Matfield Green - Our first years

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Garden musing

Morning in the garden.

Me spreading straw that I transported from a huge moldering pile behind Emily's house. Mulching tomoatoes and strawberries. Setting out cages to support tomatoes and peppers. I'd learned, in Chicago, that straw is hard to come by in the spring. You need to collect it in the fall when there is plenty. I did not have enough forethought to set aside straw for this year. So better moldy than nothing, I hope.

Pat building the basement walls. Soon there will be a basement ceiling - aka first floor joists. Then it is onward and upward.

Bill murdering poison ivy hither and yon. Our one exception to the "no herbicide" rule. We are Rounding Up that ivy wherever we see it. Bill is terribly allergic. I have yet to be bitten and hope I never am.

So, garden musings.

Thinking that I will make it a habit to say hello to at least one neighbor every day. And maybe I'll have to say that Tom Armstrong doesn't count. Because he makes it too easy. Stopped by this morning to ask if we needed anything from the Twin Cities (Cottonwood Falls and Strong City, 15 miles to the north, total population about 1200, one grocery store, a liquor store, a couple of gas stations and a few other business establishments). We are getting used to saying yes if someone asks. It's a charm and a necessity of living out in the middle of nowhere, that when someone goes "somewhere" they stop and ask if you need anything.

Ran into Isobel Gray when I went to get the straw at Emily's. Isobel is about 55 or 60. Lives alone about 5 miles out of town. I've not yet been invited to her house but I'd like to be. I hear it's simple. She grows much of her own food and wakes at 4am all summer long - no trouble since she is an insomniac - to go fishing in the farm ponds. The fish get frozen and become a winter staple. She's told me canning stories that make it clear that I'd have much to learn as her apprentice. Isobel and I share a philosophy of why bother planting it if you can't eat it.

Luckily there are people in the world like Emily (and Bill) who do not share our philosophy. Thus, Isobel and I get to enjoy perky flowerbeds and the shade of lovely, strong burr oak trees.

I've been watching for signs of sprouting corn and potatoes. Corn can sprout from seed in as little as a day, but that must be in warmer weather. Mine is at least 5 or 6 days in the ground and still no sign of it.

Sometimes it seems as if you actually can watch potato plants grow. Two of the ten or so rows I planted 2 weeks ago have sprouted and seem to be doublingin size every day. But no sign of anything in the other 8 rows, and in those cases it's like watching water boil. I keep thinking I'm going to go down to the garden and see a bubble in the earth with a dark green potato leaf pushing its way through. I look and look again, but in 8 out of 10 rows, so far, there's nothing.


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