I should have known that something was up when TCM ran "The Rains Came" (1939) with Tyrone Power, Myrna Loy and George Brent (for it was, after all, George Brent Day). Little did I realize that we were fully in line for the thunderstorm that had skipped past us, north, south and east, since May.
It arrived just as we sat down to dinner (Sea Scallops on Oranges with Jalapeno Vinegar Dressing -- not bad, if I do say so myself). The skies opened up, the hail began and even the new gutters couldn't handle the deluge. Sheets of rain and hail blocked our view of Platte Canyon Road. Water went everywhere. It looked like a spring snow storm, with bits of green popping out amongst the white.
Even Sadie was shocked.
The tomatoes, honestly, fared pretty well, as they're bunched up enough to provide some shelter to each other. The crawlers, however, cucumbers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and acorn squash, all took it square to the chin.
I'm not going to pull anything for the next week or so as I have come to firmly believe that plants are hardy little bastards and will surprise you in how they cling to life. Yes, Ian Malcolm was right, "Life finds a way."
Out front, the flowers were nailed. The Koleas was shredded, that will have to go -- too bad, as it was one of the highlights of the front yard -- other than me watering the lilacs in my Ben Franklin Boxer Shorts.
The front flower pots got nailed as well. The three small ones in front are trashed, while the two at the end of the driveway look like a chopped salad. We were going to pull those anyway for a Fall planting of ornamental Kale. We had just about talked ourselves out of it when God stepped in with a storm of Biblical proportions and made us stick to the original plan.
"Thou Shall Plant Ornamental Kale! 16 Cubits by 18 Cubits … wait, no … that's something else. Two Pots Will DOOOOOooooo!!!!"
"Oh, for heaven's sake, would you put some pants on? On the sixth day, I created an Old Navy just down the street from The Garden of Eden. (Mumbles) …"give them everything and the dumb bastards don't know enough to put on trousers."
"HEY! DON'T EAT THAT FRUIT … (Mumbles) Me damn it. One damned rule … ONE!"
(That, my friends, is what is known in my brain as "A Reverie." Back to it:)
The lilacs did okay … just some minor shredding issues on the leaves. (I can hear the lilacs saying to me now, "oh, why didn't you stand out here last night … get a little minor shredding issue on those elephants ears of yours!"
Don't worry. We argue like this all the time. There's nothing to it.
You see? This is what I call minor shredding issues. The lilacs are calling for major surgery.
Furious George continues to drink. He says it's to make him forget. He also does it when he wants to remember. I'm beginning to wonder if there is a problem.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bitterman sat on the back porch last night staring at the remains of his hard work. He's not taking it well, but I assured him that it's not a total loss. The sweet potatoes are still viable and as for the cucumbers, well, we've already had a bumper crop and the neighbors won't take any more. If that's it for them, we can handle it.
He then bit me, which makes me think he's well on his way back to his old self.
One final note: The hail damaged our Vladimir Lenin water feature, knocking the spigot off. (It was pretty flimsy, I must say.) I ordered a new one online from AllThingsPutin.com. They had one in stock, but I've got to go to Washington, DC, to pick it up.
I guess they've got a warehouse there.
Somewhere, buried in the closet about four feet away, is a picture of my Grandmother Moody standing in front of tomato plants. They dwarf her. That always impressed me. She always seemed to me to be a giant of a woman, but could just be a kid's perspective. (Although I never thought that of my other Grandmother, who was basically 4 foot nothin' and whom I passed in height on like my 7th birthday or something. Naturally, I got the "grow" genes from her, so I'm 5'5" on a good day, and shrinking.)
Anyway, I wish I could find that picture, because that's what got me interested in gardening in the first place. She was, obviously, a great gardener. Then, my mother informed me that, no, it wasn't her, it was my grandfather, who grew such a great garden every year. He grew up on a farm. It was in his blood.
What he did with that background and talent was to grow tomato plants that made Grandma Moody look like an Oompa-Loompa.
I wanted to do that.
And this year, I did.
Here's me standing.
Here's me leaping. (I don't leap like I used to …)
And what did we get from all this growth? Yes -- two little tomatoes. Which I now figure cost us $123.50 apiece.
