Friday, June 8, 2012

Brains and Brawn

Yesterday, after I wrapped up another book update, which is how I bring in the bacon, I pulled on my boots and turned to gardening, which is how I bring in the nonbacon. I had strangled one of my beautiful young apple trees, so it stood in a wasted hole, dry and brittle. The strangling was well-intended. My once-intended, now stuck with me forever, had complained about the tree's leaning like the Tower of Pisa, so I'd roped it straight. It complied, then died. I dug it up, added it to a pile of brush and replaced it with a peach pit. I once liked a peach so much, I planted its pit. There, now, the transplanted pit sits.

Next, I cleaned up the garden bed south of the greenhouse. I had just said that I regretted not planting more carrots to take advantage of the cool weather we've been enjoying. I thought I might get some carrots in before the gray western sky descended. When the hard part was done, I began broadcasting carrot seeds, relaxed in the quiet, calm afternoon. A few raindrops sprinkled.

How many times have I said that one of the secrets to gardening is not taking off when work needs to be done? Some folks have told me they've had a tough time getting their gardens planted this spring because of all the rain. Sorry guys, that's a poor excuse; it hasn't rained every day, or even every week.

"Maybe they had to go to work," says Virginia.

Oh. It's been so long since I punched a clock I forgot about that.

"Fred called, said the boys are outside the fence! I need to leave soon!" Karen interrupted my reverie. Persistent honking drew her to our driveway entrance. A second neighbor was reporting the escape. My cellphone cussed at my pocket, "Now Keri's out!" I tossed the rest of the carrot seeds, ran for the keys to our stationwagon, and tore down the lane and James River Road. Karen had already coaxed the goats back inside the fence and Keri was perched on the front seat of our Camry.

She returned Keri and waved goodbye, off with some women who meet for dinner every couple months. The least my brawn could do with my quiet evening was fix the fence. I gathered a couple sledgehammers, a T-Post with brackets, a length of fence (just in case), a pair of pliers, and rolled my wheelbarrow to the gap. Two hours later, I decided the fence would keep the kiddies in.

The rain had merely dropped. I still had time. After a quick dinner of Elk Cliff peas, toast and cheese, I put in this year's third planting of sweet corn. Then it poured. Perfect timing.

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