Saturday, May 11, 2013

against the cold

A blustery day. The kind you associate with the month of March. Then you'd say -- oh, this isn't so bad for March. Now, you just want to stay indoors until the Arctic air that's causing this has moved on.

Breakfast in the front room.

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We tick off all that we want to accomplish outside, though neither of us is in a hurry to get started. In fact, I turn my back on the yard and go to yoga.

On the way to the practice, I pass farmer Lee's fields. I note that her strawberries are doing well. But why the straw around the plants? To ward of the cold? The chipmunks? The birds?

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Most of the strawberries we planted at the farmette, by contrast, are such tiny things! They're just now throwing out a first leaf or two. One of the sets we planted was completely dead and Ed makes the trip to get a refund (of course he does), only to come back with extras. So now we have a dozen bad plants to dig up and replace and a dozen extra ones to find a home for.

But that's not the main focus of the day. After yoga, the skies clear and even though the air is brisk, it's warm enough to take out the shovel and get to work. Now that the bulk perennials have arrived (bare root hostas, astilbes, irises, daylilies -- a dozen of this, a dozen of that...) I am eager to finish up the little bed to the side of the brick path.

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I have spent almost as much time on redoing this bed as I have on creating the new one leading to the sheep shed. Established flowers that really did not belong in a shady spot had to be moved out. weeds, old fabric and awful soil had to be removed. New plantings brought in. A huge effort, but one that pleases me no end because it finally will make use of flowers and plants that belong exactly in this kind of environment.

You can't spot any of my work. Planting bare root flowers means you cover them with dirt and then you wait, patiently, until the first bud breaks ground. But I know they're there and that makes me very happy.

We fuss then with the strawberries and by the time that's done, it's nearly evening and we can't put it off any longer: time to provide protection for the tomatoes. A low of 33, two nights in a row. That's ten degrees lower than what they can tolerate. The game plan: upside down plastic pots (leftover from years of purchases), covered by scraps of quilts, blankets, plastic sheets.

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The wind is so strong that I'm thinking even the bricks we put down wont keep the covers from flying off. We do the best we can.

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We'll come back on Monday to assess the damage.

The wild turkey watches, shakes his head and moves on.

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