There’s a time when I think cursing is permissible, indeed, warranted. For example, when your hours of work are on a day that promises sunshine, gentle breezes and that perfect spring combination of cool and warm. And here’s where you can really sound off – when you read that by the time you get to your days off on the weekend, the sun will disappear, the rains will come and the deep chill will set in. I mean, really?
After work, Ed and I meet at Paul’s and that's fine, quite nice in fact, but I am depleted. You could say that the high point of the work day had been bringing coffee cakes from Florida to one of my classes. (Each of my classes has had a treat moment – this was the day to honor the morning bunch.)
It's early evening. I tell Ed we should be going home and putting in the last of the blueberries. The rains are coming. We want everything to have a home by the time the soil turns to clayish mud.
We make our way home.
Huh? What’s that?
We see the Dan truck (Dan is our guy with the heavy machinery that will transform every deranged acre of weeds into usable land), and the telltale white van belonging to Lee (she’s the truck farmer working the fields across the road), right there at the farmette.
Dan has plowed the field out back and now he’s rototilling it. Lee is standing, hands on hips, keeping an eye on things.
We have a resolution! It's done now. For better, for worse, we've embarked on this farming project and now we have tilled land and an orchard sprouting buds and it all feels very right, very fitting.
Dan’s an affable guy and if you hire him to do your tilling (and you should, he’ll haul that piece of machinery over land that I swear looks like no good thing could ever grown there and make it look suddenly farmable)...
...you’ll hear a few jokes, a story (or two), and you may get a grandchild (or two) accompanying him and it all makes you feel deeply satisfied – as if you’ve finally figured out where those missing puzzle pieces are and now you’re on a good track, doing something that adds value – perhaps not to your land, but surely to humankind. Last I heard, there’ll be an acre of cucumbers growing there for Wisconsin farmers' markets. Or was it beans? Or strawberries? It’s in Lee’s hands now. We stay out of this part of farming.
But we don’t stay out of our own plots and plans. We put in two more blueberries this evening and we'll transplant three others to our newly forming blueberry patch. Ed’s bringing in something to mix into the soil – to make it more blueberry friendly, as it were.
Where did you get that? – I ask.
Oh, well, you know.
Ed, how old is that bag of..whatever?
Sulfur. It's agricultural sulfur. Maybe ten twelve years...
You think it’s still potent?
Look at it!
That tells me nothing at all.
That tells me nothing at all.
You know we should have improved the soil months, many months before putting these blueberries in...
Would that have changed our planting habits?
Maybe you shouldn't admit on your blog that we planted blueberries. My meter tells me we're still at pH 7 (an unacceptable level for blueberries).
I’m smiling at this exchange. So Ed. So me.
Night time. I make soup. Vegetables. Onion, garlic, cabbage. Mushrooms, carrots, parsnips. Frozen tomatoes from last year’s garden. Frozen corn from last year’s market.
It’s as if I can’t even remember how horribly tired I am from 48 hours of tough work demands.