A chill September morning, the sun isn't up. The mist is thick, a gray veil of chilled air that starts at the fence line and muffles the sight. The horses are mere shapes by the gate. They must be sleeping because they don't look up as I come out to feed the cats.
The chickens are already up, of course, with the rooster crowing his darn fool head off. A few ducklings are pipping 'where are you' as they follow the drakes out of the barn. They must be late sleepers because the momma ducks have already headed up the hill where the grass (and ragweed) is still high.
I've been working outside, since the weather cooled. Mowing and weeding, stall cleaning and spreading, planting trees and flowers until I can't move another inch. There are forsythia cuttings in pots, herbs drying, flowers still blooming and the porch needs to be uncluttered.
I trimmed the Japanese maple, though I wonder if it will ever be a tree again. A cold snap two years ago killed the slender branches, so now it looks like a sheared shrub.
Last year's oak tree is a pitiful mess. It looks worse than the maple. Four feet tall and leaning despite all my efforts to straighten it. At least the redbud trees shot up this year. They were pitiful one foot tall twigs for years. They steadfastly refused to grow an inch. Maybe there is hope for the oak?
All the trees will be fed well this fall. We'll see if they decide to grow come spring. I've always heard that the roots grow first, then the tree grows into the roots. Also 'the first year it sleeps, the second it creeps, the third year it leaps.'
As I look at the horses, grazing in the round pen, I realize that I've got only two major projects left. One is turning the round pen into my primary garden, but before I do that - I have a horse to train.
I'm going back to my yard work today.