Thursday, March 03, 2011

They'll Pry My Trowel From My Cold, Dead Hand

I won't bother with questioning my state of mind, mucking about in the gardens today-I think we all know quite well what the state of my mind is. The body is quite another matter, but I brought the youngster outside with me in the event I collapse-good having a child around to ring for help when cabin fever gets the better of chills and fever. Do you know I've been running a fever on and off for weeks now? As the temperature was in the upper 50's (outside, you morons) today, I figured if I did collapse, and Danny ran off to go watch birds or something, I probably wouldn't die of hypothermia.

Speaking of gardening-have you been watching THIS YouTube series? Funny stuff.

The large raised bed is now hosting two varieties of peas-Burpee Dark Seeded Early Perfection, and Thomas Laxton. Both are able to withstand cold, though if need be I can always toss a tarp over them. I'm sure there are better choices for seed, but nostalgia got the better of me, and soon I had the Burpee seeds. Really, I only want the pea shoots-couldn't give a toss about actual peas. Hey everybody, I said, "couldn't give a toss" because Danny has already scolded me for saying, "rat's ass." He thinks it is kind of impolite. He's never been to Boston (or Chelsea).

The wisteria is still alive, having survived neighbour pulling down half the fence it was climbing on. As it survived a similar accident after the tornado, I have to assume the wisteria has a will to survive likely stronger than my own, and will in all likelihood outlive me. I just wish the thing would bloom-once. It probably will-after I die. The plant will be ten years old this year.

The grape vines look healthy and ready to go. There too, I don't care about the grapes-I just want to pickle the leaves. I don't know why I'm permitted to have a garden, other than I live so far out in the middle of nowhere that it escapes notice (save for what I post here) that I haven't a clue what I'm doing. Amazingly, things still grow, though I'm certain it is with very little help on my part.

Partly, I do this out of guilt-all that space! Partly, I do this out of Mr. ETB's inability to mow the lawn worth shit. No really, he can't mow well, or even respectably half-assed, so I've embarked on filling the back area with raised beds and the like. Each year, there's less grass to mow. Oh sure, the front of the house still has a lawn, but I have a self-seeding floral plan there as well-assuming no one gets overzealous with a tractor and rips them out (seven years on, I'm still mourning my beautiful phlox)trying to remove dead bushes.

We are still planning to put in an outdoor brick oven this year, as my other little hobby of baking bread has now turned into a full-time job. The only thing keeping me from growing my own wheat (we do actually live in an excellent place for that) is the fact that milling it would be a bitch and particulate matter like that tends to be combustible. If Mr. ETB can't mow the goddamned lawn without causing injury, do you really think I want him milling wheat?

Walking the grounds with Danny today, I tried to look at the area with a positive eye, rather than viewing it all as overgrown nuisance. Mr. ETB insists I'm in no shape to be doing any of this, and gives me the evil eye with each seed packet smuggled home from the garden centre-but I'm in no condition, not to. I might reconsider this come July in Nebraska. The last few summers have been miserably hot.

Danny wishes to cultivate his own garden and is drawing plans for beds, pouring over seed catalogs (kids, they always pick out the most expensive seeds) and grabbing the sunniest spot we have. I guess that means he'll be dealing with the tomatoes, peppers, and basil. I only hope this early excitement is sustained once he realises you actually use a shovel to dig with. He's kind of bookish for a six year old, but the fresh air should do him some good. Nothing builds character like bee stings, and a bad case of poison ivy.

Here's a look at the pile of seed packets on my desk at present:

Pepper-Golden Cal Wonder Seeds
Lima Beans-Fordhook
Parsley-Extra Triple Curled
Rocket (already some growing in window box indoors)
Escarole-Batavian Full Heart
Bean Bush Royal Burgundy
Rosemary (already started)
Popcorn-Mini Blue

Morning Glory-Heavenly Blue
Aster-Crego Mixed Colours
Sweet William Double Dwarf Mixed colours
Zinnia-Lilliput Mixed Colours
Annual Cut Flower Mixture (includes strawflower, aster, clarkia, bachelor butto, cosmos, baby's breath, black eyed susan, godetia, corn poppy, forget me not, larkspur, etc.)
Nasturtium-Dwarf jewel mix
Carnation-Chabaud Giant, mixed colours
Sunflower-Mammoth Russian

These are only the seeds-I think we all know I can't leave Earl May without a car filled with bedding plants. Combined with the perennials already established, we should be in pretty good shape for the growing season-unless everything dies from pesticide drift from a neighbouring farm. I'll try to stay optimistic.

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