Still, I've gotta admit, I'm pretty happy with everything, as the tomato plants now dwarf me, a simple accomplishment, but, hey, and, we've got tons of flowers, so I'm expecting a good crop.
As for the cauliflower, they got away from us while we were on vacation and went from small heads to tall, flowering, really ugly looking plants in the course of 10 days. They are a wash, which was just fine with Mr. Bitterman as he hates cauliflower.
Furious George, on the other hand, hates broccoli, which he says is a Republican trait since President George H.W. Bush turned up his nose at it during his administration. Furious it seems, doesn't have a problem with potato -- or -- potatoe, as he thinks Dan Quayle was an idiot, Republican or not.
Oh, yes. Since this is titled "Farm Film Report," go see "Ant Man and the Wasp." Furious George gave it 4 Flung Poo's Out of 5. (You oughta see what he gives Fox News.)
In May, we got cooler temperatures and rain. Come June 1st, we got temperatures in the high 80's to mid-90's, and bone dry air, thus making the entire state of Colorado a tinder box.
Just to give you an idea of the fun, my water bill, May to June, shot up from $20 bucks to $144 bucks -- and that is with all the high priced water saving sensors the sprinkler guy talked me into buying two summers ago.
There remain dry patches and flopped over cauliflower everywhere.
I shouldn't say that about the cauliflower. They've been nothing but nice to me.
Some of the cauliflower are looking great. Others aren't forming solid heads as much as individual florets. I was wondering if this was common -- maybe the ones that break apart become chopped up into frozen cauliflower pieces by the Green Giant. All my reading has told me pretty much zilch about care and feeding. Just that they don't like hot weather. Too late! Get used to it, kids!
Here's the guy who keeps passing out mid-afternoon. Give him an additional drink and he perks right up. Notice how the florets are separating. Don't know how I'll ever be able to enter it into the Denver County Fair (also don't know how it would ever be able to win beside all the pot entries).
Peppers are doing well. The little Lunchbox Pepper plant, down center, is taking its own sweet time in getting started. I had to tell Furious George to stop yelling at him to grow. I think he's given it a complex of some sort.
Also doing well is the cucumber bush. We had a complete failure with it last year, but this year we're getting solid growth and the start of flowers.
The container sweet potatoes have also rooted well. I just hope we have enough room for them to grow. We got a great harvest of potatoes last year and they were absolutely delicious. ("What? You're going to eat us after it took us all summer long to grow?")
Mr. Bitterman has taken a great amount of pride in Nora, the lower garden, this season. Just about everything has really taken off. All the tomatoes this season (with the exception of the Sweet 100s) were grown from seed starting in February.
My wife, Becky, is just happy to have the kitchen table back for family dinners, even though the family now consists of her, me, one Proboscis Monkey and one Foul Tempered Chimpanzee.
("That better be chocolate pudding you're flinging, Mister!")
The beans, cucumbers and acorn squash plants are also doing well in Nora, as are the weeds. I don't know where the darned things come from, but we've certainly got 'em by the score. Mr. Bitterman is happy to work on weeding Nora, while Furious George bitches and moans like crazy when he pulls them from Nick (the upper garden). I don't know what he's complaining about -- Nick has about 1/10th the weed problem of Nora.
Still, I really can't complain. Both gardens are off to a great start this year.
And so is the butterfly garden. We fixed the watering problem we had -- adding a hose, a sectional sprayer and a timer. I wanted to put the Uncle Joe Stalin sprinkler in here, but I was voted down by Becky and a super-patriotic, bad-tempered chimp. I think the two are conspiring against me.
I just like it down here. It's great in the evening, after the heat of the day has passed, and the bunnies like to hide in here from Roscoe, who can't figure out where everybody went. It's a good situation.
The Elmer Fudd Sunflower Garden ("I'm hunting wabbits. Heh, heh, heh.") is also doing well, although a microburst the other night not only took out the power for about 4 hours, but the second bud, right next to the main plant. Sheared the top right off. This is one of the joys of Colorado gardening ... just when you think you're home free (We've passed hail season!) everything goes belly up.
