We feel so grateful to live here in the Pisgah National Forest. A dear friend told me that I would never really understand this place until I stayed here for a full year, watching the subtle changes in the forest everyday. This time of year really proves that statement true.
As I watch the bulbs begin to push up through the partially frozen earth, as if they are groundhogs, just poking their heads up to see what it’s like above ground, I think, “Yes, it is Spring”. And then comes a big, beautiful snow storm that covers the daffodils with fluffy crystals of white. The whole place turns into a magical snow globe that beckons the song birds from the forest to my feeders. I watch as the yellow finches flock to the bags of thistles hanging from the trees outside my kitchen window. It will all melt soon, no doubt, and the daffodils will make a full recovery. Spring will reappear and, as Mr. Emerson exclaimed, the earth will laugh in flowers once again.
Meanwhile, we shall enjoy the beauty that nature displays everyday. We cherish this opportunity and are so grateful for this forest. We work hard to be good stewards of this place.
One of our biggest challenges arrives this time every year as we fulfill our commitment to keeping the water clean and pure up here. We are at the top of the public watershed and it is important to us all. So, every year we must clip and cut all of the brush that grows beneath our power lines so that the electric company will not spray large amounts of herbicide that decimates the natural flora and fauna and and leaches into our native springs. This is about 1/2 mile of power line easement. This is a lot of clipping and cutting!
This year, as I was sharpening the blades on our loppers and Tom was sharpening the blade on the chainsaw, I had an idea. I needed to “flip the switch” on this attitude of mine. So, I came up with a way to make it fun. I decided to start weaving a fence with all the saplings that we cut. Not only would it provide a great use for the materials, but it would provide a much needed barrier to keep our chickens out of the new garden space at our house.
I started researching ways to build a fence and discovered an old technique called wattling. It turns out this is a practice that has been around for centuries. It is a great way to use up all this wood we are cutting. And, because it is now an art project, it became FUN! Yes, fun!
Now, I am excited to head out with my loppers to see what I can find to weave into my fence. There are different colored saplings that grow here. Some are red, bright green and even purple. And, we have an endless supply of grapevines that grow in the forest and kill the trees. This gives us the ability to begin to sculpt with vines. Tom came out of the forest with a 75 ft grape vine! Wow! I had a lot of material to work with for days. And the trees seem to say, “ahhhhhhhh” when you release them from all of that constriction. It’s quite rewarding.
So,the weaving has turned to hearts, as so many things do up here. I invite my friends to come and join me. I am envisioning hearts made by all my friends. Even the birds joined in and wove a heart shaped nest into this old wreath hanging on our shed. And the hearts are growing as you can see in the photos. But the chickens?
Well, they are laughing, of course.