Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Week later in the Garden

The time to hoe and weed is before it looks like it's needed. I spent a morning in the garden, doing a preemptive strike -- rain is in the forecast and things can get out of hand more quickly than you could imagine.

Up above the rock wall I've sown California poppies -- a gift from my friend Josie.  They were tiny gray-green threads the first time I weeded but now they've made some size and I'm looking forward to flowers  in the month to come. f nothing don't happen, as they say.

There's lettuce and spinach and chard and kale in the box beds -- now that they're weeded, they need to be thinned and spread around.  

 In the lower tiers, corn in sprouting through the netting the protects the sprouting kernels from the crows.

And the tomatoes are taking hold and starting to grow.  

The collards and kale, broccoli and cauliflower are under cover -- protecting them from  bugs. These greens are amazingly tender -- we've been enjoying them stir fried and raw in salads.

I've been picking the asparagus almost every day --  with June almost here, it'll soon be time to leave it alone and let it grow. 

Eggplant (below) as yet untouched by the usually inevitable flea beetles -- perhaps the colder than usual winter is responsible.

So far, so good -- that's the most one dares say about a garden. The deer and bunnies, worms and bugs, crows and groundhogs and voles are lurking -- not to mention all the blights and mildews,  molds and viruses just waiting to attack.  An exercise of faith, if ever there was one.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Let Us Now Praise Men and Machinery

 More fun on the farm -- a few days ago our little Kubota utility vehicle was parked at our basement door  while the driver unloaded some odds and ends. Alas, the emergency brake was not fully engaged and the vehicle began to roll back down the road, and off the road, down a slope and over the edge  to end up lodged against a rock in the branch.

The banks are steep and slick and there are no trees handy to attach a come along so we did what we done before, when we've found ourselves in this sort of pickle --  called on Allen's Wrecker Service. They've been pulling our vehicles (and our friends' and neighbor's vehicles) out of ditches and creeks for almost forty years. Howard Allen was a sort of genius at this work and now that Howard's gone, his son Charles runs the business.

It took Justin on our tractor to pull the wrecker across a few slick spots in our front yard but 

 once the wrecker got in place, it was just a matter of hooking the cable to the front of the Kubota . . .

                                                                    And slow and sure, up it came.

 Once it was out of the creek and on the bank, the fella in the orange shirt got behind the wheel and the Kubota started. "I believe it'll come up on its own," he said. 

  . . . and it did, with just a little help from the wrecker to get over the edge and back onto the road.
 We were elated -- having been prepared to find out that this very useful  piece of farm equipment  was totalled. But aside from some dents and two slightly twisted wheels that will have to be replaced, the damage was minimal. That's one tough little machine -- and the dump bed still works. 

Everyone who lives in the country -- especially  in the mountains -- needs to know a good wrecker guy. We've been fortunate to know the best. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Other Side of the Mountain

Yesterday Liz came and took me to see the house she and her husband are building on the other side of our mountain. Their view is to the west and they'll see the sunsets we miss.

They've been careful not to cut too many trees and their house is surrounded by some beautiful woods but they still have some sunny areas for gardens.

It's been almost forty years since we built our house but I remember the excitement of the raw space and the very great pleasure of imagining the completed structure and the (eventual) landscaping.  
I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product on the other side of the mountain and to sharing some of my daylilies, iris and other plants, just as my neighbors shared with me all that time ago. . .

And suddenly I realize -- I'm now older than the 'old lady' down the road who gave me many of those plants. 

Aye, law!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

It's not just about cookouts with flag-themed paper plates or pulling out the summer white shoes or opening day at the swimming pool or car races or special Memorial Day sales.  Here in the U.S. Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, is meant to honor those members of the Armed Forces who died while in military service.

Looking at the list of the many wars and lesser actions the U.S. military has fought in is sobering-- from the approximate 25,000 deaths during the Revolutionary War to the truly horrifying 750,000 some casualties on both sides of the Civil War (still our costliest in terms of lives lost) to the 116,516 of World War I and the 405, 399 of World War II, to the comparatively lower numbers of the Korean 'Conflict' - 36,516, Vietnam -58,209, Iraq- 4,488, and Afghanistan -- 'only' 2,229.

Some signed up to fight for what they believed to be the right thing; some were conscripted and unwilling; some signed up because a judge gave them the choice of enlisting or going to jail; some came from families with a long tradition of service -. so many reasons and often so complicated, but we honor those who died. Some died heroes, in full knowledge of what they were doing; some died before they ever got out of training. 

All those lives -- each one a miracle and a little universe of potential, snuffed out. We honor them all -- while wondering why this has to be.