Five Green Acres Mary Jo + Andrew Borchardt Poynette, WI
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I got my Spring manicure yesterday.

I got my Spring manicure yesterday.
April 7, 2011 Mary Jo

Go big or go home.  I might as well tattoo it to my forehead.  Seed starting this year has all but exploded:  I devised a new area to start flats in the house and am simultaneously maximizing the chilly nighttime temps of the Chick Greenhouse to start some cooler-loving seeds.  Even if the temps dip far below the desired mark, the heat lights and fuzzy warm bodies should keep the ambient temp in check – a lovely picture of symbiosis, don’t you think?  At the risk of exposing myself as a shallow, gimmick-prone flake, I might as well pin all of this season’s seed starting success on my new storage vessel. The trusty aluminum lunch pail with a smart red handle has helped tremendously in organizing the seeds by their planting date, to be sure, and given a home to packets that were previously floating all over the house.  Mostly, though, I find myself smiling whenever I use it – I love the way it looks and feels and its inherent quirkiness as a Holder of Seeds.

But at a much deeper level is this recurrent theme of Process.  It is what hooked me into Wool so deeply and it is what’s behind this frenzy of Spring activity.  Selecting the seeds – the exact seeds, (rare, special, heirloom, obscure) then starting them, transplanting them, growing to fruition, then harvesting, processing them – cooking, preserving, using them to dye or treat our health woes…..   Any one of these steps is fulfilling in and of itself, but taken together?  Satisfying beyond all words.  We’re almost there with our meat chickens; once we can breed our own chicks to start the chain we’re engaged in now, we will have reached the Pinnacle of Process for me.  This is vertical integration, Family Farm edition, and it’s intoxicating. This year, I’m all in, planning even to set up a small table of this and that at our local farmer’s market.  It’s hardly a secret anymore that adding “selling” to any of the points of the process (growing or wool) makes it virtually irresistible to me.

The garlic is up!

Bed in progress. Chicken coop mulch is being worked into the soil.

Same bed - done. By my estimation, this bed is perfect - not a speck of exposed soil for a weed to commandeer.

From this point on, I shall be wearing my Spring manicure, where the rich soil of the garden is stubbornly and firmly rooted under my trimmed fingernails, despite my fervent attempts to brush it out.  The creases of the skin on my hands will be stained brown from the daily contact with the soil, despite the increased frequency of washing.  Like Grandma’s hands, I hope.  You can tell with a quick glance at her earthy hands that she communes deeply and joyfully with the soil and that is precisely the look I’m going for.

I’ve given notice to my employer that I will not be taking any hand modeling jobs for a few months, but I hope to supplement the lost income by selling a seedling or two.

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