Sunday, June 1, 2008

Victory Garden

I feel like a tough-ass farmer -- like my Minnesota relatives used to be before they all started selling tires and fixing cars. Except they would laugh at my telling of the tale of hauling three (measley, to them) bales of straw into my garden this weekend. They used to haul three bales of whatever in a matter of minutes. It took me the better of two days to haul them and lay them in the garden, to keep back the bastard weeds that are now four feet tall in parts of the yard. But now i have some lovely paths all around the garden, for walking, and sitting in repose to look at the vegetables.

I started this major project last weekend, when Sam and i went to the Rebuilding Center to get some reclaimed 2x6's to build a raised bed. Any gardener worth their salt knows that raised beds are the way to go. More aerated soil, and a big ol barrier to keep out the slugs and other pests that can just cruise into a flat garden -- like slick Mustang muchachos sailing on a Michoacan highway. So i give those bastard slugs an Everest to climb instead. Far fewer make it to the top, to claim the sweet green rewards, and plant their sticky bastard flags. Sam and i downed a twelver of Mexican beer while we put that bed together. It went down like water -- each can drunk in one smooth gulp. Then the bed sat for a while before i could get the dirt.

I learned from a friend that straw is the gardener's best friend. So before the dirt went in, i laid down about a foot of straw. And then eighteen bucks at landscaping lot, and you get a whole mess of black gold -- compost, dirt, bark chips and sand. Farmer tendencies came out once again when i stood at the top of that dirt heap, filthy and smelly -- shoveling it from the truck to the bed. Both mom and kid found ways to play in that black dirt -- she cooed and cackled for about an hour in the back of the truck -- working on her "project" of scooping dirt with her hands into a pot, while i smoothed my larger portion into the raised bed.

When it was all done, i was feeling quite accomplished, but a 180 degree turn from the garden sorta dashed those hopes for a minute. Like the farmer i imagined myself to be, apparently my work is never done. That 180 turn displayed grass that was two feet tall, in the part of the yard that is supposed to stay mowed. More work for another day.

On this day, i can stomp into the house with a feeling of having done something to better my own existence. The victory garden, if you will -- zero food miles involved.

Except, unlike my Minnesota farmer relatives, the house won't smell like potatoes and pork when i roll up, with a hearty appetite. Appeasing my appetite is the job for the hausfrau-slash-farmer to do her damn self.

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