Taking away the pressure to “earn” a living puts me in a somewhat different mindset of what to do with my days. Watching projects unfold, keeping the rates of progress slow, making very careful observations as well as just mindlessly walking around in the early morning can guide and reveal and give perspective.

Often it is difficult to remove a set of existing features and substitute a different design/landscape, until the physical reality actually changes enough to be able to see the underlying hardscape, and what needs to be done to best achieve the desired ends.

Sometimes the original plans need to be totally abandoned, but more often it is a slight detour, postponement, moderate redesign, always of course with the idea of cooperating with the existing natural predisposition.

I’m going to guess that much of this “indecision” at the beginning has to do with my lack of experience, and as I become more adept I will see through existing features and guess the underlying reality more quickly, although, I think even with great experience there is still a responsibility to be alert to any changes that may be needed to make a better design.

Anyway, this morning as I walked around, I noticed many different things about ongoing projects, things that have no special meaning at this time, but may become important later on.  Do the two older beeches in an area get to stay? I had never noticed them until I opened up an area already choked with debris. Pulling out and chipping dead branches and clearing areas below a terrace allowed a more thoughtful penetration into the types of trees that actually populated that area destined to become a food forest.

How many times since clearing that area have I walked through there and not noticed that what I thought were poplar trees were actually beech trees with younger poplar saplings distracting my vision from the actual canopy.

What about some of the tall oaks in an area to be cleared, could they be pollarded and left to grow> Maybe I should finish untangling that wire that has been blocking access and stalling forward progress in a specific area (I did).

Often, without any specific idea of what I “want” to do in a day, the morning walk turns up tasks equally or more important than any plans I might have made, sort of like seeing ripe fruit ready to be harvested. Some jobs are “ripe” at a given time and can be completed easily, with great advantage. Other jobs are ongoing and call for a bit of attention to keep them from stalling out totally.

I have known for several days the next big job is for the backhoe, continuing a swale to a point where I can plant a couple pecan trees sitting in the wings. So while I see other things the backhoe might work on, I really need to get the path to the swale ready so the backhoe can get there.

That is the advantage of having a backhoe as a personal tool, I can take the time to do the preparation jobs well, and not create more work  by simply rushing the backhoe in and cleaning up the bigger mess later. I really like the idea of not being hurried, and my temperament resonates with that. Others might find it too slow or boring,  but I get a satisfaction out of watching jobs grow organically.


Also of course, with an older second hand machine, the ability to be careful and not push too hard can save lots of time and repairs later. Yes, I’m talking about the backhoe, although the same might be said for my own body. No sense in pushing it to break, tomorrow is another day and another morning.

But I digress. Some may prefer the evenings to inspect and admire the achievements of the day, and I do enjoy that aspect of this work, but the time that I enjoy most is mornings, when the day is new, and everything presents itself with the ability for fresh perspective and new understandings.



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