Sunday, May 29, 2005

it was nice while it lasted.

I guess yesterday was summer?

After seeing that Sith movie (makes Spiderman look like well, a thoughtful movie with character development... which it was. Someone should write a script about a filmmaker with everything going for him but the humility to use a script doctor and another director. Seldom have so many watched one for so long spend so much and produce so little. I liked Etna the best.) with Doug and Sarah and Ellie and her boyfriend and SCRAP Matt,

I went out this morning, while everyone around was still asleep, and tried to work on the asparagus trench. I share Norma's feelings about Rototillers and I am secretly frightened of gas engines (other than cars, which I am used to and they don't usually cut off your foot). Also we couldn't persuade Sarah's mom to get her Rototiller fixed and here.

So Sarah asked Paul the contractor to do it with the larger-than-usual Bobcat he's been using to rebulid the drive way, and while he was there I got him to dig me a nice trench. I don't approve of using earth-moving vehicles either, but it was here, and Paul is enough of a gardener, apparently, to know not to caterpillar-tread on the soil he was supposed to be loosening. He cleared Sarah a 10x15 patch and me a fine 6x from-2-to-3 foot deep trench on what Ellie was sure was Opus's dandelion meadow. Opus can go to the seep field across the driveway, where I can't plant food or trees and which is sprouting an impressive crop of wild strawberries and blue-eyed grass .

So I decided my trench needed widening (as well as the removal of some watermelon-sized rocks) and went after it with a mattock . Paul had offered to lend us "The best gardening tool ever," but I showed him that I have three of different sizes and qualities already and he was horrified to find I had more tools of any kind than he did, so I scored. He already calls Sarah, Ellie, and me "the Witches of Henniker," which I think is a compliment, and he gets more upset when I suggest that Ellie wants to be the Crone instead of the Maiden (poor Sarah has to make the tea) and I don't mind. I am the Mother and don't you forget it. ( Nanny Ogg is my hero.)

I got very fond of mattocks in England, digging on my youth in the 70's mostly in Canterbury, where picking and shovelling are a large part of what archaeology is all about (along with machining off the mediaeval, but anyway). We found, as a rule, that women were better at picking and men were better at distance-shovelling and moving the wheelbarrows. Those were good days. None of this toothbrush stuff.

So I got some work done widening the asparagus trench and am wondering how many buckets of kibble-gravel I can steal from the heap outside the lab. How do you lighten soil, anyway? Not peat moss. A lack of compost, locally. Maybe sand?

As I was beginning to dig in earnest, I was being mobbed by blackflies. I went inside to get repellant and it began to thunder, so it will be another few days before the poor suffering asparagus crowns are planted. But after only one day of sun, the radishes and lettuce have sprouted.

In fiber news, SCRAP Matt (he gets the determinative because Matt is Ellie's boyfriend's name, too) tried a wheel for the first time today and is very impressed with the speed of technology, compared to that of the drop spindle. He wishes to weave himself a kilt. He does not wish to knit or crochet or naalbind. He says sooner or later he will buy a fleece and process it. I will send him the sad story of Elsie Cutch .

I have unpicked enough squares to resew them and discover all the 'extra' strips will be useful to bring the center up to 9x10 squares, instead of resting at 8x9. The quilt thinks I should go to town and get it about a yard of nice black to offset the busynesss of the center from the busyness of the gorgeous border, the fabric on which the rest of the quilt is hung. I am telling it to shut up and eat its nice blue. But I have to go into town and buy a lawn mower (see fear of gasoline engines in paragraph above)and Jo-Ann's is right there.


Dhuglas said...


I KNOW how you love the Mattock, having watched you yield several during the Stone Wall repair and terracing efforts in Melrose. Ahhh, yes, the gOOd old days.

So then, do you realize that Location Location Location has done nothing about the crop of Stone that is present at both Locations and that you are attempting to relocate.

So caught between a stone and a hard place, are you!

Have a great day,


Norma said...

NOT sand to lighten soil -- it makes concrete when mixed with clay. Actually, peat moss does do it, although it usually requires lime because peat + clay soil = high acid content. But better than that is vermiculite. This sounds crazy, but you can buy from lumber yards giant bags of vermiculite that is used for insulation (or order it -- I did) - it's reasonably priced, and mix it in. It doesn't decompose, so it's permanent, and it's awesome! But it's too bad about no compost locally? I guess I'm lucky that way. (all this vermiculite advice is 15 years old. For all I know, they've banned vermiculite since that time or some stupid thing.) But you made me laugh so hard with first the opening line, then the line about cars usually not cutting off your foot that I almost didn't read further, having suffered a little diet Pepsi up the nose. So stop that. Please!