Side Bar: This is my third summer on the farm, somewhat hard to believe.The farmer who rents our arable (–adjective "1. capable of producing crops; suitable for farming; suited to the plow and for tillage: arable land; arable soil" ~dictionary.com) land planted winter wheat last autumn. The fields look much different with wheat growing in them than they did with corn, much of the difference is that with the wheat growing out there we can see the expanse of the fields. It is very pretty, especially when a breeze is blowing and the tall, slender wheat stalks are move along in long, lazy rolling waves. Beautiful, really. For about an hour I drove the tractor around and around in the "L" shaped piece of land I mow and enjoyed gazing at the gently moving wheat fields, feeling the cool spring breeze that moved the wheat lifting my hair up off my shoulders, watching little butterflies dancing up, diving down and around like little pilots putting on a show. Being out there on the tractor for a while is a great opportunity to enjoy the farm and all its beauty. You really get a feeling of the sense of space out there, back behind the barn and the willow, with the fields off to the north and east and the three-acre yard full of flowering trees and shrubs, the giant and graceful willow, the large lilac tree out behind the barn, all of it so rich, so big, so spacious and wonderful. As I was mowing and enjoying all that space and beauty I suddenly remembered a tree we planted at the end of last summer way out by west side of the wheat field. We planted four trees at that time, but this one ... a Burr Oak I believe ... well, it was munched on pretty badly by deer over the winter and didn't show any signs of growth come spring. The tree was several feet high when we planted it, and it had a protective plastic sleeve at the base, going up about three feet to prevent it from being girdled by rabbits or other rodents over the winter. My husband recently told me that while there was no sign of growth above that sleeve, he did find some leaves growing down below it, so he removed the protective sleeve and cut the top off the tree. We both hoped it would continue growing and maybe would become a thriving tree someday, after all. Well, there I was mowing that area of the lawn but I had not see the tree at all. I panicked and worried if perhaps it was so small that I had mowed right over it with the tractor while thinking about other things like wheat fields and lilacs and barns. When these thoughts occurred to me, I was way off at the other end of the lawn, and though I scanned the area where I thought the tree should be, I couldn't see anything sticking up. As I headed over that way, I kept looking desperately for some sign of the little tree and then I did see it standing just about two feet high, off to the left of where I had been looking. What a relief to realize I had not killed the poor thing. As I drew closer still, I could see that it does have several healthy looking leaves and even some tiny branches. It is really something to consider the fact that some day, many, many years into the future, that tree could potentially have a canopy some sixty feet in diameter. How grand it will be, even coming now from these humble beginnings. When my husband suggested we plant the trees last autumn he told me there is a saying that planting a tree is the ultimate sign of optimism. True, so true. When you look around at any of the truly spectacular trees that exist they have been there for a very long time. When you put a tree in the ground you are actually putting something there for a future time that you might not get a chance to see yourself, and yet, you plant the tree. We planted four, but we are just getting started. When my husband was about thirteen years old, he was with his grandfather over at our cottage property a few miles down the road. They were sitting down by the river, and he was looking thoughtfully at an island in the middle of the river. He noticed the island was eroding and mentioned something about it to his grandfather. It occurred to him that if the island continued to erode that way, it might not be there a few years up the road. His grandfather told him that he could take branches from a willow tree and plant them along the edge of the island to try to protect it from erosion, so my husband gathered some branches, got in a boat and headed out toward the island. He planted three willow branches. More than forty years later, three fine, strong willow trees stand where he stuck mere branches in the soggy ground as a boy ... and the island remains. Good going, honey! We planted two maples and two oaks. I think the maples are Sugar Maples, if I recall correctly. One of the oaks is a Burr Oak and the other is a White Oak. The oaks will grow much more slowly than the maples, and I have no idea how large they could potentially become during the course of our lives. I do know that it will be people other than us, up the road many years into the future, who will get to truly enjoy those trees and see them when they are larger than life. I like