(click to enlarge)
Another scorching hot day, with temperatures above 90 (F). I put in some corn and beans, pacing myself and actually enjoying the heat. All the work was by hand; the garden is big, but not big enough for a tractor,
I put the corn in blocks, five rows of 25 feet that will ripen August 8, five rows of 25 feet that will ripen August 15, four rows of 25 feet that will ripen August 30, plus four rows of around 40 feet that consists of small blocks of “indian” corn of various colors, including the small-eared “strawberry corn” that kids like to pop. Barring an invasion of deer (or attack by my goats,) the kids at the childcare will have the satisfaction of eating a lot of fresh corn. That always seems to be a hit with them.
They also like shelling beans, for some reason, so I planted 200 feet of shell beans, plus 50 of butter beans and 50 of “dragon tongue” string beans.
Tomorrow I hope to get in all the squashes, cucumbers and pumpkins. The crookneck summer squash, shell beans, and first corn all tend to get ripe around the same time, and then we make a big pot of succotash, which is a traditional Algonquin dish mixing the “three sisters.”
There is a round depression in an granite outcropping above the barn, and I can recall old-timers arguing about whether it was made to hold a post for a post-and-beam barn, or whether it was made to grind corn. It is the only sign Algonquin might have farmed our land before us, though the early settlers also ground their own corn in the manner Indians did.
The kids have been excavating a huge pile of stones that have been thrown out of our garden, over the past two hundred years, but so far nothing all that old has been found. However I did find a long, thin hunk of rust in the garden, and when we brushed it off it turned out to be the front fork for a bicycle. I guess it was around fifty years old. The kids were very enthusiastic, and said we should start a museum. I got a wry feeling about that, as I’m sixty and the bicycle might have been mine.
On the weekend, in the silence that seems so strange after a week where it is never silent, with the kids always noisy, I do feel bit archaic, as if I’m old and part of something older. I often wonder who tilled this garden in the past. There is a sense of being a steward, working a patch of land you will hand off to someone else, someday. It is very different from the feeling of a suburb.
As I worked the sky was only touched by a few little dabs of fluff, passing in the hot wind, and it seemed none were growing enough to shower, but late in the afternoon I heard a growl to the west, and that spiced the rest of the day with the fun of urgency, as I hurried to beat the little growler.
The above radar shows it was the only storm in all of southern New England. Usually storms pass just north or just south of us, but this small one nailed us. (It is the one right on the southern border of New Hampshire.) It had a couple good bangs, but the sun came out after ten minutes, and was low enough to tease me out from under shelter to see if there might be a rainbow. Then there was a good, brief deluge, when I was out in the garden, well away from the slelter. It felt good to get wet after all the heat, and I didn’t bother scampering back to cover .
Because the sun was shining brightly it made flashing diamonds of every drop, and also made the rainbow come very close, as a rainbow does when you make one with a garden hose. I suddenly noticed that the ends of the rainbow were not over a distant hill, but right in my own garden.
That’s good. I don’t have to travel far, to find my treasure. The pot of gold is right where I am. (Likely it is my carrots; they are the only gold to be found, digging this ground.)