Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Morning at Cafe le Maria

I'm outside on my little front porch for my morning coffee for the first time this season.  It's all of 41 F, so I suppose I'm jumping the gun a little bit.  But I really wanted the little happy pill feeling it gives me.  I'm wrapped in two couch throws and truthfully, I could use a third.  I have to get the kids up in a few minutes anyway, so I won't be out here long.

Our yard and surrounds are much different this year.  Last fall, the parish board decided, in order to deal with some wetness seeping into our basement, that they needed to remove all shrubbery from around the foundation of the house.  When we moved here, the place was only three years old, and had a couple of rows of baby trees surrounding it.  But it was pretty bare looking.  In the years since, those first trees have grown up and I've planted many more trees and bushes.   It was starting to look so nice.  It was a very hard day for me when the men came to do that.

Another change is in the CRP land that surrounds the house on two sides.  Ever since we moved here, one of the members of our church owned that land.  It was mostly grass, but with a mix here and there of the beginnings of woodland and wetland reclamation growth, such as poplars, birch, willows, and various other brushy things.  But this land's time in CPR is almost up, so the owner, a retired and widowed neighbor, has sold the land to another neighbor.  He's decided to take it out of the CRP program when its current term expires this fall.  So next spring will be even more different, but for now, it means that all the wild look to it, the brush and small young woods areas that had grown up were dozed down last fall.  So we are surrounded by just grassland on those two sides for the summer.  I will miss all the grassland birds such as bobolinks and harriers.

Across the road from us, to the west, in the middle of a field of crops, has always been a small woods.  I don't know if it was ever a farm site, or just a woods area that was never developed in to farmland.  I've been told that long ago, the higher ground was called oak knolls becasue that's where the oaks would grow best.  I always chuckle at the term knoll, since I can't really discern any difference in elevation, except when the fields are wet and the water is trying to find a way to run off.

This spring the neighbor who farms the land across the street has decided to take down his oak knoll and work it into farmland.  I am not a farmer.  But I do realized a farmer has to consider his bottom line just as does any other business person.  My brain knows this.  But my heart does not like to see the trees taken out, especially the old oak groves that take so long to develop.  When I look across the street this morning, I see a truck with a machinery trailer and a bulldozer sitting along side a long row of trees  that are lying flat.  The root balls of many are facing me, so along with the bristly looking gray of the branches, are big muddy clumps of dirt.  Not nearly as scenic as a woods whose edges are just beginning to get a hint of green on them.  But here I exaggerate, becasue our trees here are not yet getting that hint of green.  I was projecting a few weeks further on in the year.

One pleasant change this year is the hayfield that is to the south of us.  That is new a couple of  years ago.  Before that it was in a yearly crop rotation, so this time of year was always just a muddy field.  Now I see the soft and green pillowy look of a few inches of spring alfalfa growth. 

The birds are twittering in the trees and the roosters have by this time stopped their morning crowing.  I hear the chainsaw going already in the downed trees across the road.  There are no cats this spring trying to climb all over me and sip at my coffee.  We will get some later in the year, but for now I enjoy the lack of them.

Better go start the morning rush.

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