Monday, 12 March 2012

Springing into Action

Last weekend was glorious. Truly glorious. Spring had arrived and everyone and everything knew it. We sat outside in the sun for lunch, walked the dog without the need for coats and on the boat we dug out the sunscreen before the race. We substituted our Saturday stew and Sunday roast for braais. These weren’t our first braais of the year (I don’t think a month has gone by where we’ve not lit the charcoals at least once), but it was the first one where we didn’t need to knock the ice off the grill first, and where we could sit and eat outside. On the downside, there was no snow around to keep the beers cold.

We patrolled the garden with a combination of excitement of what we could do with it this year, and also with great trepidation at the amount of work needs to be done. Our lawn (I use the term very loosely) is not lawn grass, it is field grass. On a bed of clay soil. It is a textured landscape of lumps and bumps, and humps and clumps. And holes of varying size. Some are tiny, made by the sweet little shrews that live under the bird table. They dart out, glossy and fast, to collect the seeds that the messy birds fling to the floor. Nature’s version of Tesco delivery. This year, however, they’ve started to venture further afield, and the perfectly round entrances to their extensive underground shrew city now cover the entire garden. Hmm. Not overly impressed. And it drives Welly nuts. He’ll run from hole to hole, nose sniffing wildly. And then it gets too much for him, and he digs. So now some of the holes in a lawn are not so tiny. Hmm.

But, as so kindly demonstrated by Welly, the ground was perfect for digging, so we put in a couple of new veg beds. We’ve had to move one of the ones from last year because not only did they not get quite enough sun to be a success, but also because that’s where we’re going to put the chicken coop. (Chickens! Yay! We’re getting chickens! Very, very excited.)

At the end of our day digging and weeding and tidying we sat in the spot where we'd planned to put our deck, beer in hands, loyal hound at our feet. The smell of wood smoke and grilling lamb chops wafting over us as the sun slipped down below the horizon. A noisy flock of starlings murmerated over the tree tops the other side of the vineyard, moving as one fluid organisim, hypnotic and magical. Then day turned to night. The starlings dropped together out of sight at some unseen signal, and the haunting call of the tawny owls replaced their chattering. The red sunset faded and gave way to glittering stars; jupiter and venus were out, bright and close. The wind stirred in the trees and the first bat of the year flitted overhead.

Life is good. 

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