I'm also very pleased with the herb containers. The chocolate mint has taken off, even though the peppermint is lagging behind, somewhat. I don't know if an animal got to it, or it just suffered transplant shock. It seems to be coming along now. The herbs, mainly parsley and basil, are doing great.
(The indoor basil in the AeroGarden was taking over the kitchen. When we cut it back over the weekend, we found one of the dogs it had snatched off the floor. She's fine, if shaken up a bit.)
The boys are once again in an argument. This time, I figure it's heat-induced. Also, Mr. Bitterman has begun to hang out with a pack of Howler Monkeys from Jefferson County who keep interrupting Furious George as he tries to binge watch "Killing Eve," his new favorite.
To get some privacy, Furious also wants to build a one man bomb shelter underneath Nick, the upper garden. After the President pissed off Canada, Germany, Japan and every other friend we ever had at the G-7, Furious figures he might need it if Trumpolini pisses off somebody who already has a grudge against us.
He likes this model shelter. He's just wondering if the suit is required.
One of the wonderful things about gardening in Colorado is the ever present threat of hail. Not just itty-bitty pea sized hail, or, itty-bitty hail sized peas, my favorite vegetable, but hail the size of regulation baseballs. Hail that takes out roofs and cars and recently planted, expensive seedlings that have been nutured better than the children ever were since February.
Now, this is not to make fun of hail. Hail is a dangerous, and potentially deadly, weather phenomenon. It can mess up a home, a head or a garden very quickly.
"Motherscratcher! And I just got the little bastard paid off!"
Read stories of Colorado back in the day and you'll find tales of horses trying to outrun hailstorms, trains stopped by piles of hail, homes, lives and livelihoods destroyed by the aerial ice cubes.
Naturally, the weather folks in the region have been threatening severe weather and heavy hail all day long -- first, because alerting people is a public service, and part of their jobs as meteorologists, but also because, talking about hail and lightning and four feet of snow tends to scare people into watching longer for the next little tidbit of information. (One guy here in Denver is a master of the "I'll have more in my NEXT segment ..." pitch, thus getting people to stick around LONG past their bedtime, which for me has come within hailing distance of my late afternoon nap and is reaching epic proportions.)
With all that in mind, as well as my paranoiac personal personality, I will be standing outside all day, sheet plastic in hand, ready to cover anything and everything as quickly as possible in the hopes of saving one of my easily $40 tomatoes. Yes, I know that they are informing me and playing me at the same time -- I've been in the TV news business, watching and listening to them, up close, for 43 years -- but I still buy into it each and every time, just cuz a few of them I trust ... with my gardens, my family and, occasionally, my life.
As for the boys, they both wanted hats to fend off possible hail attacks this afternoon. Mr. Bitterman chose the hat on the left, as it would take some serious hail damage before anything reached his noggin, while Furious George insisted on the hat on the right, as it was "stylin.'" He refused the fur stole as he already has his own.
I don't care what anybody tells you, nobody can truly predict the weather. Any more than 48 hours out and they have no idea. "We've got a good guess," but that's about it. Watch the three day. Pay attention to that. 7-10 and 15 day forecasts are about as reliable as Sarah Huckabee Sanders doing her Alfred E. Neuman impression.
Naturally, for two weeks, I watched the 3-7-10 and 15 day forecasts and convinced of the overnight lows, I jumped into planting. Put in the garden and voila! Sunday night, as I poured the last of the compost out of my shoes and into the carpet, the weather folks said that Friday night the temp is going down between 36 and 40, depending on who you listen to ...
It's not freezing, but it's close. I just hope I can hardy the kids up before their chilly sleep over.
Most accurate forecast my ass.
The gardens went in Sunday in two sections: first, came the home grown seedlings, 7 tomato plants, two bean plants, one acorn squash. (The beans and squash were amended by new seed plantings.) We've been building up the soil all winter with compost, all the various fertilizers that have been sitting in the garage, fish spray and prayer.
Now, we wait to see if any of it works. (I'm betting on compost and prayer.)
