idea for a terrace beneath a cliff
Monday, November 1 2010
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
We had the first frost of the cold season this year, with temperatures dropping down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It wasn't a hard frost, but it was enough to wilt most of the plants in the tomato patches. One younger volunteer tomato near the house growing in some spilled potting soil did not wilt, and I decided to save it from its inevitable doom by transferring it into a large pot with some Esopus Creek floodplain soil and humanure and relocating it to the greenhouse. I didn't have good luck with a tomato plant I tried to grow in there last year, which produced only one tiny tomato, but perhaps it had been too close to the window and experienced freezing conditions. This year's tomato will be against the north wall, which is subterranean nearly to the ceiling.
In the forest behind the house, the new stone-stepped path down to a lower part of the Chamomile is proving to be an important avenue for the retrieval of salvaged firewood. Every day I use it (as I did today), I make improvements, either enlarging the terrace in the hillside beneath the cliff or replacing marginal steps up the escarpment. The landscape of the hillside beneath the cliffs is comprised entirely of a jumble of shale pieces. If one were to remove a substantial amount of this talus, one could make a large terrace backed by a sheer cliff, and it would be possible to create a pleasant forest garden, particularly if some way could be found to keep mosquitos or even rain away.
I'd been using a mattock here a week or so ago, but it had been lost beneath the falling leaves. I rooted around through these leaves without success until I decided I'd never find it without a metal detector. So I went home and fixed my metal detector, which has been broken since a heavy power saw fell on it and smashed its handle and one of its potentiometers. I replaced the potentiometer and managed to repair the plastic using a liquid plastic weld chemical. But the metal detector has never really worked very well (as is so common with things that are cheap and Chinese), and when I took it to the cliffside path, it didn't help much. It did, however, focus my attention on the places where I was sweeping it, eventually leading me, like an inert cursor, to find the mattock.
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