May 31, 2011

Pinching Myself

I'm going to dare and write a sentence that is not usually found among these pages:

Things are going quite well on the farm.

Thanks to the addition of the new fence around the garden, it looks like I might get more than three beets this year.

Here we have about six rows of radishes and four rows of lettuce (also unheard of before the new fence -- the deer have good taste).

Next we have the second round of tomatoes in addition to some peppers, on the left, all weeded and mulched and supplied with drip hoses. On the right, that large, leafy plant in the foreground is one of our signature volunteer sunflowers. Behind it are two rows of beets straddling a wide row of arugula (or "rocket" for those of you across the pond).

For dinner, we had some of said lettuce, radishes, and some of the lovely herbs that are also thriving.

In addition to the garden successes, in this same week, we sold our hay from last year. (We're one step closer to breaking even on that score!)

The rain, which has been a little too much for most people around here, has made it easier for us to weed and keeps things growing in our little microcosm.

The garlic and onions and aronia berries are all doing well.

After a couple of years of strategic abandonment, the clematis are a profusion of color.

Even the long, lost kitty, Tsarmina, returned to the fold! (While she was away, her six kittens went to that great cat box in the sky, but we'll save the negative stuff for one of the many other blog entries about the farm.)

May 16, 2011

A Wedding and Four Funerals

The Wedding

Last weekend, my cousin got married in California. It was a most lavish affair. A goodly number of us cousins flew out to witness the fine nuptials.

But not all was sweetness and light.

Funeral Number One

Given the timing of the wedding, I was pressured to plant about 100 tomato plants before leaving for California on May 6th. Given that our last frost date is usually around April 24th, and last year's was actually March 30th, I figured I was safe.

Ha! (You're never safe when farming.)

There was a freak frost the first night that damaged my beautiful seedlings. It was followed a couple of days later by 97-degree heat which did them in completely. Two plants remain. No worries. I have another hundred or so that will take their places in the garden. I would have had too many tomatoes if the first batch had made it. Yeah, right. How can you have too many tomatoes?

Funeral Number Two

Time. Money. Sleep. Yes, it was one of those vacations from which one needs a vacation. I swear I won't do this ever again. The next vacation will be relaxing and fun and restful.

Funeral Number Three

My Mom looks up at her little brother in this photo taken three years ago. Since then, however, my Uncle Frank has been fading, both physically and mentally. The brother she has known for over 70 years is gone.

Funeral Number Four

The innocence of youth can be buried after this visit.

About 15 of us cousins grew up spending the summers together. But that was 40 years ago. We have all gone our separate ways and grown apart. After three days with one aunt and uncle, we realized that the ties that bound us together all those years ago do not exist anymore. It was made clear that we were not welcome. I will not see them again.

I am reminded of the old joke about the man who opens the door to his hotel room only to find the place covered in thousands of bottles of Angostura.

When he goes back to the front desk to complain about the state of his room, the concierge replies, "I'm sorry, Sir, but you have to take the bitters with the suite."

Such is life.