the idea that we have put these threes in for people other than us to enjoy. It is an ultimate sign of optimism that this place will still be here, that someone will be here loving it and caring for it long after we are gone (not that we're going anywhere for a very, very, very long time). Someone did it for us, and now we have started the motion of passing the torch to the next folks who will come along and for those who come after still. Hopefully some will be heirs of mine, but I know there are no guarantees. While I was out on the tractor thinking about all of this, my thoughts went on to life itself. What can a person do in this world to make a difference? Or to do something that lasts. Sometimes it can all seem so overwhelming, there are so many world-wide, large-scale worries and concerns. What can I do, today, to show that I have hope and faith in you and me and those who come after us, that I have faith in mankind and who we are spiritually and what we will do with our opportunities and resources. I know that on an immediate basis I can do something like write my blog in an effort to share the good things that come in my own life, my philosophical and spiritual way of looking at life. I know I do make a difference in people's lives with this blog today, because you write comments that touch my heart and soul, bring tears to my eyes, and tell me in your own sweet words that I have done something that made a difference ... today. As for the future, what can I do as a gesture of faith for the long haul, that we are going to make it as a race and that we will finally some day get it right and knock off all the nonsense like war, drugs, crime, pollution, intolerance, wastefulness, and so on. Who am I, just one woman on a farm out in the middle of not much. I am not a world leader, just an interested party living a quietly productive life in the best way I know how. What can I do that will have any lasting effect? Well there is this one thing ... I can plant a tree. Especially a tree that takes a very, very long time to grow. Something I am not putting there so much for me as I am putting it there for someone I don't know who will stand on this ground in this place many years from now. A person who will lift her head and enjoy a clean breeze of fresh, cool air coming off of a beautiful, healthy Lake Ontario. A person who will feel grateful standing beneath the shade of a great, big, healthy, beautiful oak tree put there by my husband and I way back here in time. My husband and I will care for this little fledgling tree today. We will protect it from the elements, deer, rodents, disease, and pests as best we can. We will watch it, prune it when necessary, and love it and we will do all of that so that that as yet unknown person (who I now almost feel as if I can reach out and touch lightly on the shoulder) will have it to be grateful for in a world perhaps a bit better off than the world in which we live today. Hang in there little guy, we have big plans for you.
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In other news ... I will be publishing a pattern for three hand knit Christmas Stockings on or about June 15th. If you want to receive an email alert about the pattern, be sure to sign up for my eMail list There will be one free Christmas Stocking pattern, and there will be a pattern for purchase (online download or printed) with three stockings featured in it.
Speaking of my patterns, I have been very gratified to receive these comments from people who purchased my new Emily Sweater and Hat pattern:
"Your pattern is beautifully written in wonderfully helpful detail, probably the best presented pattern I've seen. Thank you so much. ~ mommypohl
"Adorable sweater/hat pattern! Pattern is beautifully photo'd, and provides clear directions. Thanks soooo much!" ~lbdotson
I also just posted a new set of notecards in my Etsy Store, featuring photos from my blog of yarn, vintage buttons, etc. ... perfect for knitters and crafters!
The other day I started knitting a set of pretty little bags from a beautiful linen yarn I picked up last time I was at the yarn shop in the village. I love this yarn, and now that I have been working with it I want to use it to make myself a lightweight sweater for next spring.
After I publish the Christmas Stocking patterns, I'll get pattern for these new bags published as well. The pattern will include instructions for three to four gift bags for a special purpose ... yet to be announced (I think it's a cool idea, and I'd like to surprise you all when all of the bags are complete ... just a few more days till photos are available).
They are a perfect summer knitting project because they are small and not wool. It is refreshing to have a knitting project that actually feels summery in my hands. I'm loving this project very much, indeed, and will tell you more about it as I get closer to publication date on the patterns.
Gotta go now; my husband is coming home a bit early and we're going to head over to the cottage with Blu and get out on the river in the boat! Hope you have a wonderful day, catch ya later!