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Inside the Deer Fence - April 30, 2010
By Jane Gilbertsen 

Dear Methow Neighbors, 

It finally feels like Spring might stay, no more snow squalls. The cottonwoods are dropping their sticky bud coverings and the green leaves are teasing us with that exhilarating suggestion of GREEN. Green stirs the soul. Those that cruise through life blindly must be stirred below consciousness but those of us that seem to need green to live can see it with our eyes and feel it as it sends bolts of energy through us!

This is the time for grandiose plans to be hatched - during the middle of the night, on graph paper and napkins, all plans requiring work and some money. But until those big plans get underway there is a lot to be done and if you are lucky you might run out of energy before you get too carried away!

Here is a beginning checklist for Spring. You might find that your place doesn't need all these chores but it might help you think about preparing for the growing season ahead anyway.

Cleaning up winter detritus -
This is the time to pick up and prune broken and haywire branches. The deer probably took a toll on those they could reach (ever notice when you drive through the valley trees do not have growing branches from the level of the deer's reach down to the ground?). Walk around with your pruner, lopper and saw and clean up your trees and shrubs. I leave lots dead brances for bird perches and places to hang something handy. Some dead branches are beautiful and add to a natural aesthetic. Overall, cleaning up makes the place not feel so dreary - like washing the sleep from your eyes in the morning.

Next I rake, shovel or pickup the gravel the snowplow moved off the driveway, restack rocks that have tumbled, sweep walkways, rake the lawn of "junk", pluck out plastic junk that has somehow migrated in and the like. When you cruise your place slowly with a cup of coffee first and then with a few key tools you see so much calling to you. You will be eager to return to pull or dig the early spring weeds or grass that is out of place but each thing you see will call to you and reaching your planned destination will end up taking longer than planned. The best part of this is to enjoy it all. When I find mouse nests, praying mantis egg cases, early worms, feathers and such I feel in touch with what is happening in the world. Only going slow will accomplish this. I have done this with music and in silence. Both are great, just different.

Thanks for reading,
April 30, 2010