As you can see, King Kong eating gnomes has taken his place in a prominent corner of the lower garden (Nora), once again in an effort to keep vegetable predators at bay.
In an effort to keep the ravenous squirrel and bunny (Kneel! Kneel to your Rabbit Overlords!) populations from eating the seedlings, Furious went around pouring red pepper flakes on everything, followed by another jar of animal keep away he found in the garage and about two gallons of Liquid Fence. The Liquid Fence smells horrible and Furious got it all over himself, but I must admit he smells better now than usual.
The gardens smell like an Italian salad.
Mr. Bitterman planted sunflowers in a small plot we have up near the house. He covered them with the red pepper flakes and Liquid Fence, then wrapped a wholly inadequate fence around them which should hold the squirrels and bunnies out for about 3.5 seconds as they ask themselves, "What the hell?"
You'll notice the fleur de lis on the cobbled together fencing. This is in honor of a distant family relative, Marshal Phillipe Petain, the hero of Verdun in World War I who said, "They shall not pass." Sadly, he was still around and in charge in World War II when he looked at the German Panzers and said, "Yeah. For sure. Come on in ..."
I just hope these are not German bunnies we are trying to keep out.
We finished off the gardens with a quick trip to Walmart, buying cucumbers (3), peppers (8) and cauliflower (6). The cauliflower might be this year's zucchini, as I like it, but am not crazy about it, and, without looking, we bought a six pack of it. Bitterman thought it was one big plant. It was six little ones.
Looks like a lot of cruciferous vegetable dinners this August.
Mmmmmmm. (Followed by a concert by Le Petomane, flatulist extraordinaire.)
Whatever you do, don't pull his finger.
One of the three acorn squash plants (the rest are in seed form) and two of the cukes.
And, then, there's this guy -- we really have no idea who or what he is. It would serve me right if it was a zucchini as they took over the garden last year. We're waiting to see. No hints!
Furious is convinced that he can keep the squirrels and bunnies out of the sunflowers and gardens better than Marshal Petain. He still has the cap guns and the hat from a Disney photo shoot he did some years ago. He lost the scarf and I replaced it with a long chunk of paper towel. It has got a floral pattern on it and he's not happy at all.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bitterman took us to Walmart Sunday afternoon in his new car, a 1950 Chalyabinsk Krakozyabng. He got it for a song. A Russian song, but, as we all know, those have become very popular in Washington lately.
The thing drinks oil like a drunken sailor on liberty in Iraq and has a turning radius of about two miles, just slightly less than an Iowa-class battleship, but the radio's great and he loves it like it was his first car.
Which it is.
Best thing about it is that the front is the back and the back is the front. You climb in through a little hatch in the front which looks like the back, then, put it in Drive (Reverse) to go forward (backward).
Nobody ever knows if you're coming at them or going away. He caused a hell of stir Sunday on I-25.
Until next time, kids! (Tomatoes not shown to scale.)
The wind has been blowing like crazy today, just as the Weather Folks predicted with their Super Duper Doppler Look In Your Bedroom Radar. They actually did predict high winds today, which makes them 1-for-45 this month.
Last time we had winds like this was last May. I had just put out three new containers of ladybugs, one for each garden, and the wind blew them all into the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor's Yard next door.
By the time the wind died down, I just had Mortimer, who threatened to leave if I called him a ladybug. (Touchy masculinity issues, I'd wager.)
Furious George suggested we brand our ladybugs from now on for identification purposes. Problem is, he wanted to use HIS brand and the damned thing is about four inches high. Mortimer took one look at that and booked it for Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor Land. He obviously wanted to retain what touchy masculinity issues he had.
Mrs. Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor, who we were convinced was buried under that fresh concrete patch in their garage, stuck her head over the fence and crowed, "Oh, Mr. Bitterman! You wouldn't believe the ladybugs we have this year!" Bitterman was not amused. Nor was I as that was just about $30 dollars worth of ladybugs gamboling in her pansies.
The problem this year is not ladybugs -- yet -- but fresh topsoil in the gardens. It's flying into the neighbor's yard like nobody's business. I had just put down six bags of Cow and Compost (Richlawn -- again, not a plug for freebies, but a damned fine product that I could certainly use more of ...) and have watched it sail nowhere near gently over the neighbor's fence.
