Teaching a dog the concept of later could be compared to putting up wood for the winter. The former is a futile task. The latter is never ending. I'm on day five of cutting, splitting, throwing and stacking soft maple, box elder and fresh Chinese elm. Mandy looks at me with an empty expression when I say,"in a minute."
I glance out the kitchen window looking at the sidewalk which is stained with tannic acid and the outline of wet autumn leaves. "I wonder what those spots are?" It's raining. Yet the eastern sky is partially alive with the same golden light that filters down our valley in late afternoon. At the river bottom where our house is situated, it's overcast and somewhat dark. The hill to the north is illuminated in a wide swath of sunlight. As I continue staring, a rainbow appears across the white house on the ridge top which overlooks a sloping hill crowded with unharvested corn.
Shoot. There goes one spur of the minute task. Sawdust from the recent tree cutting covers one half of the corn plot. If I get dressed quickly, skip a shower and stack the breakfast dishes I can till the sawdust under. My hope is that during the winter it'll decompose and make for a softer, looser soil. Our front field is prime topsoil. Over the years I've beefed it up the soil with organic components-fine chopped leaves, horse manure, organic composted poultry manure, wood ashes and now fine wood chips. The already sandy soil is like brown gold. Since it's a corn plot, I'll add more nutrients. Corn sucks up more than it replaces in nutrients. The farmers of the area will pay the price for single cropping year after year, similar to the 1800's when the Wisconsin soil was so depleted that a subsistence crop of the time-wheat-disappeared.
In the west the sky is bright blue. The temperature at 7 am is in the 40's. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to till the corn patch and run the gas out of the Troy- Bilt Horse. It's a moot point since any gas I've used in the past month has an additive to stabilize the remaining gas in the tank. I'm ultra-conservative looking at the investment I've got in machinery. For five months the machinery will be at rest in the shed near the highway. The recent warmer weather gives me respite to complete more work before snow. My neighbor comes over with a log splitter. Half way through splitting monster chunks of the main trunk of the silver maple felled last Friday, he's down to a sleeveless t-shirt. I'm down to a single long sleeve shirt. Mother Nature has been especially kind of late.
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