Saturday, January 01, 2011

Going to the woods

As long as I can remember, I've spent New Year's Day in the woods. I seldom think of resolutions until New Year's Day, often changing my mind to accomodate both my annual birthday goals and my actual booked schedule. Last year I vowed to write more, and to read more. I kept up with handwritten correspondence all year, and read every blasted book about Jefferson and wine, American grapes, America's eating problem, the biodiversity crisis, the rise of Chez Panisse, and others all found by systematically browsing the shelves of the well-lit (and tastefully appointed) Daniel Boone Public Library. I wrote hundreds of letters, and tried to steer clear of writing about cows, even though I continue to have nightmares and panic attacks about them and their impacts. I think I wrote about my garden a lot and how I can't seem to grow big bell peppers, but my kale produced tender leaves all spring and summer.

In the past year, actually, in the course of two months, I've managed to put on 6 blasted pounds, weighing in at 106.2 for the first time ever. I'll lose it, and I'll keep it off (because that's how it starts with middle aged women like me: one pound one year, three pounds on holiday...then wham! you're 30 pounds heavier and having to buy new clothes to hide it.)

I'll try my hand at making a barrel of Norton this year using fancy designer yeasts and only the best grapes Missouri has to offer. (Ozark coopers sell white oak barrels specifically for home winemaking). I've been reading about home winemaking for two years, hesitant to take the plunge for fear of making some sweet crap that I wouldn't drink, or even put my name on, for that matter.

Top priority, however, is to spend at the very least two days a week in the woods. It shouldn't be hard during spring, what with all of my woodland projects already lined up, but I need to stick to it even in August when I'm trying to write all the reports on my spring and summer surveys. Too much inside time in the past year.

3: More overnight floats. More backpacking. More long trips into the Ozark woods and rivers that brought me here in the first place. I don't live in Missouri for the food, after all, but the wine's great.


Travis said...

the key to growing big bell peppers is that the plants like to hold hands. plant them out like you think you should, then add another 50% of plants, they love to be crowded. they are weird like that. given ample room, they will only produce small, thin walled fruits, and not very many at that.

Allison Vaughn said...

Maybe you need to make a trip up here--will feed and wine you--when it's time to put them in the always grow incredible peppers. Pepper envy.

Nickelplate said...

I feel the same way about cows and their impact, but what is a landowner to do for livestock? Goats need a different kind of fence than I have, american bison can jump a 6-foot fence (and I'm next to a highway), elk are not yet a possibility, and sheep get too sick all the time. Is there any kind of livestock that is appropriate for the Ozarks?
Also, I'd like to talk to you about some prescribed burns on my property if you don't mind.

Allison Vaughn said...

Hi there, Nickelplate--Did you know that there are folks out there who will pay for the installation of a fence to keep cows in a field and out of the woods? I can get you in touch with the right people, if so inclined. send your email, and I won't post it...I'm in charge of comment moderation.
take care, Allison