Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chaos and Confusion

As anyone with a garden knows, going away during the growing season means a big mess when you return. It's just inevitable. Everything keeps growing while you're gone, so when you come back, you find the new planting of carrots and beets almost completely hidden by spurge; the tomatoes flopping all over the place; the green beans overgrown and past when they should have been picked; the cucumbers trying to escape into the cabbages instead of climbing up the nice supports made specially for them; and the blackberries ready to be picked.

To use some not-at-all-random examples.

Last night A. got the lake pump running and I watered the desperately dry garden. With the big plastic pump hose. This thing is an inch in diameter and way too big to water with really, but it was what I had. In places with mulch, like the potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, I just dropped the hose in there and let the water flood the area. This may not be the best way to water plants, but they needed so much water, I figured it was better to flood them than not get them enough.

While I was letting the tomatoes flood, I hunted around the spurge to find the small carrots and beets I planted not too long ago. They were almost completely obscured by the weeds, so I spent a long time pulling spurge.

Weeds go in cycles from year to year. Last year it was some kind of shallow-rooted weed with little white flowers that set seeds immediately and spread incredibly fast. The year before that was the Year of the Pigweed. This year, it's spurge. The only good thing about spurge is that it all grows out from a central root, so when you pull the root up, a large area of the weed comes out.

I'm really searching for the silver lining, here.

I also weeded out the out-of-control bed where we would have had peas if the rabbit hadn't eaten them. As I was grabbing two-foot-tall pigweeds and yanking them out, I accidentally grabbed the rose bush by the fence. Hard. So now I have festering rose thorns in my left hand. Awesome.

Then I used my hand (not the punctured left) to disperse the water so I could get some water onto the smaller plants without washing them away. This meant I watered my arm and hand quite a bit as well. Then I picked some blackberries.

On the up side, I did spot the first ripening tomato. With the hot weather we're having, it should ripen quickly. The First Tomato draws ever nearer. Assuming I can get them all tied to their stakes so they don't just flop over and rot on the ground.

I plan on another assault on the garden tonight after Cubby is in bed. Wish me luck. I think I'll need it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

No need to ask the obvious question: I know you all missed me. We can just move on to the trivial details of my life that are the reason you show up here.

First, a big round of applause for that miraculous child of mine. I would have bet money that a 12-hour day in the car would be impossible with a toddler. Impossible without a whole lot of shrieking and unpleasantness, that is. But that kid, man. Except for a few minutes of protest here and there, he just resigned himself to the misery. Of course, the misery was substantially reduced by the fact that one of us sat in the back with him the whole way and read books, plied him with food, sang many rounds of "Little Bunny Foo Foo" (it's a big hit with the under-two crowd), and generally did everything we could to keep him entertained and fed.

Despite the rockin' good times in the Subaru, however, we were all extremely glad to get home. We rolled up the driveway at 8 p.m. yesterday. Cubby's face straight lit up at the sight of the dogs, and he practically lunged out of my arms to his grandma when he saw her, so that was nice. Then I put him to bed, with much praise for his fortitude and good nature. He was asleep before he hit his crib mattress.

Then, A. and I ate the delicious dinner the MiL had prepared before we collapsed into our own bed. The bed on which there were clean sheets, because the MiL had washed them and put them back on for us while we were gone. I highly recommend having the MiL on hand to welcome you home from a long trip.

Before we got into bed, though, I of course went out to inspect the garden. There hasn't been a drop of rain while we were gone, so the MiL was kept busy hauling water for the poor plants (and the animals, who are all very much alive, by the way--good job, MiL). Despite that, everything grew like crazy in the last week. Some of the cabbages are ready; the green beans are producing abundantly; I can start eating beets anytime now (yay! love beets); and the chard has recovered from the severe pruning I gave it before we left.

The weeds, of course, have also been growing nicely. I will address them as soon as I unload the car, make laundry mucous and wash our many filthy clothes, put everything away, make some yogurt, and generally re-establish myself at Blackrock.

It's good to be home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Brief Experiment in Yuppieness

I'm sitting at a Panera Bread restaurant, typing on a Mac Book (not mine). My sister-in-law is sitting across the table from me, on her laptop. We're sharing a cinnamon roll and reveling in our temporary childlessness.

I'm very, very far from Blackrock, obviously.

So! Hello from beautiful Delavan, Wisconsin! We've been here for a few days now, after a few days in the car.

We drove across Canada to get here, crossing the border into and out of Canada in the same day. On the way into Canada, we were questioned on any guns, mace, pepper spray, or tasers we might have in our possession. On the way into the United States? Not a bit of concern about weaponry, but the border patrol agent confiscated our grapes. The grapes that we bought in New York, transported across Canada, and then had taken away from us by the U.S. Border Patrol because they were grown in Mexico.

I have no further comment on that ridiculousness.

Anyway! Those few days in the car were not the most fun I've ever had, although Cubby once again demonstrated his superiority by being surprisingly stoic at the reality of sitting in a car seat for hours at a time. Only a couple of hours at a time, though. We saw a lot of parks between home and Wisconsin.

A. has spent most of his time here fishing off the dock of the house my parents rented. My three-year-old niece, bless her, has spent a lot of her time out there fishing with him. In fact, I think she's caught more fish than he has. We even ate some for lunch the first day we were here.

You can take the woodchuck out of Blackrock, but you can't take Blackrock out of the woodchuck. Or something.

My brother has been working this whole time, but he arrives this afternoon, so we'll have the whole clan together for at least part of one day before we all disperse tomorrow.

It's been a nice trip so far, but I bet the sheep miss A. and I'm sure the weeds in the garden miss me, so back on the road again we will go, Blackrock bound.

Catch you on the flipside, poppets.