Apparently. So I’ve picked all the herbs for our dinner, (parsley, thyme, oregano), and I’ve battened down the proverbials.
We’re halfway through the school hols. Last week we flitted off to a beautiful place, where there was the ocean, and bush, and morning mists. And a boat I refused to set foot upon. Because I’m not fond of boats, (despite coming from generations – and I mean hundreds of years worth of hardcore Scottish and Danish seafarers). I let the side down there. But boredom, as well as the threat of seasickness (truly, I’m hopeless), swung in the favour of landlubbers everywhere.
However, it was a delightful change of scene. It was good to go, but even better to return. Because my dear old home. I’d rather be here than anywhere at all, if truth be known. In this here cottage, on the side of this mountain.
I’m taking a little more time away from my work, so that I can hang out with the Moon-girl. We’ll wander, see a film. She’s here at the table with me, painting for a school project, (why do they give them soooo much homework over the holidays??).
Anyway. Yesterday I chopped down a dead tree. Yup. A whole tree. I did get the husband to hold it a bit so it didn’t fall in the wrong direction. Or on me. Or on him for that matter. I’d be thoroughly incriminated in such a scenario, standing there with a saw in my hand, with his legs sticking out from under a large trunk. I can just see the headline: ‘Wicked Witch of the East Mountains Has Wicked Way With First Husband’, (my second husband will be a cheese-maker, my third a wine-maker).
Anyway, said tree was the skeletal ruins of a birch, (I think), that was doubtless dead and gone years before we took up residence. It was up in the wildish forest-y bit of the garden, where I want to cultivate a fairy grove. The poor old thing was not only impeding a large tree growing above it, (as well as blocking a surprising amount of light), it was also essentially a great, big bunch of kindling. And as we’re entering fire season soon enough, (always too soon), it had to go.*
So that was yesterday. Today, I spent the morning cutting up a good deal of it, with my trusty little handsaw – we don’t have a chainsaw, and let it be known, that that is a Very Good Thing. Once it’s all cut, it will make for a decent pile of seasoned firewood and kindling for next Winter. I felt all productive, and pioneering. And smugly self-sufficient. Even though that’s every bit as deluded as Marie Antoinette in her rustic cottage,flitting about in her silks with her goats and calling it farming.**
But..it does feel good to do the work yourself and to not waste anything.
A bit earlier, I was chatting to someone, and mentioned my Garden Doings in passing, (it’s difficult to have a conversation with me without me banging on about garden stuff); and they were quite shocked. Said person (a woman) couldn’t quite comprehend that I had attempted such a thing, even with the Bloke holding up the odd branch. Because apparently, that’s what men are for. And for a few moments, there was a stunned silence. On both sides.
Because why not?
It was hardly a job that required an arborist, (to which I would defer on the majority of tree-felling occasions). Nor did it require uncanny strength, (I do know my limits, and uncanny strength is beyond me, and I would think many people). And, sure, it was hard on the arms, but I do think we limit ourselves often by thinking we’re not capable of certain things. And when needs must, and all that. I look at the marvellous work of Colette O’Neil of Bealtaine Cottage, and she’s one woman alone, cultivating three acres. Coppicing and managing all manner of land matters. If I ever doubt my ability to do things, or need a bit of inspiration, I look to women such as Colette.
Perhaps some women just don’t know of what they’re capable? Or perhaps they do, and they’re just cleverer than me, using the fact of their femininity as an excuse to avoid the hard, icky jobs? I don’t see it as a particularly appealing quality in a woman, all that fluttering and flirting, and asking other people to do stuff for you. I tend to blush (for them) at the manipulative transparency of it all.
I grew up around widows, who had been widowed many years, and remained alone. Out of necessity they just went and did things that needed doing, rather than wait for a man to show up, (they would’ve been waiting a good while, I tell you).
So I don’t go in for that waiting for a man to show up and rescue you, bullshit.
Perhaps as a result of this, I’m not good at asking for help. Even after many years married, it just often doesn’t occur to me to ask for help. Not just from the Bloke, but from anyone at all.
The Bloke often asks me, “why didn’t you wait until I got home? I could’ve helped with that”.
“Because…I wanted to do it right then. If I’d waited, I might not be in the mood later…” And to be honest, it just seems a bit lazy not to it myself.
There are exceptions. Ahem. I confess that I don’t relish going under the house (into a confined space – *shudder* – claustrophobia), in the middle of the night, amongst all the cobwebs and filth to
kick switch on the water pump that’s decided to chuck a tanty. That one I really don’t like at all, if truth be told. That one I try to avoid, (even though there’s a part of me that enjoys scaring myself). But stick me up high on a ladder, or on a roof, and I’m quite cheerful.
Well, I never saw where that conversation was going. But here we are.
I shall head off now and move about the rooms of this house, lighting candles. Because we’re deep in the gloaming and night is creeping down the mountain. And I’m going to sketch out a plan for a moonlight garden. Full of white and silver plants to enjoy by the light of Her Above.
Warmest wishes to you.xxx
*…unlike other dead trees, such as the giant gums around here, this tree wasn’t providing any crucial habitat for wee beasties such as owls and pillaging marsupials (‘possums).
**I would’ve done exactly the same as her. Versailles was horrid and stinky, and full of greedy rats, (as well as rodents). If you have bucolic inclinations, it would’ve been even more hellish. Poor old Queen Maz-Ant.