Apr. 16th, 2017 05:18 pm
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Spring used to be hard on me. There was a buzzing in me that wouldn't let me settle. I vibrated all the time unless I was in the garden.

These last years, with school, I've been disconnected from the seasonal cycles and spring has meant getting ready to leave. It'a been, perhaps, a fitting use of the energy and not as bad as it has been previously.

This year, well. School has been difficult. I'm usually okay with time management. I'd thought I wasn't great, but this year was nearly all group projects, nearly all the time, and I'm not sure I met anyone who worked on anything more than two days earlier than it was due, so I'm upgrading myself in my own eyes. I like having things due a couple days before deadline in case anything happens, and so I don't worry about it. But, with all the group projects, and in particular the capstone 10-credit course in which I worked with four other people who mostly didn't do stuff until well after deadlines, my time management this term was fucked up. I tried to front-load my parts of the work, but some things required group decisions that people wanted to wait on, some part relied on other peoples' parts being done, and I didn't feel up to just sitting out the last minute crunch altogether. So.

So basically I lost actual weekends off, maybe all in the last two months or so, because I was always worried about something or doing something last minute. There was always a deadline that was past but stuff wasn't done and my part was contingent on others' parts or somesuch. In a couple cases there was a deadline past and someone saying something was done but it just wasn't online yet, which was not in fact true. It was tremendously stressful, hard to plan (because then suddenly everyone would decide things should be done and work overnight to do them, without lead time to do them in orderly fashion) and intensely unmotivating (because if no one else is doing work, why should I? End product is gonna suck if it's not well-edited anyhow).

All school year I was in places I felt uncomfortable using the kitchen. Halfway through I ended up at A&T's, which was at least let me feel less guarded about clothing and whatnot, but the majority of my hobbies were curtailed. My sense of self lost ground, motivation to do even things I enjoyed lost ground, and I became pretty disinterested in anything at all. It was yet another semester I wasn't sure I'd survive, but because of the difficulty of getting in to counselling at UBC I didn't go see anyone.

And now it's over. It ended four days ago. I spent a day with Tucker doing errands (getting bike in to shop, cleaning house a little, packing up rabbits) and came up to Josh's for Easter weekend. I brought the stuff for marmalade I'd been meaning to make for a couple weeks at least.

The first day was very low-key. I've been researching animal options for a future property, even possible dairy animal options. I've poked a lot at nigerian goats, Guernsey goats (serves me right to fixate on a breed that is basically impossible to find), and highland cattle. The rabbits went to the vet to board for... well, until there's somewhere for them to go. The next day we got stuff for a rabbit hutch, rabbit-tractor-style, for them to live in outdoors over the summer wherever I end up. I cooked some stuff and made marmalade and wandered around the garden. By evening I was turning the main garden, which I hadn't planned to do.

Now the main garden is 2/3 turned and planted (doesn't sound like much but that's a lot of crab grass!), the sunny small fruits patch is mulched with straw, and I'm... not happy, but part of the world again. I'm sad that I may only see this garden once more during the summer, when I come through to go up to Fort. I miss the rabbits. My relationships are in a somewhat rough state. I don't remember much about the last eight months. But. I suspect I'm going to be okay, and that I'll be happy again.

And soon, I think, I'll be able to feel relief and happiness that school is over, and that I've made it out the other side.
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(that's tonight, seven-pm-ish for you west coasters, ten-ish for ESTers, if you're in-between you can figure it out)

Yesterday was so wonderful. It's spring- really, truly, honest-to-goodness spring. Monday afternoon and all yesterday I did my first landscaping work of the year (yes, I know I've said it before) and it was tank-top weather for most of it (well, tank-top, jeans, and long underwear, but c'mon). I didn't sunburn, I must have enough of a tan from last year.

