Monday, November 27, 2017

WILLIAM    I hope you are doing okay out there, wherever out there happens to be. Still wrangling chickens for period movies? Riding a getaway bus out of Portland?
        Anyway, I hope I am not just talking to the night here.   I don’t know where you are or whether you even read your Facebook feed   since you have not posted here in a very long while, but  I figure this is my best shot at contacting you.   We  are doing well enough ourselves, but Dogsplot is thickening ….getting complicated, as you will understand.

     A guy named Owen Pierce showed up here a while back  looking for you, saying he had read our “Book of William,” and that he is your biological brother. According to him, before you showed up at our house in Natural Bridge, you and he were two of more than several kids born in a shack at the edge of the Fort Drum military reservation … enough kids that after a few months as a baby in the house, you would each move to the chicken house out back, where you mostly looked after one another. Then you moved on.  And he himself has moved to this area.
           Oren Pierce  wears black clothes and boots with high heels; teaches badmitton as a zen type sport, or so he says.  Probably not in those boots though.  He has shown up at the house a few times since first appearing and I have seen him around, mostly walking the roads.  He has offered to look after the place when and if we travel, and has been submitting stories for our magazine about the stuffed animals in our trunk.  We don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, and I am not sure I would be ready  to leave the place with him. 
        Any chance you might get back here sometime?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Poor Orchard's Almanac: Italian Olive Ladder

   My apple picking friend, potato magnate, and garlic farmer David Clauson sent me this picture forwarded to him by an itinerant  fellow apple picker just back from Verona Italy, where he had been picking olives.  This  simple pole with pegs stepping up each side, like the telephone poles they used to actually climb,  looks pretty  scary to me,
    My good orchard ladder has three legs and is stable on uneven ground.,  A ladder with two legs with rungs spanning them, the feet wide apart at the bottom and a foot or so apart at the top, will grab the tree and add a little stability, particularly on s slope like this, and like some of ours here at Dogsplot.  I have seen pictures of old ladders of this sort made for  for Washington State Pear trees.  They were forty feet tall, as Pear trees naturally grow in a spire.  I try to cut and bend my Pear Trees to a vase shape, as each has plenty of room to spread, but they still get up there, and they are generally on rough ground.  Also, I just want to make a bipedal ladder.
      I made a THREE legged ladder with Juniper rails and rungs, but I need sounder rungs.  Maybe PVC plastic pipe. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Poor Orchard's Almanack: Dancing with Garlic

It was going to rain so I went and put in a lot of garlic very quickly . One of the top ten reasons we grow garlic is that the critters don't much like it so we don't have to fence it. I am planting five or six mounds like this one now, to get around  five hundred heads. some of which we will sell, some of which we will dehydrate, some of which we will cook, and just as much that we will eat raw in pesto, which will protect us from predators.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Poor Orchards Almanack: Hard Sky Fall

 Now that fall cold is roughing up their fluffy butts,  our Dogs Plot Chicken Citizens    no longer rush  into the house to lay eggs   in the toy trunk, but do a lot of scrabbling around  in the dirt, running and hunkering around, not knowing whether they should be digging in, gathering nuts, or what’s for dinner.  Half of them don’t remember a previous Fall, and by the time they see their first snow, they will either remember last year with a sort of relief, or be convinced that the sky is falling; which will be pretty much what that stuff is.  Our Roosters Andrew, Copernicus, and Gerald, all who have been through a winter or a few, and  who had crowed all day long and at passing trucks  at night  and occasionally even at first light during the  longest summer I ever knew, now take turns crowing with joy as soon as day glows in the trees.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Dog Roses of Pumpkin Hill

