The general idea he'd had in mind was to create a sort of blanket of decomposing leaves for the garden, both to add nutrients to the existing soll and to help nsu ate the plants themselves against the cold. It would rob them of the sun, but some plants benefited from this and the resulting addition to the decomposing mulch would make for a much better bed in which to plant anew in the spring, or for the surviving plants to come through. It would help with water retention too come summer, which would help conserve resources and work in the long run, as Aubrey would have almost nothing to contribute to the decomposition process. Moreover with the leaves spread out, they would still provide places for bugs to hide, and for birds to get at them In the lean winter months, when they had little else to tide them over.
He'd put seeds out, of course, but that could only go so far, and variety was always nice, wasn't it?
He just had to get the leaves to the right place, was all. Nature would take care of the rest as long as he did that much. That was what he told himself to try and psych himself up for the task. Besides, if he didn’t have to use the rake, then was it really such a daunting thing to do?
Aubrey surveyed his garden, deciding once and for all where he’d like the leaves to go, then bit the bullet, so to speak, and took up an armful of leaves to spread out. It was a little disappointing how even an armful of leaves, for him, didn’t put much of a dent in the leaf pile he had accumulated, but all things considered, he supposed he wasn’t surprised.
He had never been able to carry much, and this was already a vast improvement over his capacity when he had been a one foot tall Hara.
It just meant that the job would take a while, that was all. But it would inevitably take longer if he took his time with it, so Aubrey set himself to the task, and began spreading the leaves over one of the sections where there were trees planted, rather than plants that hung lower to the ground. They’d benefit from the leaves without it interfering with their growth above the ground, and they took the least care for him to spread the leaves around, since he didn’t have to worry about bumping into them or smushing them by accident with his passing.
Once the work was begun, however, he found that the going was a good deal faster than he had anticipated.
Maybe it really was just that he wasn’t using the rake, or maybe he had overestimated the ordeal that the task would prove itself to be after having underestimated the chore of raking the leaves earlier, but it didn’t take him long at all to spread a layer of leaves around the fruit trees. They were bare now, but Aubrey looked at their branches and thought to himself about all the wonderful fruit they’d bear when it was time, in summer or in autumn. There would be more work too, then as well as in spring, but the rewards would be well worth it.
Thistle drew alongside him, not to help this time but to stare at the trees with him. “Are you curious about them?” he asked. Without waiting for her answer, as she wouldn’t be able to give him one anyway, he began to explain.
“This one’s an apple, see? Ambrosias, since they were Dami’s favorite. I thought I’d bring him some from my first harvest, though I don’t know if they’ll be any good. It’s my first time growing them.”
It was, of course, his first time growing anything. And thus he didn’t have much in the way of expectations, especially of his crops. If he could take decent care of the plants themselves, Aubrey would honestly have called himself satisfied with that. Even if his kind had a natural affinity for plants, that wouldn’t solve every problem. He still had to apply himself diligently if he wanted to raise them well… probably. Well, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to do it, just to be safe. And it felt right, especially since he was going to be eating them or their fruit at some point, to show them some real love before he did.
Pointing out another tree to Thistle, he said, “This one’s got apples and pears grafted on. It’s just experimental… I hope it doesn’t interfere with anything too much.” He had faithfully followed instructions on grafting when he had done it, and the tree seemed to be doing well, but the next year would show him for sure whether there were any real problems. Right now, in winter, with all the leaves gone, there weren’t as many ways for him to ascertain any problems that might have occurred. All he could do was hope for the best.
As he pointed out each tree, Thistle’s gaze followed his indication. That was a promising sign, that she could read his cues when he directed her like this. “That one’s a plum tree,” Aubrey said. “I hear the fruit is pretty sour though. You can try some if you like, and we’ll eat them together.”
At this point he was just making up ideas to amuse himself, since he didn’t even know whether she could eat plums. Again, the question of tree creatures and wood and cannibalism came to mind, and in retrospect, maybe even the grafting would seem strange to her, but… This time it was easier to shoo away the thought.