Also flying today is the fertilizer I put down yesterday. (Tractor seen is not to scale, as it is just a big Tonka I stole from a kid down the street, but, the fertilizer is true to scale as it covered me from head to toe as I tried to keep it in our yard, rather than let it jump the fence to freedom.)
By the way, did you know that there are images on the interweb of "German Girls in Manure?" No, really. It is amazing what modern technology can bring to us these days. My education is now complete and I can die happy. I found the site while I was looking for the above pictures. I only stopped for a minute. And only for the articles.
What President Trump was doing in a few of the pictures, I don't know. Maybe he was the Manure Magazine Interview of the Month. That guy is everywhere.
The newly rediscovered wife of the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor (whether actual or a "crisis actor" brought in to replace the one buried in the garage) leaned over the fence this afternoon to exclaim, "Oh, you wouldn't believe the top dressing the good Lord left us this year."
Yes, I would. I would. And I would also hope that the good Lord would blow $147.35 into MY yard to pay for his neighborly largesse.
As for us, all that's blown into our yard is the expansive sand box for the grandchildren four houses down, fourteen newspapers with the puzzles completed, and, a copy of "Girls of Manure Magazine" (really, it exists!) But, Becky said that she would take care of that nasty magazine and I shouldn't worry about it anymore.
I wasn't worried. I just had my "concerned husband face" on for protection. I was just wondering who in the neighborhood gets it.
The guy I needed to really predict this high winds stuff is Buck Matthews, who did the weather for WOOD-TV8 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for nigh onto 42 years. (I don't know how long he was there, but as 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything, I thought I'd just toss it in.)
Matthews, or Buck, as my mother called him, didn't use fancy-dancy electronics to tell you the weather, he drew on a glass board with a marker and made it look all the more real and impressive. It's easy when you've got a computer doing all your drawing for you. He did it by hand and he was right a lot more often than the guys we've got now -- especially that one locally I just can't stand.
(Go ahead ... try to figure out who I'm talking about ...)
And, believe me, the computers get confusing. All these computerized wind gusts suddenly resemble little spermatazoas heading toward some mystical Ovum of Denver. (In Milwaukee, that's pronounced Spermatosa and it refers to a small suburb on the west side of town.) I think its a shameless attempt on the part of the liberal media to induce viewers to stay up past the latest news of the Great Orange Circus Peanut and watch the weather.
Buck didn't need that nonsense. All he ever had to say was, "It's going to snow tomorrow, friends," because it was West Michigan and that's all it ever did there.
Until next time, kiddies! (When we might actually have some gardening to talk about ...)
It has been a weird couple of weeks here on the Moody Weenie Ranch and Collective Farm. We've been dealing with daytime highs between 45 and 80, along with nighttime lows from 23-38. I keep feeling myself drawn outside the door with trays of seedlings (the ones filling the kitchen table) and packets of seeds in the hopes of getting stuff started outside for Colorado's 10-minute growing season.
Inside, the trays of seedlings are going to town ... the seven tomato plants up front are doing great, as is the sunflower in the background and two of the three beans.
As for the plant in the lower right -- I THINK it's an acorn squash, but I'm not sure anymore. As long as it isn't a zucchini, I'll be happy with it.
Meanwhile, the AeroGarden (the hydroponic planter) is doing its best impression of "Feed Me Seymour." (We haven't seen the cat in three days and we're beginning to worry) I keep inviting my annoying neighbor to come inside and stand next to the garden while I run upstairs for something I want to show him, but he just won't bite. Strangely enough, neither will the Giant Basil. (We have two Giant Basils, one named Basil, the other named Rathbone.) So, the annoying neighbor gets away. Still haven't seen the cat.
After our adventures with the rototiller a few days ago, the boys and I have decided to add yet another round of Cow and Compost to the gardens. This product, from Richlawn in Colorado is marvelous. It's almost a miracle worker when it comes to building soil.
(No, this is not a shameless plug for freebies. I feel ashamed you could even think that ... and I highly doubt that Richlawn will see these photos unless one of you sends them to the company.)