 On the Dog's Plot four or five acres, and in the brush land and pasture land surrounding us we have the Rose that grew at the doorstep of the original homestead house and, then some seedlings I brought here from Ithaca along with Rose of Sharron, which is not a Rose at all, and then out back in the orchard and conspiciusly out on the cattle range, there are occasional multi flora, roses with there simple, small, and multitudinous flowers...a generally unpopular escape from Gardens, and then the Roses that we used to call Swamp Roses because they grow in my native swamps up north, along the lake shore, and beside streams.
        We call this place Dog's Plot, and because these pink, sometimes white, simple Roses are abundent here, arching, abounding, I began referring to them  as Dog Roses, and was then very surprised when my friend Der Rosenmeister, that Dog Rose was really the official English name for those Roses.  Several sub species exist, and so do Swamp Roses, which are something else.
     And of course Dog Roses turn out to be more than special;  magical and possiblly world saving, according to Wiki and Nature Enquirer, as soon as they get the news.
      But just look at these Dog Roses.  That is all you know, and all you need to know.  Truth is beauty and beauty is truth, and sleeping Dogs never lie.
  The last picture in this series shows a Pear Tree trying to come up in the pasture.  The cattle prune them down to the thorny  parts, so they stay dwarfed, as they do in the hay fields, waiting to spring up like the Cayuga's from whom they descend, by  way  of French Jesuit Missionary gardeners, then surviving the great Sullivan massacre, by sprouting from their roots.  Everybody should do that.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Three Strkes on Two Scythes

  I love my scythes and I abuse them terribly with my over-enthusiasm, which every  once in a while comes up against hard objects.  Each of these two twenty four inch ditch scythes have been broken three times and welded twice.  The welds themselves held, but I will be retiring these two now, ordering a new ditch scythe or two, and hacking with my brush scythe for the time being.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Dissappearing Plums

   For several years now I have been cultivating a pair of wild Plum trees growing  in the hedgerow.  I   also planted several planted several cultivated  Plum Trees six or ten years ago, each of which has contracted the Black Knot disease and died down to the natve, ungraftred stock which, like the wild Plums, is resistant to the Black knot.  Several of these trees have come back strong from the roots so I have planted a couple more Plums  grafted on Black Knot resistant root stock, from which I will  someday  cut scions to graft onto the old stock, and onto the Wiuld Plums.  Meanwhile, the wild Plums I have bneen cultivating have flowered and born fruit, and recently I returned to them wanting to try  the fruit and they were all gone.  Stolen maybe by  the desperate poor, the Arab State, Possums, or Racoons.  But I don't know why the Coons or Possums would do that .... we feed them so well otherwise. We'll get by.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Flower Bud Bust

That warm spell in February tricked out most of my Pear blossom buds just enough that they burst into powder if you flick them now, some are more resilient, some have already  flowered .... maybe a tenth of my hundred or so due producers, but more then last year, which was a climate fluctuation disaster.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

     There are few native American Fruit trees .... not Apples, not Pears, or Peaches or Sweet Cheries, but the North American Plum is one and we here are at one of the fingers of it's northern extent.  Maybe the Cayuga had them in their orchards along with the Pears and Apples and Peaches and so on introduced to them by the early Jesuit missionaries, but here are a couple thriving here on ?Dog's Plot through no intervention of our own and, since one can graft cultivated Plum types onto it, we will be doing that.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Pears on the Move

The floor of the woods around Dog's Plot is covered with Pear blossom petals,  Pears are non- native invasive opportunists in abandoned farmland such as ours....was.  We owe the Pears to Jesuit Missionaries who traveled with their gardens, and  came here a couple of hundred years before the British, by  way of Canada and set up missions near here.  By  the time the American Revolutionaries  burnt down the Cayuga Village in Aurora and cut down their orchards, the Cayuga were living  in wood-frame houses, just like the colonists, many of them practicing Catholics of a sort, and, in addition to their own Corn, Squash, and Beans, were growing many European crops, including Pears and Apples, neither of which are native, and maybe Broccoli for all we know .....but conspicuously, blessedly now, Pears.  A great virtue of the Pear tree is that when you cut it down it sprouts form the stump and roots, matures, and goes to seed.  The naturalized trees vary as seedling trees do, and they would mostly make a good Perry Wine or Brandy, but I graft cultivated types onto the saplings that come up on Dog's Plot.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Poor Orchard's Almanak, January 19, 2016

