The weather this past Saturday gave me hope I once again may be fortunate enough to see spring. I’m seeing a lot of land turned over and seeds and gardening gadgets galore have blossomed in many a shelf locally. The hen bit is blooming and trees are budding. You can almost hear onrushing season revving up its motor.
The weather on Sunday was a most authentic reproduction of a wet, cold Irish day and sent me to huddle by the simmering corned beef and cabbage. There is no spray available for Leprechauns, guys. I’ve always sheltered a theory the concept of a Leprechaun was an ancient way of expressing no matter how much we calculate, refine and seemingly master our world with technology there’s always that one little variable to trip us.
It’s what got the Martians in H.G. Well’s “War of the Worlds.” It’s what helped sink the Titanic and it was why the coating on the Hindenburg was flammable. We are so proud of how much and how far our machines have brought us. I think many have been so divorced from the natural world we forget it’s not a nice neighborhood sometimes. The problem is I’m just as bad as the problem. I cannot begin to tell you how many times during a power outage I enter a room….. and flicked on the light switch. Genius. I have to shake my head and admit I like the machines which heat, cool and make our lives more comfortable.
The Discovery Channel absolutely ruined me with a show on lightning. Until then, I was blissfully ignorant the stuff can go from the ground up as well as down from the sky. It can go sideways. It can go through the cockpit of an aircraft. It can be in the form of a ball, roll up and travel into the living room and explode. Yeesh…. I marveled on my last trip to Myrtle Beach as a truly angry looking storm came muscling up the Strand and bathers blissfully went in swimming ignoring how well electricity travels and how good a conductor humans are. Remember, research indicates every time you are struck by lightning you are better at attracting it.
This is one of the reasons I think I am a gardener and a seed saver and a beekeeper. It keeps me (bad pun alert here) grounded. It helps to be aware of weather and nature if you want to experience the child-like wonder of planting a dry husk of a seed in dirt and parenting it along into food. (Of course, another reason for me saving seeds is the ever increasing cost. If you have to explain frugal, you are probably going to lose the argument from the start.)
I’ve had an ongoing project from an early version of red brandywine tomato that I’ve been trying to stabilize. Perhaps this will be the season. My other main tomato choice this year is the German red strawberry, because I love it on sandwiches and because I’m getting low on seed. My other projects this year will involve Hungarian black peppers and an Italian topepo pepper I love to put into my favorite chili recipe. All of this is, of course, dependent on weather and the legion of bugs and animals waiting with napkins tucked in to feast on my crops… and my limited abilities as a gardener.
It never gets old with me. This year the final disintegration of my cold frame has put thoughts of finally putting in a small green house back in my head. I think gardeners are some of the most optimistic persons around when you consider how many things can go wrong. You start each year knowing on any given evening you could stroll to the back patch with lush visions of that green isle you’ve created and be rudely brought back to reality by the burp of a doe. White tail waving before hopping over the fence. Empty bottles of ranch dressing strewn in between the rows.
Ah….. at least the furry little barbarian left enough bare stalks sticking up so it’s easy to pull them up. Yessir, there are so many forces aligned against us. I view sowing a little seed as my own little bit of civil disobedience against the negative in our world. There’s a lot to be said for the biblical mindset of sowing in a time of famine. It’s like protesters putting flowers in a rifle barrel. That basil on your doorstep or tomato out back adds diversity. I encourage those who are not planting to join us green guerrillas. Grow something instead of just growing weary I think you’ll be surprised at that little lift you’ll get that will put the spring into your step.
David Broyles is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1952.