yeah, pretty lame excuse

​Hello good friends, and my apologies for dropping off the face of the earth without a word. My thoughts are simple (as might be evident); I didn’t have anything interesting to say. If it wouldn’t interest me, I can’t expect it to interest someone else.

And then I kinda got sucked into the whole lazy thing.

The garden has wound down. Last night was our first real freeze. Frost on the windshields and brown pepper plants.

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I’m waiting for the rest of my free brown materials to fall from the sky. In the meantime, I fashioned a large leaf-collection bin, made from 20-some year old materials that were sitting in the barn waiting for their moment in the sun.

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The cold brings out the chainsaw. I use only deadfall trees from the property for firewood, and the scrub trees that die and fall are usually dry enough to use the same year. This year has been a little lean as far as deadwood. There was a nice big oak down, but that has to season till next year. It might just be a year for buying a little wood that some other fool cut up.

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I’m coming to the realization that cutting and splitting firewood in quantity is a younger man’s game. Somewhere along the way, I messed up my wrists and thumbs, and handling a chainsaw doesn’t suit me for long periods, nor does crawling around on the roof cleaning the chimney. But I’ll keep picking at it until I have to say uncle.

There’s not much activity in the garden. My fall cover crop mix is doing its job without complaint. After watching the deer happily grazing on last year’s crop, I decided to strategically place tomato cages to nip that kind of thing in the bud. So far so good.

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I planted garlic and shallots today in the space occupied by this year’s compost bins. And the lettuce plants that I sowed indoors in August are hitting their stride under a cloche.

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It’s good to be back in the saddle. But I reserve the right to be lazy at any time I choose.

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the weird neighbor

There’s probably one near you. Someone who collects cats or who has strange noises coming from his house at night. The one who causes you to elbow your better half and grin at each other.

Last evening I had the alarming thought that I might be that guy. I was busy in the garden. Looked up and noticed my neighbors across the way talking. Good guys. Trays of cookies at Christmas, graduation parties, friendly chat, heck they’ll help out in a second if you need them.

But what must it look like over here in my garden?

Sprinklers mounted six feet high on green metal stakes. Rows of wire and more stakes holding up lifeless picker-bushes.

Plastic tunnels. Three foot wooden bins. Windows lying on the ground. Just lying there. Small enclosures covered with bubble wrap. More than a dozen big wire cages, some half full of leaves. The other day Wayne came over and smiled politely at the chicks in my…outhouse.

And here I am, shuffling leaves from one spot to another.

Oh my God. I AM that guy.

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Well. Try to remember what it looks like when you can’t see any metal or wood and everything’s covered in green. And take Wayne a dozen eggs.

[in Just-]

it’s
spring
and
         the
                  goat-footed
balloonMan          whistles
far
and
wee
I’m really not a poetry guy at all.  But I remember [in Just-] by E. E. Cummings from back when I was [in Just-] my young person days.  Those lines make me happy.
The snow is receding here in southern Michigan.  But I can see green.  The cover crop is working even now to loosen up that block of ice beneath it (mostly the rye).  But in just a few weeks…
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It never ceases to amaze me what some plants can endure.  The spinach that I planted last fall is doing better than it ever was [in Just-] a thin shell of plastic, after enduring temperatures of -20°, and the coldest February this region has ever experienced.  My iron pipes should be so durable.
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Yours,
the goat- footed balloonMan.

cold frame spinach

Last season I got around to planting the cold frames late.  November.  Yeah, not real smart in Michigan.

Consequently, there weren’t any fresh greens from the garden during the winter.  But those little spinach babies sat there through the monster cold (-15 degrees, and sustained misery, months and months) and they sat there and sat there, just poked through the soil.

And then in March they decided it was safe to party.  It was a bumper crop, a perfect way to welcome spring.  I even decided to try late planting again this year.  Learn from mistakes, and pretend you meant it.

cold frame spinach