Pictured below is my ten foot, three pointed ordhard ladder, which is as high and heavy as I want to lug around for harvesting pears and tending the trees, so I was up there today tying orange bailing twine.  to the high growing ends, some of which I cut off for grafting buds, then I bent the branches to spread them and get them growing outwards instead of upwards,  then I tied the ends of the twine to lower branches of the native tree that I have left on for that purpose to keep the deer from rubbing, and provide them with all the green growing bud they are going to need.  I notice that some of the winter buds have already broken open, though it its getting late in January.  I don't care so much if I don't even get to ski the orchard this winter, just so long as we don't have a season where the winter is only two days long and comes in April.

 The Watercress in the brook I have been cultivating, is still green, both under the ice and in the open.
    The Mustard that self seeded this summer in the Mustard patch, are still doing just fine, and without any mulch, though I have also covered other mustard with row cloth, and have been harvestig it now and then.

  I let the chickens into the garden behind their house and let them root in the garden here i already dug out Sunchokes and mulched with straw.  The Chickens dug out these mushrooms that had been growing under and in the straw invisibly.  They are, at this time, still Unidentified Fungal Objects.


  What kind of god would create a mushroom that looks AND SMELLS as good as these do, kill thousands of people every year?  Just one of the mysteries that make life interesting.  Do not depend on me or any picture or vlogger on the internet to identify this as a deadly poisonous mushroom.  There is too much to learn about mushrooms that it might be just as well to just let them be them selves and do their jobs.  Although, I must confess, that I have bothered a lot of Chicoletta mushrooms, using Chickens to guide me

Monday, January 2, 2017

How to be a Writer


  Obviously you are going to make a place to write, a writing station, the more obviously so the better. It helps if you have a writing hat, which makes for a personal cubicle, and makes it less obvious, dependin on your tipping slant or cock, whether you are working or sleeping, maybe to dream of your  theme... and yes a writer needs a theme, lots of themes, a main  theme of mine being birds as  you can see from my  hat and the pullets on the curtain rod behind my seat.
      Then there is no excuse not to write except for lack of desire to write,  or lack of a story, fear of never being able to stop, lack of experience, lack of a story again, or an imagination that is underexercied, and especially due to a mind running mostly on words.
 I have most all of these problems, now and then, and now again a few nights ago I led myself to the writing station and told myself to  improvise a bunch of first sentences Reading them over now, I don't remember any of them.  Some are enough by themselves, some could go on, some should die.  Some are stolen stories.  In some i am carried way to far beyond the one sentence goal.
In the story about the plastic eggs with the messages in them, I must have typed the messages with my fingers out of position, because of the cat in my lap, the extreme lateness of the hour, or fumes from the ritualistic rum beside my chair. Any help decoding the messages would probably be a waste of your time, but go ahead, and let me in on it.  It could be someone coming through from the other side.  Also, if you care to go on and finish any of these stories, just get permission from the characters, and then go ahead.
      So then, here are my midnight improvisations:

Once there was a story which, as told, ended when the lady fell off the street car and landed in a  fruitt stall, but that was not really the end.  Of course.

   Thre were two of him and only one of her.  That was the problem.

   Once there was, or maybe a few times, has there been a person with cheek bones quite as prominent as his, and it was more than he could do, to locate his identiy in anything else, including his outstanding sucess in the farmed Truffel market.

     The Parrot, named Polly because it was the only one ever known in the county, was found beside the rail road track when she was a little girl in Ohio and there is no telling how old it was at the time, being probasbly a performing circus parot, but Bernice had the parrot with her until it died eighty years later, where upon Polly was taxadermined and kept on in her cage  until when Bernice died while well into her nineties. They  had an open casket funeral with Polly, and the two were burried together.

