"You Should Not Drink Und Plant" -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Raw Deal" (1986)
When we last left the Gardens of Moody, this was the situation: Nick, the upper garden, needed work on both ends as the dirt was pushing the railroad ties outward; Nora, the lower garden, was fine; and, Asta, the new small garden, had been basically framed and needed to be finished and filled.
Initially, I had put in just enough bags to hold the weed fabric down while we went through THE MOTHER OF ALL WINTER STORMS, A BOMBOGENESIS, FOR GOD'S SAKE! HUG YOUR CHILDREN AND TELL THEM GOODBYE! It was cold and snowy and windy and nasty for a few hours on Wednesday (March 13), but was already starting to melt by the afternoon of the 14th.
So, with MOST of the snow finally gone, I trooped out and hauled 15 2-cubic foot bags of garden soil into the frame, then, finished the framing with L-braces and screws.
(To be honest with you, every three or four bags I moved, I stopped, took a break and had a tot of rum with George and Mr. Bitterman. By the time the last bag was inside the frame, we really didn't care where they fell or how they looked. Whatever thoughtful plan we had devised early on fell by the wayside as the merriment increased.)
After a number of tots of a 1952 rum, we got out a knife and started slicing open the bags to spread the goodness. It went well until George determined he needed a "squirrel skin hat" just like his hero, Davy Crewcut. That caused about a half hour delay as we had to keep George from making a hat out of the neighbor's King Charles Spaniel.
One of the hopes this year was being able to retrieve viable seeds from these dried Oaxacan peppers. If everything germinates we should have a great batch of both Hatch and Oaxacan peppers.
The problem with the Oaxacan seeds is that the peppers themselves were run through a commercial dehydrator and no one is quite sure if those seeds survived.
Convinced that "Life Will Find a Way," I dug out seeds from both Oaxacan types, misted a sheet of paper towel and put them in plastic bags. This may jump start a few of the seeds if any survived the dehydrator. As a back up plan, I have four packs of seeds coming from one of my numerous seed suppliers.
I just have to wonder if I've simply found another way to waste VAST amounts of time in my life.
The seedlings are starting to grow and we've got no place to eat dinner.
Indoors, we have all sorts of seedlings taking over the kitchen table: nearest the camera are the tomatoes. One Hatch chile has popped (a Medium -- there's also a row of Mild planted), while we also have sunflowers, cucumbers and pumpkins coming along very well. (One of the Hatch Mild chile seeds had germinated and worked its way to the top of the seedling chute. I re-dug the hole and dropped it back in to work its full magic.)
Oddly enough, given my oddly enough life, this has never happened before: after moving all the dirt and setting the railroad ties and slicing open the dirt and spreading it through the new garden, I realized that I had put my gloves on wrong, pushing my middle finger into the same socket as my index. I didn't notice it for about two hours, which shows you the amazing focus YOU TOO can have if you drink A LOT in your 20s-30s and bang your head innumerable times on solid objects (concrete beams, hatchways, 2x4s, cupboard doors, asphalt highways, ad infinitum, ad nauseum) as you travel around the sun.
Becky and Roscoe want nothing to do with us if we continue in our practice of "Drunken Gardening."
By the way, got new overalls this week …
Truth be told, they look better on Buddy Lee.
As is normal for Colorado, we had a few days of beautiful weather this week that led into SnowMaGeddon, the Bombogenesis, Bomb Cyclone, whatever you want to call it. Snow fell. Wind blew. Reporters got great live shots. Airport closed along with schools. Suffice to say, it got dangerous out there. And then … it all went away. Colorado. 33 years and I still don't get it.
BUT -- BEFORE THAT:
Got the 1/2 railroad ties delivered along with 20 bags of 2 cubic foot Garden Soil. Anchored those together in a way I think will hold better than my original design. At least, I hope so. Laid the fabric and tossed in some bags of soil to hold everything down in the storm.
The new garden also has a birdhouse embedded in a dead stump I was too lazy to dig out. We're going to add 2-3 more birdhouses around the yard/house just to add some color to our lives. Don't necessarily want to put them too close to the gardens because in the past the little birdie bastards have gorged themselves on the tomatoes.
Said bird house. It's built into the stump that Fred and Ethel built their nest in last year before being driven off by dogs and squirrels, so we do have some birdie history there.
This was Thursday AM, 24 hours after the Bombogenesis began. Now, it's about 35 degrees and sunny. The ice is melting, the roads are drying and people are poking their heads outdoors like the Munchkins seeing Dorothy for the first time and taking tentative steps into their yards. As soon as the snow is gone from the scene, Mr. Bitterman and I will spread the new soil around, determine how much more we need and start plotting where the seedlings will wind up. Furious George will join us as soon as he returns from The Never Ending Cocktail Hour with the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbors.
