Everything is up. Even the leeks of desperation sown where the leek seedlings failed. Leeklings? Bush beans and pole beans jumped out as well. There are a few patches for second sowings but now it looks like the main task is weeding. But what does a parsnip look like when it is first up? How do you know for sure what is the weed and what isn't? That's the trouble when you take a decade off from vegetable gardening - no institutional memory is left. Somewhere I even had a book that I kept notes in. Now it's all just "throw some seeds there, see what happens." I ate a pea shoot. It felt a bit like infanticide what with all the July peas in their pods that shoot represented. But it was good and I felt righteous. The neighbourhood smells good. Last Thursday at the softball game there was so much lilac in the air it was like being back in the flower shop my mother ran. The hubbard squash looks like it is ready for greatness. Good thing too as the front lawn looks awful. It needs a bit of cucurbita action to give it some interest. The onion patch near the front door looks so good I only feel badly about not making it five times the size.
A hot Victoria Day weekend saw a whole lot of seedlings out there in the yard. Carrots and onions were joined by beets, collards, lettuce and bok choi sticking their heads up. Squash has been joined by zucchini and musk melon. I should rip up more lawn. And why not? It is nothing but a dandelion nursery. Driving around this JFK-era subdivision and you see a hell of a lot of lawn where tens of thousands of onions could grow. Outlawing the lawn mower could help. Or at least the two-stroke polluto-king model. Built an apparently ugly structure-ish thing for the sweet peas. Over by the shed. Twine now dangles from it down to where green tendrils reach up to meet them.
If Greece fails, everyone's going to want a edible yard for 2013. Why not get in before the hip crowd? Carrots alone still leave you plenty of time and options.
It has been a late spring, hasn't it? I put out the squash and tomatoes this week but only half of them... maybe less. You never know if it is going to be in the 70s or the 30s this week. But I think that is over. We have the best dandelions on the block. Always do. Has something to do with the push mower I think. Not sufficiently black hole like in its capacities. But I do not apologize. I am not like Mitt in that respect. Unlike our stumping skills where we are one. This weekend may be dedicated to whipper snipping.
♦ Good for my old home Kings and good for us all that the selling of citizenships on PEI will now be properly investigated.
♦ Is this bad or good? I would have to know what the other applicants asked for. Who got bumped. But at the Federal level we never learn these things.
♦ Sloppiness. That is what I say about a lot of things, too.
♦ A great depression has fallen upon Red Sox nation. Why. Apparently they have decided to continue to suck. Time for the mega trade that should have happened last February.
Is that all there is? For a tra-la it's May Friday do you really need more?
We each chose a most hated shrub and killed them today. One of the great things about gardening is being that grim reaper who takes away so that others might have a little more light, a sip more water or just the spot occupied by that the ugly thing in the corner by the fence. My own dead semi-tree of choice was chopped and stacked to be replaced by a big pile of sheep poo and peat moss where the squash shall hold dominion this summer. The ground there was a bit mossy and weighed down by clay so I buried a small short gravel and rock drain to draw the water away. The first effort at starting the Blue Hubbards was a total failure but six others live on the kitchen window sill to be hardened off over the next week. Yesterday, was all planting. Purple fleshed carrots. Multi-coloured Swiss chard. 500 onion sets. And a dump run. There was an hour wait at the transfer station all for the joy of dumping broken foldie-uppie camping chairs along with the remains of a basketball hoop, a deceased elliptical training machine and a load of other crap. Sugar snap peas are up. The leeks look hopeful even if only green threads in their laundry room trays. Purple Cherokee tomatoes are leggy but may make it. Time will tell.
Did you miss these bullet points? Fridays have been hard lately. Or at least I have lost all imagination. I think that may be it. Or there are four to six kids in the house at any one time. I am liking the garden blogging. Gar-logging? I miss 2004. When poeple pretended blogging would change the world. But, really, at least I hung around. Jay and Darcey's blog URLs are each now spammy. How sad. Once amongst the greats. I feel like an 8-track hobbyist. The beer blog rolls on and on, of course. But that's because it's about beer, right?
♦ It has to happen sooner or later. No matter how dynamic, imaginative or just pure fun he is, sooner or later people will get sick of Harper. Note: shark jumped.
♦ Missile base #8872 may come to my neighbourhood.
