Monday, August 09, 2010
Field school was a fine time. We found almost nothing in several different places. The people were hardworking, charming, friendly, I wanted to keep them around for another month. Since then some of us did a four-day, very humid dig in Jefferson, NH. Sometimes it rained there, but we were dry. We found several more flakes and so forth in four days than we had in the previous four weeks. I don't know why the paleopeople were so shy of camping in central NH. I think they probably were here, since they were in the north and the south of the state, and I hope we find them sometime.
This is my favorite picture from field school. We record the soil colors to record the different layers, either from geology or human activity. Geology, in this case.
Effects of field school: I taught about seven people to spin (spindle) and I made a change in the way I teach them. Now I am all about learning to draft first, and it seems to be a very successful method. Justin and several other people particularly Luke were bored and put bricks in my courtyard patio. It worked very well. Colin, who put himself through two years of college making chainmail garments and jewelry and trifles, was at a loose end watching people spin so I gave him a pair of pliers and a small sack of rings, and he made me a fab Inca Puno bracelet. Heather, while helping tidy my house, made several acid comments about people who have too many beads, so I made her a necklace. All these have made me more interested in spinning and beading and chainmail again. I wish I had gotten the picture of the six people spinning, and also one of the tents in my front yard. (thanks, Jessie!)
Although I was indeed home, I ignored my garden and had to do amazing weeding. The cilantro just bolted from the moment it was planted. I have a modest, proof-of-concept onion harvest, and the strawberries and the asparagus now that they are finally mulched are looking quite hopeful for next year. Not only did the Sungold tomato plant flourish, but the volunteer tomato I let survive among the cilantro stalks has also turned out to be a Sungold. They are little yellow cherry tomatoes that taste amazing, and apparently reproduce truly from seed. The Romas are tiny, dry, dropping, and afflicted with blossom end rot. It's from insufficient watering and not enough calcium, so I will concentrate the eggshells in the tomato-proposed patch for next year and try to do better on the watering. The other two varieties are developing slowly but well enough, The Cherokee Purple is an unsettling color but tastes fine.
I am very pleased with my plastic raised bed from Gardener's Supply. I bought the metal corners several years ago and have been trying to find locally available cedar planks ever since. I finally gave in and bought rough-sawn hemlock planks, which needed the stroke of Doug's loving circular saw to fit in the slots (light dawns: that's what rough-sawn means. I knew that). I am inclined to prefer wood to plastic, but the plastic one was so easy.
Right now I am trying to make another set of flowerbeds (and I will certainly grow vegetables in them, too) against a stone wall near the site of the vanished garage (burned before I ever saw this place. Left a big concrete pad where I could cook eggs on a sunny day). This involves digging, sifting the driveway gravel that has migrated there out of the mostly sand, adding soil from the big pile, and stirring the sand back in. It is not all that hard but it is very hot work and today, for instance, I could feel the wavy infra-red lines rising from the ground as I walked. So I am decided not to try until the sun is off that part of the yard, around five. I will be able to see this bed from the house, which should be an incentive to finish and maintain it.
The raised beds with real, bought-in SOIL (as opposed to the naturally-occurring glacial clay and crap common to bulldozed eskers) has made a huge difference, like I can enjoy gardening and things actually grow (besides the well-adapted raspberry-like thing that catches your ankle and lacerates your hands, Oriental Bittersweet, and crabgrass).
And I need work, but when's well over 80 F it's hard to want to be digging and I have no confidence of finding anything else and blah, blah, blah. I am bored with being depressed; it's better than it has often been but I want a lot of things I don't have and which are not for sale, anyway, although Sungold tomatoes are a great comfort. Here's another one:
I had already decided to leave the patch of raspberries behond the asparagus patch, but this was another good reason.