Furious George, who, I gathered, failed basic biology, stored two bags of Cow and Compost in the manner seen below, all in the hopes of coming out to find numerous little bags of Cow and Compost that we could use in the flower beds. It doesn't work that way. I think they've got to be face to face.
Our daughter Brynn found a new plaster geegaw for the garden, to go with the Dragon Burning Gnomes and King Kong Eating Gnomes and our Coffee Drinking Frog and numerous spinners which the squirrels pull down, dismantle and sell for parts next to the road.
I do like the Lion, but I'd rather have Brynn sitting in the garden. There's little chance the squirrels would pull her down, dismantle her and sell her for parts next to the road. (Then, again, I wouldn't put it past the little bastards.)
Mr. Bitterman is working on a new self-portrait as he waits for planting and growing season to officially begin. He says he was inspired by Vinnie "Big Tuna" Van Gogh, a painter, I take it, from South Philly.
Furious George and I are convinced he's doing an impression of Kellyanne Conway and we think it is in questionable taste.
Meanwhile, Furious has once again pulled out the rototiller, which is like some kind of soil-churning go-kart to him. He fired it up and tore off across the yard, completely out of control. He went through a fence into the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor's Yard, just missing his shed and outbuildings (all still standing, as you can see below), then assuaged the BSCN's rage (he lost a patch of early season pansies) by claiming he was just digging the trench to create a small scale version of the Erie Canal to help celebrate the greatness of America.
The Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor wiped a patriotic tear from his eye, took another shot of his third martini, and put his arm around Furious as if he had rediscovered his long lost, somewhat hairy, son and they retired to the porch for cocktail hour.
In the photo below, notice that guy down right? That's my $420 limited edition Batman maquette (until about 20 minutes ago, still in the box) repainted and with a new hat to pose as an Erie Canal worker (NOT limited edition, NOT still in the box).
You gotta love Furious George. You gotta love him cuz you can't cut him up in little pieces and mail him to Miami.
Where, oh, where, do I get such horrible thoughts? It is as if I was influenced in my childhood by something. But what?'
Can't imagine what ...
(Oh, I'm just hand tilling the soil here. That's all. It's got to be in little tiny pieces to help the plants grow ... heh heh heh. See you next time, kiddies!)
Two beautiful days in a row (sorry, New England), taxes done, house holding together for the moment, I figured it was time to work the peat moss into the gardens and then hope for some rain to set the growing season in motion.
To do so, I went out and got some Compost (Year Old Manure recommended by my gardening advisor, Roseann) from my Three Year Old Sheet Metal Cow, Bessie. How she comes through with that year-old manure for me (Bessie, not ... never mind), each and every year, I'll never know. I also ran out and bought a Young Pioneer Collective Farm Rototiller, all in the hopes of making the work go a little easier.
Nick, with his hoops pulled, as I pull out a sharp utility knife to cut open the peat moss.
Nora, the lower garden, as I prepare to slice open the peat moss and spread it around.
Next, after ruining two towels in an attempt to staunch the bleeding, I wrap my hand in gauze, cover that with a large tube of Toluene flavored airplane glue I just had sitting around the garage for no particular reason, dance around the yard in pain, then, before the glue hardens, attach the handle of the rake to it, whereupon I can spread the peat moss, as well as a goodly chunk of my thumb, into the little corners of the garden, the one above being Nora.
Once again, I do the same with Nick, before passing out from loss of blood. I awaken an hour later while being mistaken for a fire hydrant by my two loving Boston Terriers. I would have preferred them to lick me awake, but, whatever. I did have to get back to work.
Now, it's time for the rototiller to get to work. It should be interesting, never having used one, but let's live and learn, shall we? I fire it up, the massive 43 cc, 2-cycle engine roaring to life (with a sound vaguely reminiscent of one of those Honda motorbikes from the sixties), and hit the throttle, engaging the tines and shooting the machine off across the yard toward the dogs who tried to wake me out of my coma moments before by sprinkling my head with holy water.
Oh, man. I'm still not right. I've gotta sit down.