The new garden will be named Asta, after the dog in The Thin Man movies. It goes along nicely with Nick and Nora, even though Nora, in this case, is named after my friend and longtime Cribbage Nemesis Nora Horan, who was also quite the gardener. (Truth be told, I can easily see Nora Horan talking back to Bill Powell and slugging down a martini as the two chase down criminals.)
Asta, whose real name was Skippy, also played George, stealer of the Inter Costal Clavicle in Bringing Up Baby. He also had a number of other roles in movies. After a while, the dog's name was simply changed to Asta.
Asta retired in 1941. I'm not sure what happened after that, or where he's buried, but his owners, actress Gale Henry and MGM prop man Henry East kept raising and training dogs for a number of years afterwards.
Happily, Asta didn't suffer the fate of Toto (Terry) the Cairn Terrier of The Wizard of Oz, trained by Carl Spitz, who had a long and successful career, passed to the great beyond, was buried on Spitz's property in Studio City, then had a stretch of the Ventura Freeway built over her grave.
I'm thinking that Asta, which is only half the size of the other gardens, will be given over to both Oaxacan and Hatch chiles, all grown from seed. The Oaxacan seeds have been a pain to get, but they are now on their way, passing imaginary money from my bank account on its way to the sellers.
Mr. Bitterman loves the idea, while Furious George thinks we should plant Vienna Sausages and Martini Olives.
When Furious comes home from drinking with the neighbors, he's no damned good for the rest of the day.
I had just sent off $400 that I didn't have to cover a Home Depot bill from last month. In honor of that momentous occasion, I returned to my local HD and spent $500 on stuff for this season's garden efforts.
This is the inexpensive part of it all.
I also ordered, for delivery, 8 4x6x8 redwood railroad ties with which I'll build the new garden (Another new one? Merciful heavens, why? You'll never be able to sell that place!) Plus -- 20 bags of 2cf Miracle Gro Garden soil for the base of the new one. I'll fill it out with top soil from Santa Fe Sand and Gravel and bags of Cow and Compost from O'Tooles.
This sort of thing does tend to get expensive.
The new garden will be half the size of Nick and Nora. They're 16x7.5x1.
Asta -- the new garden's name -- will be 8x7.5x1. All the numbers are approximate because while I was supposed to be learning basic math, I was reading back issues of "The Haunted Tank." I figured because I was going to wind up as a "tub man" at Michigan Brand Small Curd Creamed Cottage Cheese (the only job my mother was convinced I'd ever be able to pull off), I'd never really need to know how to measure the circumference of my backyard or the volume of dirt necessary to fill a new garden. (The current administration points to me as an example of the "kind of people" who have populated The Mainstream Media for the past 40 years.)
"He coulda been a 'tub man.' Sad."
The lower corner of Asta will go around that stump -- which will later hold a high post for a bird house or garden gee-gaw of some sort.
(Above) Man, I wish I still had that issue!
(Below) You know, Michigan Dairy woulda been a righteous and rollicking career! (But, then, I never woulda met Kathy Walsh at CBS4 -- unless, of course, I wound up in the hospital with some odd disease, like Creamery Nose, and she came over all the way from Colorado to do a story.)
That's the layout of the gardens below, drawn by Furious George, along with the path of the hoses for the water features. Because the small one is Asta, and Asta is a dog, I thought I might add a toy fire hydrant into it, though the effort to keep Roscoe and Sadie, as well as Furious George and Mr. Bitterman from using it on a regular basis, might be outrageously time consuming.
At the moment, Asta will be given over to beans and peppers, from Hatch Chiles and Anaheims to Poblanos and whatever Oaxacan varieties that we can find. Nick will have the pumpkins, squash and cucumbers, while Nora will have tomatoes and Lord knows what else. (Mr. Bitterman says he has some ideas, but they usually run along the lines of banana trees and rutabagas.)
Also purchased today, a self watering incubator from Burpee that should start everybody off on the right foot. All 72 of the little devils. What kind of little devils, I'm not sure as Becky put the seed packets in one of her famous and patented "safe places."
As for the boys, they've spent the winter in the basement, catching up on all their favorites, from "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" to "Game of Thrones," "Killing Eve" and Bitterman's Favorite, "Sister Toluca Explains Hormones." (Furious George's favorite show appears to be something he calls "The Yelling Guys" on Fox. It's fine as long as he doesn't start to throw his poo at the screen.)