Thursday, June 25, 2009

Layers of Satisfaction

Layers of Satisfaction, originally uploaded by Ghetto Steve.

Carefully. Lay the stakes in the ground. Just so. Just this far apart.... now tie a string to each piece. Perfect! Now take the hoe... its too big. I run the row miles wide of the string layed guide. We rake it and Dad finishes it again. In goes the water. I follow it as it makes its journy down the river bed. The dirt is loose. Freshly rotor tilled. Behind me I run my bare toes through the soft dirt, seasonally fluffed. I care for the little stream as it slowly stretches along the length of the row. Moving a rock here, Pulling it through a high spot later. It reaches the end, fills a bit over and is moved to the next row.

After I have seen to it I return to the first. The fluffy dirt has changed with so much water. Not rough or fluffy, but silky smooth and shiney. Its surface only marred by sticks of yester year and popped mud bubbles. Like the sea foam, only more like frogs. Muddy and swamp like. I hold open my tiny hands for a few precious shakes of the seed bag. Into my palms fall natures magic. One by one I place each carefully, just so apart, like dad showed me. I poke them in deep and get muddy fingers. Dad covers them, tossing a safe blanket of dirt over their heads with the hoe in his hands once again.

I don't much like weeding. Sometimes they make me pull the sprinkler. Sometimes i just play in it and help the water move down rows. Build dams around the tomatoes. Hills around the pumpkins... but what i really like are munching on the peas. And tasting the beans right off the bush, while Dad picks for hours. I eat lots of raspberries, but there are lots of bugs and spiders in them.

To plant and to harvest and the sometimes unpleasant wait in between.

Just a few years ago, when i was in highs school and just starting to get into cooking I demanded a plot for my herb garden. I didn't even know exactly which meant 'comes back' of perennial or annual or biennial... I hadn't tasted most of the herbs I planted. But I bought seeds and started a patch in what i figured the best piece of garden their was. Closest to the house and in the deepest soil, with just a touch of shade from our desert sun. They could have gone elsewhere I realize, but there they stay. Years after a favored chive plant, which attracts hordes of beautiful polinators, oregano and thyme live on.

And two massive sage plants which attract only honey bees. I prune away the dead woody branches each year, though its said i should replace them by now. They bloom so wonderfully each year so I dont. And more sweetly still amidst the weeds and basil I've found their children. A few little sage plants each year mixed with the weeds but coming up strong. They take such little care and water, but bloom so prettily. and is so easy to cook with. Sage is a plant to which I give my highest regards.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It Is Upon Us!

Having pitched my berm idea to the household executives (Mum and Dad), I understood it was a possibility somewhere on the horizon. They got on board pretty quick, pumping up my idea with confidence after my own began to falter. I'm always a bit hesitant once it comes down to the execution of ideas. My work-avoidance habit combines with a touch of self doubt - well deserved because I have very little clue what I'm doing, or if it will work as well as I imagine it could- and I falter and hesitate to take the big steps. Like spraying and tearing up turf. In our front lawn. Yikes.

In theory, tearing up lawn in ones front yard should be something to warrant the worry. That theory requires however, that you HAVE lawn in your front yard. For as much as we are adding a berm to reduce lawn, we are also adding it to cover up the HUGE dead patches, weed colonies, and patchy dying turf. Digging it up shouldn't even be as difficult as one might imagine, simply because it is already bare dirt.

This aside I'm still desperate for assurance from the others. If it completely all fails I want to escape all blame. Though I'm not being paid, I am both the initiator and the relative expert on all of this, so by rights should take blame... but that is implied risk.

This morning my dad mentions that "Johns here to move that dirt!" ...with his backhoe in the back yard. At which moment I was showering, the site of the berm was yet undecided and therefore none of the prep work done, and did I mention the nudity? I was wondering if they could give me any LESS lead time. Yesterday I wasn't even sure we could get the backhoe ever!
Luckily my hesitation at landscaping in the buff led to the backhoe moving on for the day, and the mutual agreement that later this week it would return to ferry our dirt for us. Still a vague date, but I hope to get the site prepared tomorrow and the next day.

And so it is upon us. Even though I used it as a good excuse to buy plants with no home, I wasn't expecting it to be done this summer let alone this week! I'm excited though. It will feel good to get my natives in the ground.