The dogs get away. (Only to later get in a fight with a skunk.)
It takes some wrestling to get the rototiller where you want it to go, when you want it to go, but after a few moments of trial and error, as well as one completely unexpected attack on the statue of Buddha in the corner of Nora, the tiller did its job, almost digging down to China, at one point. You learn quickly that If You Don't Push It, It Don't Go, Thus Digging Holes Through The Center of the Earth, where you will find heat, pressure and Brendan Fraser's movie career. (I should talk. Freelance this week has consisted of emceeing one bar mitzvah and two birthday/block parties. "Hi, kids! Yes, I used to be on TV -- wanna talk about the symbolism in 'Citizen Kane'?")
The soil is now loose and ground up to about eight inches down. I'll do all this again when we get some moisture around here (likely, next St. Swithin's Day) and it all gets worked together a bit. But, I must admit, I am happy -- I got to work in the sunshine for about 90 minutes today, perfecting a comedy routine the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor says I should take on the road.
I would have continued on to the Butterfly Garden in the SE corner of the yard, but two rows in an I picked up a buried, abandoned paving stone left 24 years ago by the former owners. It stopped the tines real quick and didn't help any of the mechanics. I shut it down, turned it off, removed the stone and decided it was time for a break of the rest of the day variety.
I seem to be picking up the work ethic of both Bitterman and Furious George.
Meanwhile, a neighborhood cat found my thumb later in the dirt of Nora. Furious George luckily snatched it away, thinking it was a Crunchy Cheeto. I got it back from him after a mere two gnaws and have reattached it with Gorilla Glue.
Man, that stuff will hold anything.
(As for the skunk -- Roscoe has now endured two baths and one scrub down with a chemical that promises, PROMISES, to neutralize the scent. Sadie didn't get hit. She stayed back and kept shouting, "Got your back, bro!" in that Boston lilt of hers. Checked him carefully, can't see any marks or wounds. I think the spraying got him before they could tussle. Would anyone like my afternoon? Or my Buck O'Neil baseball jersey that caught it full on?)
Just a quick note before I run outside and fire up the ol' rototiller (we've got two nice days in a row so I'm planning to work some peat moss and fertilizer down into the soil), but I may have found a book for you to enjoy while waiting for the official start of the 2018 growing season.
Katherine Sergeant White was the fiction editor of The New Yorker for years and the wife of author E.B. White. She was quite the gardener at their home in Maine, and wrote 14 gardening essays over the years for The New Yorker. After her death in 1977, her husband collected the essays into this book.
They are simply wonderful.
From the joy of digging through seed catalogs to the peace of a properly tended garden, Katherine White touches the heart, mind and dirty fingertips of the obsessed amateur. She's been in all the same places as us, from success to failure to oh, my God, what is that growing among the azaleas, so she seems quite the kindred soul.
Just one who can write fluidly and beautifully about nearly everything.
The book is $17.95 from NYRB Classics. I'm sure you can find it for less on Amazon, but finding it through a local bookseller is always a pleasure and helps the local economy.
Also, I suggest a real live paper book, so you can read it just before bedtime and fill your head with rutabaga dreams.
Wherein we discuss how putting Cats, Golf and Nazis on the cover will in fact sell just about anything. (In this case, humorous essays.)
One of the joys of spending the money intended for your hernia operation on growing vegetables and herbs is watching in excitement as those first few shoots and leaves pop out of the ground and toward the electrified LED sunlight just above.
This is an exciting time, especially on our first time out with the Young Pioneer Collective Farm Kit, from MiracleGro (known in this country as the AeroGarden), which comes complete with a non-functioning Soviet tractor and angry peasant farmers.
The angry peasant farmers (not historically accurate) come with a pre-recorded track which demands better hours, wages and benefits before the Secret Police arrive to carry off the ring-leaders to the gulag. It's quite the absorbing political drama, even as it is set in farm country.
Still, I remain all the more fascinated by the growth we're already getting and can hardly wait to take over the kitchen and start planting all the outdoor crops.
Maybe this year I can plant rutabagas and sell them by balloon come August/September. I don't know where I got the idea, but it is a good one.