Thursday, July 11, 2013

Making Mud Pies

Roses in the Wind
Casualty of the Wind
Time for Mud Pies
Life is Bursting
Freshly Washed Keens
Hopes for  a Winter Garden
Baby Tree Swallow Waiting for Snack
Snack Arrives
Bobo the Garden Dog
Garden Report:

Snipping roses in the wind, and pink and white petals catch in the pine boughs. I think the Nae Rosebush is spent for now. Such a profusion of blossoms and now an absence of buds. Some of the white roses are faintly tipped in soft pink. Others are bone-China white.

Only one casualty to the wind today--the hanging purple petunias blew off the porch. Todd rescues them and I saturate the potting soil with water, hoping the roots didn't dry to dust.

After some serious weeding in my garden, its blowing dust, too. Not from any plants, though. I water by hand so as not to encourage the weeds to drink up and be merry in this space. Plants are thriving, robust and green. My Italian ice tomato plant is putting out blossoms and fruit as fast as raspberries. The plant itself is huge, as tall as my waist and bushy with leaves and fruit.

Already I have a tiny pickling cucumber the size of my pinky.I can almost watch the zucchini grow. It won't stay little for long. A third calendula flower is budding and that makes enough for a batch of skin salve, which I could use with a new hoe-blister in the crook of my hand.

All ten potato hills are bursting with green foliage and I imagine little blue potatoes forming below. Round leaves and tight tendrils form on all 24 pea plants weaving upward little by little each day. Three pie pumpkin, two summer squash and three  bean plants spread their hearty leaves. I see pink bulbs beneath greens of radishes and the yet small beet greens are veined in red.

Most of my garden is grown from direct seed. For a while, I felt like a dirt farmer. Today, I'm a gardener. And now it's time to make mud pies.

My winter garden seeds arrived in the mail--more beets, rutabagas, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and turnips. Playing in the dirt has taught me the value of "hilling." My dirt is so soft, I garden barefoot (in fact, my Keens now hang on the fence to dry after I washed them outside with the hose). But it also blows easily in the wind and washes away like silk dirt. I dig deep with the hoe, mounding a hill and building a mote around it. In the center of the hill I cup a hollow by hand. Next, I water the dirt.

Mud pies! The perfect container to receive new seeds. I plant a trinity of cauliflower seeds in 10 mud pies and Brussels sprout in seven. The seeds are covered with dirt and lightly tamped by hand to maintain a water-catching basin above germinating seeds. We hope. Kale and more greens are planted between other established hills and I carve out two rows for the rutabagas and three short rows for the beets.

Several times I turn the hose on me, washing my hair with cold well-water as it soaks my t-shirt and face. I fill my cup numerous times and sit by the fire ring and drink, watching the tree swallows feed their baby who is peeking out of his wren-house. Bobo ventures outside to join me, curious about the mud pies but happy to gnaw on a prong-horn. Yep, I found that in the garden, too.

The sun is leaning toward the western peak that will soon hide it. That means I've been in the garden at least six hours. I am so tired that when the osprey flies over, all I can do is shade my eyes and watch him hover, dive and depart with a pond fish.

As I gather up my tattered seed packets, clean shoes and empty cup, I notice the glow of red spotting the raspberry bushes, and now I am thinking of a different kind of pie.

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