The weather continues bone dry here in southern New Hampshire. Ana has formed off South Carolina, but seems bound to stay south. Our first chance of rain seems to be Sunday night, when the front to our west finally nudges past with showers.
Our day began nice and warm, which I don’t mind, especially as a hot day sends the black flies to the shade. Also it loosens up old joints and stiff muscles. At noon it was pushing 80° here, even as Boston climbed to 71° and then fell back to 59° as winds came in from the chilly waters to the east. I’m not sure at what point a sea-breeze graduates to a back-door-cold-front, but we weren’t there yet.
I’m getting fed up with our five chickens. This week I planted roughly 40 feet of onion bulbs the size of marbles, (10 feet purple, 10 feet white, and 20 feet yellow), and they seem determined to scratch them all up. The onions don’t seem to mind, as the soil is so dry they aren’t even thinking of sending out roots. I replant them, giving the chickens dirty looks. I think there free-range days may end for a while. Not only do they mess up my planting, but they no longer lay their eggs in the proper place, and have a hidden nest somewhere I haven’t been able to locate.
I got 100 feet of potatoes in (25 feet pink, 25 feet Kahtadin, and 50 feet Burbank Russet). I did give the kids a demonstration of how you cut them up, making sure to have 2 eyes per piece, but once that was done for a few potatoes I switched to my lazy-man approach.
Over the years I’ve run into various problems with cut pieces of potatoes, and decided to skip problems, and the bother of cutting them, by planting whole ones. At the feed store they have barrels of potatoes, and I rummage through them and select the smallest ones, around the size of golf balls. When you plant a whole potato it seems to skip the trauma of recovering from a wound and to throw all its effort into growing. Also the fact the initial potato is small doesn’t produce small potatoes, but rather you can get ten large potatoes from a surprisingly small beginning, provided you feed them and keep them watered but not too wet. I hill them several times, and just before I do I sprinkle rotted manure and wood ashes down the row.
Also I transplanted 40 lettuce seedlings (20 black Simpson and 20 butter-crunch). My lazy-man approach there is just to dump the tiny seeds into pitting soil, skipping the problem of weeding and thinning in the garden, or individual pots indoors. Before the seedlings are too large I dump them into a bucket of water, turning the roots into threads amidst mud, and carefully seperate the tangle and plant them individually in soil which is weed free, because it is recently tilled. I water a lot after transplanting, especially when the soil is like this year’s: basically dust.
I planted my spinich the old fashioned way. Even though the soil is tilled and weed free when you plant, by the time the seedlings appear the seedlings of what seems like thousands of weeds also appear, and you have a job on your hands.
As I worked in the hot sun I abruptly felt a cool breeze waft by. For around an hour the cool wafts alternated with warmer wafts, but then it suddenly was downright chilly. The back door front had passed. The amazing thing is that it can drop 20 degrees in half an hour, and the sky doesn’t even hold a cloud as the front passes.
In the hot garden a cool breeze wafts by
And I immediately smell the sea,
Or so it always seems in my mind’s eye.
My old nose can’t smell shit, in reality,
But so evocative is the cool touch
Of wind that I hear gulls just down the road,
Though the shore’s sixty miles off. Then how much
Do I want to be a boy. What a load
Of chores my garden becomes. I just want
To escape school and be utterly free
of spelling, typing, and choosing what font
Will turn my dreary prose into poetry.
As a boy I fled dryness for what wets.
The more a man learns the more he forgets.