My perennial beds are in serious disrepair. I did manage to get them cut back of last season’s debris. However they haven’t seen a cultivator or any fertilizer in a few years, forget about any weeding taking place. The mugwort has run rampant. For those of you unfamiliar with this weedy artemisia, it is in one form the herb moxa used in acupuncture. It has healing properties when burned on a patient. I had it work one time when the practitioner burned a cyst from the top of my hand. It was quite remarkable, actually.
I do digress. In the garden mugwort is my archenemy. I often, only half-jokingly, threaten to sell the property because of it. It emerged about the time of the first crocuses.
One time I left a piece of black plastic weed mat in an area covered with it for five years. Honestly, I’m not making this up. When I pulled up the mat, there was mugwort growing happily, only it was white from lack of sunshine. How five years of hot summer sun didn’t fry it to death under plastic is beyond me.
I have two other weeds with which I have learned to live and to appreciate. One is the wild form of erigeron, commonly known as fleabane. It has delicate white flowers in June and is quite striking in a mass. It belongs in a meadow, not in my used-to-be English gardens. Oh well!
I also have hundreds of the wild pale blue asters which bloom in late summer. They are the same ones seen along bike paths in the state forest and in meadows along with butterfly weed. They are usually about 12 inches tall, but in my garden they are over three feet. This could be a different variety, or due to the fact the soil is good and they do receive an occasional sip of water in the drought of July.
I love my chickens. Anyone who is able should consider a small flock. They eat all the vegetable peelings and table scraps, give some fine fertilizer, and provide a wonderful source of protein. I am sure you have noticed the property where the Good Farm poultry operation moved the portable pens last season? There are big swaths of bright green grass where the chickens deposited their nitrogen-rich manure.
If you are interested in learning more about having a small flock of hens at your place, we are planning a discussion on the subject at Sunday’s meeting of Homegrown. It is at the Agricultural Hall from 4 to 6 p.m. on April 15.
Huge thanks to the folks who have been cleaning up the beautiful stone walls and building new ones. It makes a trip up-Island completely pleasurable to see the workmanship of the classic New England stone walls. Some are probably over 200 years old. The new ones will mellow in time, growing moss and lichen. I did try the moss-in-a-blender-with-buttermilk trick once. I poured the mixture over a stone wall at my place. Supposedly the buttermilk feeds the moss and helps it establish itself in a new location. I have confidence it would have worked had not my cats licked the rocks clean.
Hopefully everyone finished their taxes in time. It was tricky balancing those accounts in Switzerland and the Caymans. Pardon my cynicism but the 13.9 per cent that the Romneys paid on their huge 2010 income really irritates me. The entire Republican tax policy continues to baffle me. The more money one has, the less you should have to share for the common good? The Paul Ryan plan of so-called deficit reduction does nothing of the sort. There is talk of “shared sacrifice” but only for the Medicaid or food stamp recipients.
If all the rich folks paid more taxes they would still be the rich folks. They would still own the Monets and marina slips.
Don’t they want to drive their Bentleys on decent roads?