mercredi 11 février 2009

Stubborn phlogiston

Burning lavender

I achieved fire fleetingly, trying in vain -- or valiantly -- to release phlogiston from damp biomass in the burning pile in the bottom of the garden.

It's a way to waste time, while no energy is wasted, because none is spent.

Meanwhile, the guy with the little grass-green fourgonette who has been cutting brush and dead branches out along the bras-mort of the Seine on the far side of the field below the house has been setting little fires all week. Three burned this evening as I hauled myself back up into the house from the failure of my fire to sustain itself in the humid pile, and burned still in the dark when I took the laundry out to the dryer a little later, like the Beltane fires in February.

Yes, here, the washing machine is in the kitchen, while the dryer is in the garage, which is really the furnace and junk room out in the petite maison, which is really just a series of spaces used for that use, two guest rooms and a bath in a crappy little building that I'd tear down and rebuild, were it up to me, which it isn't.

Who'd build it, anyway? We haven't seen the workers more than a day or two since New Years.

Meanwhile, my fingers are blistering from the pruning shears with which I hacked, not sheared, to prune the lavender plants, long overdue for shaping. I just can't do it with gloves on. And here's the thing: I asked how far to prune them, and I was told to cut at the bottom of the flower stem. Of course, this meant that the plants get bigger and bigger, so it went without saying that you have to prune them further down, or be overrun. What they didn't say, and what I read today, is that you must always cut in new wood, never woody, which you can avoid if you shear the plants 2 to 3 times a season, rather than waiting until the end of flowering in September.


So, they didn't tell me that so that my plants would get woody and leggy and hollow at the center and I'd have to buy new ones, or they are too sad to cut the plants during their flowering season, too?

It's still a raggedy mess out there in the lavender beds. I had to give my blisters a rest.

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