Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

Rain Day

May 9, 2012

Wednesday morning, early.  Breakfast is cooking in the oven – I planned to get up early enough so that it would be ready before Deb got up – but as usual, I failed.  Not in getting up early enough, but in keeping Sombra and me quiet enough so that she didn’t get up.  There are just too many sqeaky doors and tail thumps at the thought of tennis balls!

I’m being encouraged to be a bit more diligent about taking photos, and posting, of my current gardening efforts. Change is gradual even though Spring is here.  Its early, yet, but beans, peas and carrots are up both at the the farm and in Guilford, and in the latter, we are almost ready to start the second “mowing” of lettuce even though we’re not all through with the first! Raised beds a bit of a success so far.

Yesterday, the first 1/3 of the corn patch got planted (100 seeds in 5 rows, to aid cross-pollination) and the first two pyramids for pole beans erected and planted.  Four of the poles were from last year, and the next four were ancient ones from the shed.  Dry, for sure – but I hope not too brittle in August when the pyramids are “fully loaded”!

Farm garden – 1/3 terraced and half planted:

We were pretty sure it would rain this week, because the tree peonies are in bloom.  It seems to happen every year, just when the blooms are fullest and heaviest.  They usually coincide with the first thunderstorms, which are promised for this afternoon;  but here’s one blossom – just before the rains.

And finally – slow but ongoing progress in straightening out the beds out back!  Now, the question is – did these photos actually load?


🙂  Tony



Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

November 12, 2007

I wasn’t in Portugal — but I have seen a freshly dead pig. So has Tony Bourdain, it turns out. I’m reading A Cook’s Tour. When I’m finished, I’ll write a kicked back, going over the whole of it review, but right now, I’m struck with the opening. For the first time, at a family get-together on his boss’s farm, he watches his dinner die.

He slows down for it. If you’ve ever seen or read Tony, you know he delights in innards, butcher’s blocks and adrenaline. Here’s a guy who once tore headlong down a mined jungle road toward a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge. He can anatomize a pig as easily as peeling a carrot. And yet a jovial working day on a Portugese farm knocks the sarcasm out of him.

He’s just kicked off the pilgrimage, and he’s in the hazy morningtime, still blinking around at the grass and shingles and beams and mountains that are impossibly not on the same ground he stood on yesterday. Hot soup sets him dreaming. Two locals gear up with a trestle and a knife and some of last season’s homemade wine (probably in an old milk jug). They wrestle with the pig as their wives wrestle with the stove.


This “all” feeling

November 6, 2007

You must often have felt it, lying on the grass on a warm summer’s day. Your legs seem to send out shoots into the earth. Your hair feels like leaves upon your head. This is the all feeling.

Herman Melville wrote this postscript in a letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, June 1851, at the height of haying season. Melville’s “Whale” would go to press in a few months. He was in the grip of a blue devil and half turned away from the idea of this blending into the touch of growing things, but he turned back again to explain it further. I have felt it too, and I’ve been trying, tonight, to figure out how to explain it to someone who has not.

I have only ever found two of Melville’s letters to Hawthorne, in the Berkshire Reader, and they make me wish for more. I love to think of one grown man saying to another, after a fourteen hour day of labor, “you know what it’s like when you lie on your back on the lawn….” It’s an open pleasure, like jumping into leaf piles and whistling on acorn caps, a child’s game in the woods.

Of course, Melville had just spent all day, and all the days and weeks before, pitching cut alfalfa and clover into a pine board wagon and stacking it in a barn, to keep his horse alive through the winter. No wonder he had grass on his mind. (Don’t laugh.) But if he had written this passage as carefree as a boy, or as a farm hand after a long day, I would not have remembered it today, four years after I first read it, and felt drawn to pull it off the shelf again. It means as much as it does because he wrote it as a man, with a nagging soreness in him like toothache, and still he remembered.