The air was very clear and full of a suspended haze of particles that glowed golden. It's funny, that sentence seems contradictory, but the haze was always in the distance, and the sunlight brought out close-up detail like you just don't see indoors or when it's gloomy. Things were edged and sharp to the eye. The air was cool like water when you slide into a lake on a hot day on my arms. I wrestled with overplanted california lilac and bought hedge shears and took spirea back and tidied up birch drop and cleared out winter die-back. My arms have scratches on them, I was dirty, and when I went for lunch I walked down the hill and I was almost crying because I was so so happy.

That's work, folks. That's what it's supposed to be like. It won't always be like this, I know, but still.

The snowdrops are fully up; the witch hazel is out and the air is pure perfume if there are a couple around; the hellebores are open and a few still unfurling in those intense purple-black-white patterns of theirs, though there were no green ones on this property. Where I was working, in middle Granville there, all the properties are huge estates and there are three options: let them go all to grass, keep them mowed, and hire a lawn service; do a forest garden which requires less maintenance; or hire a fleet of gardeners. Most people do 1 or 2, so there are many trees with leaves still crunchy on the ground and bulbs poking up through. It smells like last years' leaves, and like dry-rot under the ceanothus. That's one of my favourite smells this time of year, it reminds me of being out under the leafless bushes where they arched into a kind of hallway and watching for things to come up. I bet there are stinging nettles up at UBC. I should go pick some-- stinging nettle tofu scramble, anyone? Help me pick and I'll cook.

I had a bit of a hunt for my shears. I went to one hardware store and they had none. I went to the next and tried them all-- there was only one pair with blades that met down the full length and that was also fully disassembleable. Shows that things made in China have variable quality, who knew? You definitely can't buy hand tools based just on brand. Anyhow, these guys worked like a dream and they had a hard break-in. My arms will be sore when they realise what hit them.

The squirrels dug up and ate every single bulb I planted at this place last year, finding the holes with surgical precision and leaving crocus bulb-casings as evidence. Chalk one up on the 'suck' side for forest gardens. ;)

I roasted some purple yams for dinner, roasted some cherry tomatoes and served them over baked potatoes, and made lamb burgers (trick: flaxseed, mint, garlic and black pepper in the blender for a minute before you mix the green goo that results in with the meat). Purple yams with green burgers was a surreal eating experience. Good, though. I realise that because cooking is both a hobby for me and a necessity, I'll go into the kitchen and start from necessity, and then because I'm having fun I'll stay and tinker and cook more until all of my time's been sucked up. I focus pretty intently on the things I'm doing, and so normally a hobby will eat one or two full days per week. Something that I start every day, though...

I need to get my garden dug, dammit. I want to get a bunch of planters up on my deck, too, since it's the sunniest part of the yard. I should trial all my tomatoes in planters vs in the ground, that would be super-interesting. I just need three dozen five-gallon buckets to grow 'em in. Anyone? I'll give you tomatoes later.

I've started beating up my boy again, which has made him worlds happier. It's so strange to balance that tension between loving someone and wanting to keep them well and happy, and wanting to hurt them. I mean, it's strange when certain kinds of hurting them keep you both well and happy. Social norms and habit and communication in a young relationship don't help much. It's another reminder to ask out loud for what I want, because that dispells a lot of weird around things, and also makes an open environment to speak to each other in. It's good.

So, uh-- food, garden, relationships, is there more to me? Rat show coming up on the 8th of March in Port Townsend, Washington. That's exciting. Two big landscaping projects on the horizon this coming week. I may have money to my name again if that actually happens. If I pay off all my bills and the people who I owe money, I am SO throwing a party.

I need to make more time to call back the people who call me asking if I want to work for them, and ask them some questions: hours, rate-of-pay, location, flexibility, maintenance or installation, is there heavy equipment on site or mostly hand tools, size of company, benefits?

It's good to remember that feeling in my body of being completely, madly, desperately, insanely in love with the world. Sunshine, trees, and dirty hands-- that's what it takes. Here's to a summer full of it.


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