“That one’s a cherry tree. If I’m being honest, I mostly planted it for the flowers. I hear it’s hard to raise good cherries, though maybe it’s just hard to protect them from birds.” On that note, his gaze slid briefly to the bird feeder that he had just set up the other day. Maybe that hadn’t been the best move, in retrospect. If birds started thinking of his garden as a place to find food, then when the fruit came in, that would be fair game for them too…
Maybe Thistle had the right of it all along, wanting to shoo them away as she had done the day when they’d been weeding the garden together. What had she been thinking then, he wondered?
It was a little late for that now though, and Aubrey felt like it would be a shame to take the feeder down. Winter was a hard enough time for little birds already, and his wish to help them out was still there. Maybe in the spring, once it got a little warmer. By then, taking it down might not do much good, but even so.
Turning back to Thistle, he said, “That’s it for the trees. I’ve only got four, since I wanted to give them lots of room.” Thistle was still looking at them, though now that Aubrey’s speech had petered out, she approached one and laid one of her gnarled hands on it.
Aubrey watched her--- a change of pace for the two of them, he thought, with a little irony. He wondered what she was thinking, and what her senses told her about this tree.
“Do you think it’ll like it here? Living in this garden,” he said softly. She wouldn’t be able to answer him, of course, but maybe that was a good thing too. What if she’d said no? He could try his best to make things better, but a tree was a thing planted in the earth. And it had been here half a year; moving it now would have been difficult if not outright impossible. A smaller plant, maybe, but not a tree, not even a sapling like this.
He’d always wondered what it was like to be a tree, but now he thought that maybe it was better to be something that had a little more control over its fate.
Not even a sentient thing, necessarily, but even something like Thistle. She was sort of a plant, but she could leave if her situation soured, or if her circumstances changed. Or even if she wanted a change of pace.
But the tradeoff was the awareness to care about such things. The trees in his yard now--- how much consciousness did they have anyway? There were probably books and dissertations on the matter, on the intelligence of plants and all that, but Aubrey was no academic. If you asked him, he would have said he felt like plants had souls of a sort, but even that might have just been a romantic idea.
Life was a complicated thing, wasn’t it?
Stretching, he went back to the leaf pile. Whatever communion Thistle was having with the tree, it was their own private thing, and not something he could gain a greater understanding of merely through observation.
Better to apply himself where his efforts might have more of an effect, and not drag out his time in this cold, for that matter.
Spreading the leaves over the other plots was a little trickier, since he had to arrange the leaves around the existing plants. Still, it wasn’t necessarily a difficult task, just more time consuming due to the greater amount of care required for him to complete it. But just as he had found when he’d been spreading the dead leaves around his trees, it was still a much more agreeable task than raking the leaves together had been. In fact, he found himself humming a tune as he worked. He was no great singer, but even he could hum a tune passably well. And anyway, he was doing it for his own enjoyment, or out of his own habit; and the only one who was here to hear it was Thistle.
Still, if she minded… Aubrey snuck a glance at her. She had left off from the tree, so whatever was happening there was certainly concluded, but if she paid any special attention to him, Aubrey didn’t notice it. The humming must not have bothered her then, or if it had, she was choosing to ignore it despite that. And there was a certain comfort in that, even if it was a bit lonely--- the idea that she was content to stay out of his way, and that they could each do as they pleased with themselves.
In time, he did hope that would change. But that sort of thing would happen slowly if at all, and as far as arrangements went, it wasn’t the worst one he could think of either. And he’d seen plenty of evidence, even in their short acquaintance, that she would approach him when she felt good and ready.
Trying to hurry her into it seemed like the wrong way to go about things.
By the time Aubrey worked his way through the plots, which were his priority with the leaves, he had managed to make more of a dent in the pile of leaves. From what he had started with, he had maybe a third left. He’d layered it rather thickly over the plots themselves, since these were his priority. They were where he would be growing the plants he hoped to receive a yield from, after all.
But he wasn’t going to neglect the grass entirely. He had always planned to spread the remainder in a thinner layer over the grassy, untilled parts of the yard. It was a bit of a mixed blessing, since this would obscure them from the reach of the sun, but when the snows came, they’d do that just as well anyway.
