Monday, October 04, 2010

Timeless Retirement

Monday, October 4, 2010

34° here on the mountain as the sun has found strength to break through the fog and clouds that prevailed two hours ago. Karl the Wonder Dog and I got out early and enjoyed the quiet and the smells of autumn on our back forest road. He loves to walk through the fallen maple leaves and dig and paw and root around even though I want to get moving. He found nothing to bark at this morning and my enjoyment was in the form of a large pileated woodpecker that left one dying sugar maple for another.

Fall frosts signal an end to many things, but for me and Gail, fall is equally as busy as summer. The nursery commands lots of very important work that is "behind the scenes" work that no one ever sees when they make a plant purchase. When frosts arrive my work slowly moves from the fields into the woods as I cut wood for the following heating season. We have slightly more than 70 acres here on the mountain, part in Marshfield and part in Peacham township. My forest work includes making a series of walking trails while cleaning up brush and fallen trees, reopening old woods roads and cleaning up around old white pines, black cherry, yellow birch and healthy sugar maples.

I retired the end of March from a career in state government that started in 1969. At the end I received constant questioning about what I would do to keep busy. Those who asked obviously never really knew me as keeping busy has never been a problem. Actually having enough time has been the problem and I have sought a "day stretcher" for some time but they just aren't made.

Yesterday Gail and I worked on our river garden along the Winooski River at our nursery. We have a vision for five acres of botanical happiness and this is part of it. It will take time to complete the garden and as those who know us say, our gardening endeavors will never cease.

We started working on April 1st and worked nonstop for over 150 days. As October approaches, the light at the end is Columbus Day when we close the nursery for the season. But since Labor Day we have been open by chance or appointment and that affords us time to catch up on things. For me, getting into the woods and back into some photography is the answer.

Up top is a picture from last Thursday. The property belongs to Marshfield's Water Tower Farm, home of Tennessee Walking Horses and a terrific therapeutic riding program. I took the picture just before the rain began to flood the area with well over 5.5 inches of rain here on the mountain. This field was still covered 24 hours ago but should begin to dry today.

If you are a photographer, there's probably a stack of pictures or a file folder on your computer that contains a bazillion pictures of the same spot. This is Marshfield Pond, a place in Vermont that is special to me. It is a couple mountains away from our house and I seem to spend a lot of time in that area. It lends an instant peace that sort of tranquilizes one from the busy life that is part of American now.

Guess I better get going here. I have dahlias and cannas to clean as soon as I change the oil in the '57 John Deere tractor. I need to get the brush hog mounted and trim out the woods roads and the back field one more time. Retirement is fun. Stop by if you have a minute. I probably have a story to share.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Canada geese have been flying almost nonstop for three days.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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1 comment:

Michelle said...

I can see why you would spend lots of time there.

Many years before I I will ever be retired!lol