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March 18, 2010

Hawthorn Hill: Cutting back

This is a cutting back year for us up here on the hill. The universe may be expanding, but down here on planet earth there is an insistent inner voice that says, like it or not old man, the time has come to stop creating more work for yourself no matter how much you enjoy the fruits of your self-inflicted labors. One of winter’s perennial tricks is casting a veil of forgetfulness over the previous year’s labors. In the past, I would look out my study window about this time of year and imagine all kinds of new projects.

That is not the case this year. Instead of, for instance, envisioning new perennial beds rippling their way colorfully down the hillside, I think a meadow, left completely to its own devices, would do just fine.

I have never doubted the truth of the cliche that less is more. The difference is that now I am willing as hell to buy into it _ hook, line, and sinker. Last year we operated a very modest CSA, which went pretty well, but at the end of the summer we realized that as much as we enjoyed growing veggies for others, we could easily live without the worry of making sure that we not only had enough of everything, but that it all stayed fresh by pickup time. Plus, we really yearned for full-time summer flexibility, a luxury we had not enjoyed since starting our daylily business ten years earlier.

The first thing we did last autumn was return one of our largest vegetable gardens to its former wild state. This spring we hope to move quite a few things closer to the house. It will mean reshaping things a bit, which will undoubtedly require a lot of transplanting and digging. But the long-term gain will be worth the effort.

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