Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why Barley?

Some weather prognosticators had the nerve to predict 100% chance of rain yesterday evening.  Even so, I worked inside most of the day.  Finally at 4 my legs itched to get some new seeds underground before a storm moved in.  An unopened bag of barley, which I should have planted long ago, begged for my attention.  I plopped it onto my wheelbarrow, along with a hoe and a rake, and stuck my fence tester in my pocket.  (When using a fence tester, don't forget to stick its point in the ground.  I've only forgotten once.)

I don't know who removed all but one of my pieces of aluminum foil baited with peanut butter (see my blog posting for May 28, 2010, "It's Electric").  If you click on the picture, you'll see 3 shiny bait squares along the fence line on the right. The absence of footprints suggested a bird might have been the culprit.  I had forgotten about those ungrounded creatures who perch on power lines.  Whoever it was did not eat the expensive organic peanut butter.  It wasn't wasted.  A few thousand ants found the foil pieces and probably thought they were in heaven.  After I reinstalled the foil for another night, I found myself hoping the ants would remember to jump when they returned to earth.  If they didn't, so much for that heavenly feeling.

I flipped the switch to off and stepped between the fence to wield my Rogue hoe.  After several hoes of frustration, this year-old implement reminds me of the old-fashioned ones that lasted a lifetime.  It cost more than those waiting in my garden shed for new handles, but was well worth it.  If you order one for a present ( and have any hope of keeping it secret until the special day, you'd better be there when the mail carrier arrives.  It'll arrive in clear plastic shrink wrap, easily recognizable from a distance.

I planted six short rows of barley before the northern sky began to rumble.  Two more rows.  Still noisy, the dark gray clouds appeared to be staying north.  Two more rows.  The blackness came closer.  Two more rows.  Time to turn the switch back on and head for the house, better not do a Ben Franklin.  Let it rain.
 Freshly planted barley

"So what's with the barley?" says Virginia.

"Serve it like rice, add it to soup or stew, make flour, malt it for a home-brew, take it as a porridge or barley water, feed it to the chickens."

Virginia sings, "Never be cross or cruel, never give us Castor oil or gruel. Love us as a son and daughter, and never smell of barley water...."

1 comment:

  1. I never knew that's what they were saying in the song, "barley water".

    Barley can also be fed to goats.