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.
Today is a day that has been many years in the making. Twenty years ago, Preston Manning spoke to my law school class and, while pleasant, was not really considered all there or at least fringy. Not sure that has changed all that much... except his follower's follower is now PM. What does that mean? This for one thing:
The National is sometimes a disgrace, a meandering journey though the mind of a flibbertigibbet who spent the day garnering news bits from a hodgepodge of online sources. Bizarrely, it treats Ottawa politics with grave and tedious seriousness, failing to see the theatre that is obvious to everyone else. Every night on CBC seems to end with George Stroumboulopoulos doing a half-baked late-night talk show that neither he nor the audience cares about. Every week seems to bring some new, desperately conjured tweak of Dragons’ Den. The result is that the public broadcaster has been out of sympathy with its traditional supporters and resolutely out of sympathy with this government. Whatever this budget brings, here’s a message to CBC – suck it up, you should have seen this coming; now use the opportunity of retrenchment to redefine your mission and values.
See, that is in the Globe and Mail. You have the Globe complaining about Dragon's Den, one of the boring bones the CBC tosses to business to prove it is not an organ of the left. But the Globe is an organ of the left, no? Are they out bidding each other to prove disloyalty to the red banner? No, they are just sheep who have lost their way, organizations who have been a bit brow beaten and lack leadership.
They are not all that far off the Federal level. While Harper will never face the problems Chretien did in the early 90s - thanks to Jean's fix - he has to pretend he is doing something magnificent as he and his forefathers have foretold that they are bringers of a message and that message is important. Never mind that it is all propped up by $100 a barrel oil. Never mind that the ideology is not transferable from this economic... nay, politico-geological reality. We have to go a long with these things because we got locked into a manner of doing things in 1867 and the world has turned in a given direction until now. So we follow along to today.
Hot. +22C after supper. Redwing blackbirds. Crocuses are up. It's not even that muddy. With any luck we'll get back to wet, cold and dreary soon. Normal would be nice. What's normal? Not Ottawa. Who questions that a revival of Grit fortunes is the real risk to Harper? Odd that we have gotten so far down the road that we forget things like that. Its it a wish for the return of Cold War certainty? Or is this all a blip? The fact that "popularity" just seems to wrong might suggest so.
♦ Jeese - I hope it makes it to DVD at least.
♦ It's NCPR pledge drive week starting Monday. I'll be over next Friday to deliver some prizes as a thinks this time for adding out town to one transmitter's call letter location.
♦ Christ apparently hates objective rational sports management decision making. Ain'tcha missing that promised evangelical theocratic political system now?
♦ Sweet. Dissension between the military and the government.
♦ Maybe just unplug the machine and stick it in the basement like everyone else does?
Friday. Not sure I am still riding the benefits of a stretch of holiday in Montreal. How long do the mellowing effects of venison burgers and walks down old city lanes last?
March Break this week. Spring the next. Warm weather straight through as far as I can tell from here on out. Seeds have arrived from Stokes and checking to see if I can get 25 wine grape vines. Plonk de backyard. Why have a backyard urban chicken coop if you can grow grapes? Or onions for that matter. Price of onions drives me nuts. I must have mentioned that before. Five bucks for ten onions in a hurry. 25 bucks for 2500 onions in four months. This year I take control of my own onions once again... err... that didn't come out right...
♦ Are the last of the GenXers hitting 40 now? I've been hitting 40 for almost 9 years now. Might need to change that header up there.
♦ You would think there would be a faster way to deal with this and an easier way to prevent it.
♦ Freaky. Belleville just a bit closer than outer space.
♦ I am not going to say I have seen a Maher related misunderstanding before but I am not saying I haven't either.
♦ Following the money. Excellent plan. Because there will have been money to follow.
There/ Sunday night for the Friday morning deadline. Great thing this self-publishing...