Today was blowsy and chilly, and I pulled out my newly-made Calorimetry (knit by me in my own handspun, thank you very much) and some gloves as I went out to test out the cold, as I told Eric, by cutting the shiso seeds. The shiso seeds have made it, though the leaves haven’t. My Big Blue Bowl of Harvesting is now full of shiso stalks, despite the wind that kicked up in the first few minutes of cutting and scattered the seeds I’d had up until then across the lawn.

Once the seeds were safely inside and the shiso and basil stalks pulled up, Eric and I went to fetch bricks from the mothers’ house. They redid their driveway last year, and they’ve had these old bricks hanging around ever since. They built a patio with the nicest ones, but there are still lots left, and I was told I was very welcome to take any or all of them. So Eric and I stacked around a hundred and twenty into the mothers’ van and drove it around the corner and unstacked the bricks. Actually, we put them in a pile in the lawn because Eric wanted to get to work (“wanted” only because the sooner he went, the sooner he could come home again) and didn’t want to take the time to help me move them to the other side of the house where the herb garden is.

When he was gone, I decided I was bored with bricks and I’d do garden cleanup instead. The vegetable garden is now bare of plants except for living things: leeks, parsnips, carrots, and strawberries. The strawberry bed has been weeded for parsley and the baby plants on the runners pressed into appropriate spots in the soil. (“Next year you have to produce berries, not babies,” I told the plants sternly.) The compost box has been uprooted and moved because that was easier, and compost spread on most of the herb garden beds. The annual herbs and dead beans and peas have been uprooted, the bean trellises put away, the cutting celery trimmed to the ground and saved for stew tomorrow. Marigold heads have been harvested for seed, scarlet flax pulled up, the auxiliary compost pile greatly enlarged.

And the Asian pear tree has been denuded. When I walked into the vegetable garden I stopped a moment, surprised and admiring, because in the few days since I was back there last all of the tree’s leaves had fallen, leaving only dark branches and golden fruits, like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree with ball ornaments. “Might as well pick them all, since they won’t grow anymore,” Eric opined when I went in for a couple of bowls to do that very thing.

The Asian pear is in the northwest corner of the garden, right by where the rabbit warren was and is again–the large entrance is just beyond this year’s rabbit fence, but it doesn’t matter because the rabbits tunneled under it and came up in several places, mostly right near the Asian pear’s roots. So I got rid of the ant-eaten and/or rotten pears–there were several, sadly–by tossing them into the holes, ricocheting them off the fence into the entrance, and rolling them into nearby holes with my feet when I missed. I got pretty good at it by the time the tree was stripped bare, and I filled in one entrance completely.

I suppose the rabbits will just eat through them, but they would have done that anyway. I’ve got to fill in those tunnels and encourage them to go elsewhere, or I won’t be able to plant in the spring. But this afternoon I just amused myself by pretending to be in a live-action pinball machine. I eventually got the bricks where they were supposed to be, too. When I finished, I had a pear as a reward. It was chilled the perfect amount by the cold weather, richly sweet and superbly juicy. I fear I’m going to have to work hard to get those rabbits to move.

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