught - but they weren't intrigued by the class description. When I go back next year, I will write a better class description.

I previewed the knit and embroidered projects from Kristin Knits and all the knitters were totally enthusiastic and excited. I thought this was a great sign. I am supposed to see my final pages tonight - which means I'll be reading carefully, quickly to have my eyes glazed over, for days. There's a lot to read and I hope I won't have to make too many corrections. I also have my fingers crossed that I like the lay-outs and the photos and the colors - all the stuff that I have no control over. (That's very difficult for me in case you haven't guessed - I like to control everything aesthetically.)

Sunday we went for a lovely walk in our woods looking for lady slippers. Julia didn't complain at all and actually seemed quite interested in all the plants we were showing her. This is a wonderful development. She didn't fall too many times either. The wildflowers were out in abundance (the bugs weren't), along with the low-bush blueberries. We have to go back this week because there was a carpet of lady slippers that were just in bud.

The Farmer is clearing this particular piece of land he calls Mort's Pony Pasture for the sheep to graze one day. We bought the land from the heirs of an old-time farmer named Mort, hence the name. It borders the home farm where The Farmer and his brothers grew up. The Farmer has such long range vision it amazes me. He started clearing the land over ten years ago when we first bought it. Every once in a while, he goes and cuts a bunch of trees and brush hogs it later. An overgrown scrubby side of hill is now turning into a lovely field in the middle of nowhere.

Working with land isn't much different than knitting a sweater - it's a different set of skills though. It takes the same planning that I do when I design a sweater. It has the organic progression of a sweater - beginning, mistakes, ripping, changes and revisions, a little tweeking. It just takes so much longer - decades, a lifetime. I don't have any knitting projects that have lasted that long but some knitters probably do. I would get too bored and have to move on. Sometimes The Farmer hires a Professional Forester and they walk the woods together, making a plan for the trees, the harvest, and the re-growth of land after the harvest. Planning a pasture takes looking at the topography, similar to going to a yarn store and picking out a fiber and a pattern - deciding what to do with the supplies you have. But with a pasture, you look at the slope of the land, think about erosion, determine the soil quality, decide on the grasses to plant. Then you step back and let nature take its course.

Looking from the outside in, it's fascinating. All this forest and pasture management. I've been around it for years and I still am fascinated. It's amazing what one or two people can do to shape land in a good way. You've just got to have long-term vision. I compare it to putting together a book in my world - it just takes decades longer.


Willow said...

Our best friends own a citrus/blueberry ranch in Southern CA. We love to go there and watch the slow changes that they make in planting, watering and harvesting their land. We'll be living just five miles from them when we move next month. Our lives race along so much faster than theirs...

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Forest to meadow - that is a change that I can see the farmer is taking seriously and that pleases me. I am living in the land of 'clear cut', although that is slowing down here. They are not aiming for pasture, just profit!
Please enjoy the lady slippers for me. I used to enjoy them in NS, but they do not grow here in BC. Templeton, I love his name and the dear little face.

Anonymous said...

I'm just a city slicker from South Boston and don't understand what "brush hogs" means?????
Could you explain it to me?
bob y

Chicken Betty said...

LOL - someone who doesn't know brush-hog! HA! I'm such a hill-town girl - hee hee. Think GIANT lawn mower that can take out bushes and saplings - google it:)

Kristin - have you ever read "The Forested Landscape" by Tom Wessels? He writes about the pasture transformation of New England and the unique foresty that reamins and developed because of sheep farming. I think you'd find it fascinating!

And I love that pic of the fern. Two weeks ago I went for a harvest walk and filled my little basket with unfurled fiddle heads. They're SO yummy sauteed up with a little butter and garlic - very spinach like. Yum!