      The moment I walked into the place , seeing thjat it had a dirt floor and only three walls, I expected less elegance than I actuall encountered

  Her third ear was not always obvious, beause of thje swath of hair she pinned over  her left temple, where the ear resided, but of you  ever noticed it, you felt deeply obsrved.

   Every seven years Alistair Clair, otherwiose known as Stomwell Jackson, and Pom;pe Tympanum, would change his name for a year and try out another life, as much as possible avoiding legal fraud, and so on.  The so  on was the problem.

    Four mlonths after she moved in with her cats, he moved into a trailer  in the yard and that was working out pretty well

     When she first mved onto the ;roerty, there was no shed out back, and then one day there it was.

   When I first met her , she had not jet unfurled her wings

       At first she didn not notice the large, ape like creasture in the hot  tub.

           for a week when she had gone to collect eghgs in the chicken house, she had found not regykr eggs, but placstic easter eggs: those two-part things you get with jelly  beans  in them, except that each of these chicken house eggs had a  fortune cookei advisory  on it, like, as in the fisst one, :   nredstr pg upit nrdy wis;oyord/

       ejrm jr eplr i[ om yjr ptmomh . jr trvlpmrf jr epi;fkidy hp nsvl yp c;rr[./

              zoy dsd s fsu ;olr smu pyjrt fsu. rcvr[y yjr dlu esd gs;;;omh.

               When they  sold the farm to the other side of the family, they were able to move into town and live a life where you didn’t have  to worry  about being slammed against the side  of the stall by  a bossy cow, damn her hide

               She did not  notice that she had stepped on a star fish, until it had been with her for a while.

          When she woke, she thought she smelled pancakes. but she lived alone in a doublewide trailer on four acres.  Another morning it was bacon and, maybe   potatoes.

   My adopted brother William was handy on roofs where, because of his lower body dwxarfism, he could wxork all day without kneeling or bending.  Heoccasionally worked on some of our Natural Bone construction projects over the years, most often  sleeping nights on the work  site, sleeping among the tools. No one ever complained, mostly no one noticed. .   He did some garden work on his own and often then, lived in the garden, and sometimes with the encouragements of the ladies.
        One lady in Cayuga Heights believed that gnomes are real physical beings, that William was one, and she was willing to pay him, whatever that might be worth, to be a resident gnome.
       He was nt so sure he liked the notion that he was a gnome, or just exactly what as gnome was, or what was to be expected of him, but he took the job.

       He didn’t have to be there all the time, and she paid him to build a funkty little cottage for his garden stays.  She wanted there to be a steep roof but with the appearance of snow on it all the time.  The artificial snow was a huge pain in the ass for William.  Mrs Truebody was thinking paper mache … but William knew what the weather would do to that.  He ended up using infvlated empty plastic milk gallon and qiuart containers striung up by ropes through the handles and covered all over with agricultural row cloth.  You got the idea, but it didn’t  look all that much like snow to William except when it snowed on it, and  that was long after the garden tours came through.  Mrs Truebody had him extend the fairy garden aspect of her poperty, making laterns and fairy houses  until William just got sick of it all and went out West for a while
 He felt safe and secure sleeping with his tools.  Like   the sons of  Cornell Professors at the time, he was a carpeter, house painter,, At the time of this story , he usually slept in his van   or on the work stie, in a bag, among his bags of tools.  

     For many yeas, she forgot she had ever been to Boston.

   They collided like ships in the night.

       He was the kind of guy who, when he walked into a room, no one noticed unless he coughed or cleared his throat or laughed at nothing, as he often did at odd times any way. No one liked him and he didn;t like anybody.  He would be beneath your notice, except for his particular talent.

        He had been away so long that his dog didnt reconnize him; bit him on the knee cap .

       He had not been to an actual movie in an actual movie theathre for years now and when he sat down at all seemed familiar agin except for one thing ….. there were no oter people in the teatre.  And then the film started.

    It was not long before Mason realzed that the object he had pcked up was a subject. someting alive.

   She attributed her long life and good health to a diet of worms, and because she was so old, many people thought she was serious, and some asked for recipeis.