Monday, March 26, 2012
This picture pretty much sums up my life in my house. A fridge serving as a notepad, in front of a window surrounded by cheap eighties paneling. That's a Glenmorangie bottle on the far left, empty, and an empty Madeira bottle. They have a cork cap easily removed, so I like to use them as water bottles. (I did enjoy the original contents.) That rubber hose you see on the right is connected to an MSR water filter, which I use when the city water starts leaving a chalky taste in my mouth, as it does some times. Two coffee bags, Stars and Stripes, a cast iron pan, a bottle of canned peppers which never properly set that I haven't composted, and some of last year's seed in glass jars. That's unknown carrot on the left, then radish, then rattlesnake snap beans, and then another bean on the far right, I think Kentucky Wonder, or something like that. I hope they didn't cross pollinate. Rattlesnake snap are my fave. They bloomed twice last year for six weeks of beans, in two three week segments. Joyful Divine Delicious Bliss does not necessarily describe the interior of my fridge.
Seeds are such an amazing thing. These plants are rattlesnake snap, of which only one was breaking the soil when I saw it in the morning. The seeds hung on the vine in their pods outside all winter. It was a warm winter, but there were several very cold days. How a seed doesn't freeze, is something like a miracle.
The blogger over at The Long Ascent reminded me about Jeff Jeavons in a recent post, and the Jeavons inspired bio-intensive soil prep I did last spring. I thought I might try a little test. This is a somewhat pointy broomstick, measuring the depth in inches, me leaning my weight on it, in the middle of the path. One inch.
This is where the brussel sprouts will be. I forked this area up with a couple of inches of compost. Twenty inches. I am obsessed with brussel sprouts, but when I see them in the store, all I can think is, a leafy, many layered pesticide, herbicide, fungicide, ammonium nitrate sandwich.
This is a bed that I did not fork, but simply poured compost on. 17 inches.
Asparagus! On March 24! I counted twenty seven stalks yesterday.
A little baby rattlesnake master, a curious wildflower like a succulent but not really. I have two older ones in the yard, each about ten years old, once removed from an old residence. This one is emerging in an excellent spot. Though this was a melon mound last year, it's right on the corner of the bed. If a plant pops up on it's own, I assume it likes that spot, and I let it be if it's not otherwise awkward in relation to the rest of the garden. I'm excited about this little one. She gets to stay.
This is an example of something that doesn't work. These are four evening primrose in an arcing line. The evening primrose loves my yard, but there are probably twenty-five or thirty in the second year of their biennial existence. They can be up to six feet tall, and there might be room for five or six, total. These four would be like a primrose wall. Two if not three will have to serve the compost. Maybe all.
A plethora of wild onions, popping up underneath last years growth of mature little bluestem, next to my young Kentucky coffee tree.
I can't remember what this is. It looks like an onion, or a leek, but it's not, I don't think. I wondered about it last spring too, and then I realized what it was, and I have since forgotten. It and the other like it in the garden will stay for now, at least until I figure out what it is, again.
Blue Flag Iris, my favorite flower.
A very happy western sand cherry. It's neighbor on the left is not so happy. I'll propagate some of the cuttings from this one, and replace the other if I'm still here in the fall. Two like this one would provide just about all the fresh cherries I could eat.
My black cap vines.
Red elderberries. Thriving on the north side of the house.
Smoke on the prairie, next to the fire hydrant.
By contrast. my poor, anemic veggie starts. Most of which, especially the tomatoes, I subsequently burned, this morning, putting them inside a little greenhouse with a space heater set on low, and walking away from them for two hours. I should have learned last year with the failure of my potato harvest, not to treat my veggies like wild plants. I planted these a week earlier than last year, and now I'm restarting a week later than I did last year, though it feels like I'm six weeks late already.
I was sitting on my back step a few nights ago, watching Venus and Saturn, one atop the other as on a pole, thinking about the matrix as described by the blogger at Epiphany Now, and peak fatigue. It was about a month ago now I stood on my back step and called out to Venus, asking to find in myself the ability to write female characters. I followed that up with about forty thousand words, the first draft of the first ten chapters of a novel in about eight days. It was around that time that Saturn made it's appearance so close to Venus in the evening sky, and both apparently about as close to the Earth as they get. In astrology, if Venus represents the feminine mysteries, Saturn represents masculine focus and drive.
The blogger at Eighth Acre Farm bought me lunch the other day, at the Seward co-op. I've been eating frugally, mostly eggs, carrots, apples, potatoes and bread and peanut butter, and not much, training my body I guess, this being historically the hungry time, when the vegetable cache is low and mostly rubbery. But it was the Seward co-op, and I feasted, the total of the buffet hot plate coming to $12.22. I had just told him earlier I was thinking about releasing my first two books for free on-line, and the novel in installments for a subscription, on Beltane, May 1st. The number 222 stands out for me, a wake up call of sorts; if you assign a chronological number to the letters of the alphabet, a=1 ~ z=26, and add up all the numbers of my name, the total is 222. We spent most of the day together, remodeling his family's four-plex rental, talking peak, and plants and building. He can't quite understand how I can plant my garden and tend to it the way I do, only to potentially let it go.
I've owned this house six years. I moved in May 01, 2006. I spent two years here, I spent two years away, I've been back two years. When I moved into this house, I was at the low nadir of my life. The house and garden looks like it will be for sale May 01. I've been wondering how to justify my walking away from the house four years ago, my inability to pay for the mortgage since, and the possibility that my father could lose a lot more money on the sale. What have I been up to all that time? All I have is the writing. I found out just this week that the Halloween store I've managed the last two years sold to a buyer in Yankton, South Dakota. I helped load it onto trucks Saturday. The Thursday before that I found out my position as Creative Director of HD Masks, such as it was, has been effectively eliminated, and all the copy I wrote for the website has been undone.
I tend to cut on this neighborhood I live in as square, but Saturday evening I had the opportunity to listen to one of my neighbors sing with fourteen others, accompanied by a small orchestra, Bach's The Passion of St John. Living the life of solitude I do, I forget sometimes what an extraordinary creature the human being is, what great gifts we have. And what an incredibly beautiful and seemingly protected life I have lived. It seems time to emerge more fully, to justify my existence, to myself at least. I no longer have any fear around what will happen to me. Doing that soil test in those pictures, I thought: I did that. I'm living the post-peak life, I realize. Precariously, just beginning to emerge, but I'm just fine.
Posted by William H Duncan at 5:09 PM