I chipped up all the loppings Christine had done since the late May clearing of the orchard, plus stalks of very tall growing weeds. Tall, as in six feet tall. The stalks are not quite as tough as corn stalks, but tough enough that chipping and shredding seemed reasonable. My hope is that the nitrogen in the weeds plus the shreds of the brush will decompose quickly together scattered out in the orchard. I had about five bags of that, plus one bag of proper wood chips. The five bags were strewn thinly around the picnic table where the buckwheat has been beaten down, and the one bag of proper chips applied thickly at one end of the picnic table.
The weeds, one of which i had to look up, are both natives.
Dogfennel Eupatorium capillifolium -- perennial, green and feathery like a stiff boa some diva stabbed into the ground in a fit. It's the same species to the currently trendy Joe Pye Weed. I've decided that i like it enough towards the back of the meadow, but i don't want it going to seed.
American burnweed, Erechtites hieraciifolius -- this might be the name of the other weed. Mine seem to have minimally lobed leaves and very lush leaf growth. They grew in an aesthetic clumping, so i've left them alone, but i really don't want this going to seed. A forest of these would be no fun. But where they shaded out competitors.... Hmm, maybe i do want some seed to try and fight stilt grass with this.
It's raining again. I wonder if i should pick the corn the first chance i have: the fore cast is so wet. But at least the monotony of the previous tend days of scattered thunderstorms have been broken up. It's now heavy thunderstorms, thunderstorms, PM thunderstorms, and more scattered thunderstorms.
Well, if i had rain barrels at this point, they have long been filled. My sister's place, that i saw last night, needed rain. Hmph.
We went over to see her, partly so she could vent to me about family stuff and spare everyone else. She went down to be with my parents at my grandfather's wife's L--'s funeral. Christine walked Carrie as i heard about how my sister was bit by my aunt J--'s dog just as she was going to bed Friday night. Sister L's got a puncture wound that has bled a good bit, but is clearly inflamed, and i'm happy to know she's seeing a doctor today. Family dramas were shared, and i was thankful sister L was there so my dad could share snarky asides with her instead of my mother. Dad apparently did some poking over my grandfather's will: i'm pretty sure that any assets he had have been absorbed by his wife's family. My grandfather's wife L--'s eldest daughter S-- and (infirm?) husband are living in the house my grandfather & his wife had, and last i checked it was in a revocable trust in the wife L's name only. Theoretically my Aunt J is an executor, but she's been bypassed. I knew that my aunt J--'s husband J--2 spent a great amount of time around my grandfather's wife's eldest daughter -- technically her step sister S--. Apparently J--2's hovering around S--- isn't exactly reciprocated, per my sister, but i know for years J--2 has helped out at S--'s business. Anyhow, my Aunt J--'s husband is more protective of S-- than of my aunt's claims on the estate. Personally, i wonder if J-- & J--2 are so unhappy, why J--2 might not want J-- to have some assets of her own, as almost all of his assets are tied up with his first marriage.
Anyhow, that's one bucket of drama. Aunt J-- and her husband J--2 have a currently fraught relationship, so my sister never brought up the dog bite, just to minimize the drama there.
Other drama is with Cousin T whose marriage is a shambles and her youngest daughter E, who has been in therapy long enough to claim that her anorexia is due to her need to control something in the mess of her parents' marriage. The mess isn't particularly new, and there's great sympathy for cousin T because her mother, our Aunt P is a bitter caustic woman, which i can attest to from my dad and i getting a good share of her barbs as i grew up.
I realize that some of the relationships i think of as new -- my aunt's marriage, my grandfather's marriage -- aren't that new. It's just i was so distant from extended family while we were in California, that the married in families seem to be strangers. It doesn't help that my aunt's husband has nothing to recommend him other than providing for my aunt, my grandmother's husband has nothing to recommend him other than somehow pleasing my grandmother, and my grandfather's wife, apparently a lovely woman, was married to my grandfather who was truly awful to my mother and her sister in his last years.
I'll be seeing them all in a couple months when i'm in Orlando for a conference.
Other weekend notes:
* Butterflies in the orchard doting on the buckwheat, drinking from the bare clay, getting salt off my sweaty shirt left on the deck rail.
* Trip to north Raleigh to see Christine's friend M--, who may no longer be separated from his wife -- drama at work there.
* Trip to Silk Hope to pick up two red mulberry trees for the orchard and a nice visit with the permaculture dude who sold them to me. His squash were grown under shade cloth in his hoop house and didn't have any mildew.