♦ Red Sox now tied for 9th worst team in baseball. Things are looking up.
♦ I am waiting for the schism in the Wildrose party... and not just between those who know how to spell or not. No one loves as schism as much as a fringer.
♦ Does the yikky feeling of regret and a certainty that your skin is not as clear as it was just an hour ago count as poisoning?
Well, that's it for now. Maybe I will post again in May. The peas are popping up, after all. And the squash seems to be refusing to get frost bite, hiding out in the shed. Tomato seedlings are starting to pop up. Though they may be leeks. The lad labeled the lids on the trays.
We were fooled. Warm has been replaced by cold. Next week there is a risk of frost. Fortunately, we did not go too far down the road of planting. The peas are just taking their first peak above soil and the blue hubbard squash has been transplanted into pots that can be brought inside. Seeing as I have not even done the taxes, this is good timing. The Arkansas leeks and Cherokee Purple tomatoes seeds were only planted in the trays yesterday waiting down in the basement to decide when it is time to sprout. Very early days.
Lots of time for digging, however. Me and the lad were out this morning digging out a root ball of an ex-shrub. It took secateurs, shovels and an axe but the score ended up Nature 0 Mankind 1. I appear to be at the one shrub stage of life. Whacking away at the damn thing did not exactly set stars spinning about my head but a second might have. I wonder at what point the gardening shifts from telling me how out of shape I am and move on to letting me know the effort is worth it.
Rhubarb is one of my favorite things. Spring food. Sour and astringent. It makes the years since childhood contract. A cup of white sugar into which a raw stem was rammed, the stalk chewed as if on a dare. Stewed rhubarb leading to the earliest bowel related humour at our table, pretend mad dashes for the washroom mid-dessert. Pies. Lard rich crust glazed with a crackle of rhubarb filling. Later, as a young married couple, we made weak rhubarb juice on a slow simmer that was cooled then mixed with cheap Ontario white wine as a particularly fine weekend drink. Today, I dug up and separated the rhizomes, halfway between thick carrots and thick sweet potatoes. I separated them in the patch where the compost bin used to sit and gave them a long soak of water from the hose. What was one plant should now be six. If I had a farm, I would have a rhubarb house. I understand the best in England are built over coal mines with only the light of one candle to ensure the stems are as pale as possible.
No yard should be without rhubarb.
Easter long weekend saw an assault on nature or at least that sort of nature that exists in a mid-60s subdivision. We have great plans to eat where we did mow so the following tasks were undertaken:
ugly basketball hoop with sun-rotted plastic base disassembled;
♦ awkward juniper chopped down and ax play appreciated;
♦ willow and pear trees extending into neighbours' space pruned with saw;
♦ 10 x 10 feet of front lawn removed, sheep poo inserted;
♦ 21 feet or so of sugar snap peas planted; and
♦ compost bin in-grown with tree roots attacked, defeated and moved.
Children now old enough to be useful if paid. Chives survived the winter. Cabernet Franc grape vines ordered. Cardoon and leek seeds in the house.
What a simple and strong tribute as reported on the BBC above. I have an odd three point connection to the Bosnian conflict as I lived in my former home of PEI when refugees were filtered through Canada's smallest province to acclimatize them to a new home. In 1998, I played on a PEI soccer team with many Bosnians including one who had played first division football. And, years earlier, we were teaching in Poland when the former Yugoslavia began to fall apart in civil war. I saw TV twice in those months in late 1991. Once to see a soccer game and once to see the shelling of Dubrovnik. Also, in my former former home prior to PEI but after coming back from Poland in the mid-90s I met and even represented Canadian soldiers who were in the UN force that liberated Sarajevo with a proper vigor that the current Canadian government frankly seems to deny.
The stories from these three points in that decade combined giving me that sort of weighing awareness that made the news difficult to follow on one hand but saw me asking more. In the pre-pop-Internet world that meant maps and shortwave. Listening to the news fading in an out from Radio Belgrade, Croatian radio as well as B92 gave a sense. I remember when Arkan was killed a Bosnian friend inordinately connected came to my office to ask how that could have happened. I had to give him, a former Red Army soldier, a lesson on the SAS, vulnerability and other such things. He had no idea but told me much that taught me about the later NATO bombing of Serbia.
A red chair for each of the dead. Better than Yeats. Few signed up for a cause in the 90s.