It’s been a busy two weeks and I really don’t know where the time went—maybe some aliens came and sucked it up in a big time machine and took it back to their planet to study it or something. Maybe they will release it as a movie and play it back in slow motion—all in the name of anthropology or inter-planetary relations.
Really, it’s been a full two weeks since I took a day off work and planted 16 rows of corn and 10 rows of beans the hard way. What I mean by the hard way is now the only way to plant corn around my house. I till the ground a couple of times and rake out a lot of the weed stuff and then hammer stakes every two feet or so and then tie string between each stake and across the garden itself. Then I rake a final time—lime and fertilize only the ground underneath the string and then with a v-pointed hoe, create the little furrows that I will then drop seed into. Total running time of that endevour—four hours and then some. I hope the aliens get a kick out of seeing me tie all those strings.
The reason I put the string across the garden—other than the fact of getting straight rows—is that the crows will not eat my corn before it has a chance to get big enough to survive. Two years ago, I planted lots of corn and then waited for it to come up. Every couple of mornings I would walk out into the garden and look and find no little corn plants popping up. It was very dry and I just thought I needed to water the garden to get the seeds to germinate. When the beans started to show I began to worry a little but it wasn’t until I walked out into the garden early one morning and saw a crow family having breakfast on my little plants that I knew what had happened.
So, after all that work that year, I didn’t get any corn and asked around as to what I might do to avoid being the crows restaurant. A friend of mine—a local builder and long time gardener—told me that the only way was to put strings across your rows because the crows would not go under anything the get something to eat. And so far it seems to have worked—last year we had lots of corn and I am hoping the same for this year.
I like corn a lot but I really plant it for my wife who can make a meal out of the stuff. Eating five or six ears at a meal is not unheard of—it is especially nice when you can have tomatoes at the same meal—all from the garden.
Last year we had a couple of corn parties where I picked a wheelbarrow full and we invited people to shuck it and then boiled it for a minute or two and then went to town with the pepper and butter. Most people looked sheepish after an ear or two but would keep eating with just a little prodding from us—it’s not like they had ever been to an all-you-can-eat fresh garden corn restaurant before.
Gardens are fun but a lot of work. Two evenings ago Sandi was out of town visiting a friend and I thought I would do a little weeding before dinner. When the weeds are taller than the plants they surround, you know you’ve got a problem. Somewhere in this one patch was the carrots I had planted several weeks ago and I was determined to give them a really good chance at maturing into something we could eat in a couple of months. It had rained the day before and the ground was a little softer but I still almost sprained my wrists pulling all the weeds out of that little patch of garden. I ddin’t get them all as the weeds really close to the carrots are going to take a little extra finesse to get them out without destroying the carrots they surround but I think I am up to the task.
My tomatoes are doing alright but are still hidden and so today I might have to go out and do a little cleaning up around them. Tomatoes don’t like neighbors and mine have a subdivision around them so I will have to take some action along those lines in order to get a harvest out of them vines.
I don’t know what it is about growing a garden that is so hard to keep up, but every year I am faced with some of the same weeding tasks brought about mostly by my delays. Life gets busy and before you know it—weeding time has come and gone and you wake up on the other side of it not having taken the time t do it and therefore the processs is just a little worse than it would have been had you tackled the weeds a few days earlier. Sometimes it is dry and the weeds are under control and it really isn’t good to pull them out of dry ground as you will do more damage to the plants around them. Then it rains for a couple of days and you aren’t out weeding during that time and then the next time you look those darn weeds are everywhere. It is a lot like life I guess. You don’t want to live your life out of an appointment book but the floating down the stream in a canoe method has its’ downside.
Like I said before, it’s been a busy couple of weeks and it will take a little while to catch back up. I just finished reading a great book entitled “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller. In it he talks a lot about his journey from being a person with religion to one with an authentic spirituality. It is quite an unusual book in its “realness” and I would highly recomend it to any who want to let their thinking about life and God be stirred up a bit.
As I write I am begining to think that I was reading when I should have been weeding. But sometimes, a man just needs a little time with a good book in order to take the next few steps into his life—at least with me that’s how it has always been. I need a little fuel for the fire and if it comes my way via a good book—I will take that as well even though that is all you think about until you finish it.
I have also been reading a little Anne Carson poetry in between and another book called “Velvet Elvis” which I have just begun.
The forecast in my world for today is for full sun, a breakfast with some family and maybe a bike ride for later before heading out to afternoon church. My advice is that if you find a good book, take time to read it but don’t forget the weeds—they are always going to be there but are harder to get rid of when they get real big.
Enjoy your ride and let someone know you appreciate them today.
PS: For those of you who read this before I cleaned up the typos—sorry!