He was so close to being finished, just in the home stretch really, that he felt a last burst of hopeful energy now. lust this, and he could go back inside, enjoy a nice cup of hot herbal tea and maybe a hot bath too. He'd worked up a sweat earlier, and he'd been thoroughly chilled afterwards, so the idea of one seemed almost dreamily nice now.
He could do this! Aubrey hefted another armful of leaves and set to work.
Spreading the leaves out more thinly turned out to be more difficult, he found, than when he had been going for a thicker layer. He had to pay more attention to where the leaves were placed since there were fewer of them to go around. He wanted to cover as much territory as he could with what he had available, and in practice that meant making more efficient use of his assets...
And doing that meant setting things down more carefully than he had been doing.
Still, it didn't necessitate the use of the rake, and he did make some progress, even if it wasn't as fast as it was before. The burst of energy he'd felt earlier left him too as he was forced to slow his pace, but he was less frantic without it, capable of carefully considering what he was doing and whether it wouldn't be better to place this big leaf over there, for example.
It took some time before he ran out of leaves because of it. As he was turning around to get more, he saw Thistle standing next to the leaf pile again. For a moment, he was startled, thinking that maybe she was meaning to interfere with it again. But then he noticed that she wasn't moving, and was merely standing next to the pile.
Riku: From what I loosely understand about the fish is that it isn't one-use, whereas the berry is. I feel like there wouldn't be any consequence of 'using' the fish...which I'd think just ooc wouldn't be counted for whatever rolls or whatever it is that it uses
Jun 3, 2020 14:14:30 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that piece of info Ren! <3 | But would it be allowed for the flavor of the rp if the berry wasn't filling enough for the Lotine?
Jun 1, 2020 6:09:21 GMT -6
Renathan: There is no need to double up on a fish and a magical berry (doesn't change the effect of the berry at all) in a lotine breeding.
Jun 1, 2020 6:02:21 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Does anyone know if it is possible to combine both a magical berry and a fish in a Lotine breeding? Or is you can only choose one of them? (right now writing a Lotine breeding)
Jun 1, 2020 5:36:49 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I am still interested in trading it for a green drake.
Jun 1, 2020 0:31:33 GMT -6
Ridelys: If you are still interested in a trade twilight, for your fidelity result, let me know.
May 31, 2020 22:49:49 GMT -6
Riku: I got three pet levels and 15c out of it. <3 And all the necessary posts for my job salary form.
May 31, 2020 18:49:26 GMT -6
Riku: In mine my crossbreed used foxfire to burn it - but then it used incendiary illusion, which was extra scary because my cross is a plant pet with thick fur. It used the distraction to escape. I’m proud of it, and it’s okay that I won’t finish this month.
May 31, 2020 18:48:42 GMT -6
Renathan: *But of course, the RNG was not having that. / In Morgan's story, the Nyssa was a real thing, so I wanted to have two different situations for the variety.
May 31, 2020 18:15:27 GMT -6
Renathan: Yeah, the 'finished the story but the RNGods are being a butt' thing is a rather unfortunate situation to be in. I had already decided that in Ren's story, the elderly woman had lied about the nyssa and just wanted someone to talk to*
May 31, 2020 18:14:49 GMT -6
Riku: That makes sense. I've considered that before. -nod- I hope your non-hxr life is going smoothly.
May 31, 2020 16:38:08 GMT -6
Haix: Just quitting the job. Don't believe I'll be making the ten posts required per month any time soon. XD
May 31, 2020 16:34:01 GMT -6
Riku: Note to haix, I believe you can post the new application form at the same time as the quitting form. Unless you are simply taking an overall break from the job system.
May 31, 2020 16:30:58 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: even AT the gardens yet. XD It sucks when you've finished writing your story and haven't gotten a success, because then its like "well... now what?" XD
May 31, 2020 15:51:47 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: ive found that when there's a quest that might take longer like this, its a good idea to try and space out the story beats to try and roll a success before i get to the meat of the story. XD Like, by the time i was 5 posts in my character wasn't
May 31, 2020 15:51:21 GMT -6