Tag Archives: gardens

Ode to a Tool: My Mother’s Hoe

16 Apr

I loved this hoe.  Loved it.  It companioned me through many long, hot summer gardens.  Through early spring and late autumn gardens as well–a go-to companion.  Together we could dig-chop-weed-hill-cut anything.  And Sunday it broke.  I heard the first tell-tale creak of wood giving way and tried to ignore it.  But with the next chop into the bed I was breaking up, the neck broke.  And I was stunned.  Too stunned to continue working.  And so I reflected.hoe1

This was my mother’s hoe.  She treasured it beyond the beyond.  But somehow it ended up with me after an afternoon of working in her hosta bed.  This happens.  Unintentionally.  I seem to have the uncanny knack of walking off with things.  Lighters when I smoked.  Pens.  Pencils.  Scissors.  People who know me know it’s simply a thing I do without malice, forethought or intent.  I’d like to say she gave it to me with her blessing.  Asked me to “go forth” and do good work.  But that’s not the case.  Simply put, I don’t know HOW it came to be with me.

But I acknowledged my mother every time I used it  Must have said a hundred times to numerous different people, “This was my mother’s hoe.”  And I don’t remember anyone seeming the least bit curious about that.  About why I would mention the hoe’s origin.  And truthfully, I don’t know either.  Except it seemed important.  Seemed to honor both–the tool and the person.

I know how to fix this hoe.  How to burn out the old broken neck part.  Or drill it out.  But I don’t think I’ll do that.  Played with the idea of burying it, but don’t think I’ll do that either.  So for now it’s resting–a long needed rest I’d say–and I’m telling again the origin of this tool.  This was my mother’s hoe.

hoe 2

Groundhog…woodchuck…whistle pig

26 May

I’ve been watching this guy watching the garden. He’s been watching it. I’ve been watching him. He’s a blur in this picture–the blur dead center because I was in the house, looking through a window and the screen…a dilemma. DSC01259

Co-existence is important to me. So is living in harmony with my environment. But I have history with groundhogs–have provided them more meals from the garden than a reasonable creature should expect. My general m.o. is live and let live. Make room for. Scoot over. But my experience with groundhogs and gardens is that they don’t know when they’ve had their share. Don’t know when to stop. Don’t stop, in fact, until everything is GONE.

And now, since this garden is getting to the really ripe stage, I decided the groundhog needed to be relocated. Baited a hav-a-heart with cantaloupe and set it out in the back yard. Something tripped it during the night. False alarm. But this afternoon, just a little bit ago, I glanced over to where the trap perched on the side of the bank, and truly, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
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Poor thing was freaking out. Panting. Pacing. So I moved the trap into the shade. In my thinking, I hadn’t gotten this far–had not figured out what I would do if I DID catch something. Fortunately my sister was generously willing to help me relocate the fella. And now he’s down the road a bit, in a lovely glade on the banks of Hominy Creek. Hopefully far enough away so that his internal compass won’t help him find his way back.

And the trap is back on the hillside. I know there are more and I think how nice it would be if I caught all of them and the family could be reunited. That bothers me. Taking him away from his family. It really bothers me.

And the cloth…this spring garden cloth…is coming on. Seeds planted. Awaiting stitches.
spring garden

These Things–and a bit of cloth

6 Apr

Four days ago I agreed to foster a dog just released from a puppy mill. Today, four long days later, I’ll tell you it’s not a pretty picture. Juno. She is one and a half. She has NEVER been outside of a plastic crate. She knows nothing about outside. Or inside. Or anything else.

I’m not going into why I decided to foster–but I am examining my motivation closely. All that matters right now is that I’m in this situations, right now right here, with a very wounded, frightened, anxious scared creature. Until last night, she paced. Constantly. Non-stop. Back and forth. Room to room. Skittish as a deer. When we would meet, her feet would spin out on the hardwood. A blur of panicked flight or fight trying to about face and get away. Keeping my back to her helped. Crawling on the floor around her helped a little. She seems desperate to trust and starved for love. Wants it. But just can’t believe it’s possible. Lunges at my hand, a blur of a tongue kiss, and then she’s gone. Hit and run bonding on her part. And it’s all going to happen on her time table. Here she is. This is the view I get most often:
usual view

Hope and I were in the garden this morning. I cannot let Juno out just yet. The world is too big. Too scary for her. Too overwhelming. But she missed us. Barked when we came in. Sitting on the floor, I asked her to come. Hope makes that hard for her to do.hope and juno

But Juno came a bit closer. Quick kiss. Then gone. front Last night while I was flat on the floor trying to convince her I was just a bigger version of herself, she came closer. Not close enough to pet, but closer. She sat. Her eyes started drooping. They closed. And flew open again in alarm. She has not slept. But now, look. This is a miracle:
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I’ve got to be very quiet. The slightest noise causes her to recoil. Jump. Become vigilant. The crates belong to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. They’ll be returned at some point. But right now they’re trying to remind me of something. Something like “fencing in or fencing out?” I’m not sure. And this is the view from the room where I sit right now.

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The garden sits up on a hill behind this house. Every week, Dirt Devas come and work in it with me. They bring things. Wonderful energy. Joy. Food scraps for the compost. Horse manure–bags and bags. Raspberry starts:
golden raspberry

Bamboo:
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During the week–I putter–anticipate needs like this low “Hope Fence” to protect the herb patch– tend the seedlings. Water. Watch.
hope fence
But on the weekend I need to be prepared because the Dirt Devas want to work–and they work hard. Yesterday holes were dug for tomatoes. Deep holes. Dirt mixed with well-aged manure. My next door neighbor loaned us “water walls.” Plastic sleeves that have channels which can be filled with water–passive solar. He said we can set out the tomatoes now–it’s very early–but he swears he grew tomtoes in January–in Illinois–using these water walls.water walls
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A structure for training sweet potatoes
sweetpotato

and new starts of Swiss Chard.
chard

The rest of the pictures here are to remind me of what the garden looked like in April 2014. And to remind me that cabbage, lettuce and broccoli can survive 18 degree surprises.cabbage and broccoli

the hugelkultur bed:
lettuces and radicchio

preparation for the winter squash bed

winter squash

turnips planted 3rd Saturday in March. Waning moon. Frigid cold snap followed.

turnips

last year’s woad,

woad

this year’s red bud,

redbud

and mullein.

mullein

But cloth? I almost forgot. The moon cloth has morphed again.
moon
And a lighter one, romping in the light of the moon.

intosp

Neither any where near finished. Hardly begun. Because right now…just for now… just until… there are other things . . . .

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