|The tractor path to the farm. The pile of soil is behind the barn.|
Spring gardening is a test of strength. Beds that I prepared in the fall need raking and tilling. New beds mean hauling wood and soil and manure from the farm next door. None of that sounds particularly strenuous because hauling, raking, tilling are just words. They tell nothing about trying to pick up a 6'x4' post with arthritic hands, dropping it, trying again, trying to find purchase without thumbs. They don't let you see how hard it is to drag an iron rake through soil that's been compacted by winter snow and ice. They don't come near to explaining the yank on the shoulders, the blisters on the palms, the strain in arm muscles as you pull a cart full of manure-rich soil across a long stretch of bumpy terrain. Everything is easy when you just talk about it.
|The new raised squash bed.|
I managed to shovel two loads of soil for a new raised bed into my little Garden Way cart (a salvaged gem from the Transfer Station) this morning, haul it from the farm next door to my little hillside garden patch and rake it smooth. Yesterday I'd tilled the pea patch and untangled the wire-draped posts that held last year's vines. I abandoned shovel and rake for a hammer and holding one post at a time, pounded the sharpened ends into the ground. See how easy that sounds? It leaves out the slipped hammer, the bruised thumb, the twist of the waiting post that grabbed the back of my sweatshirt with a jutting piece of wire, the hole in the sweatshirt and the choice words I had for the joys of gardening.
I took a lunch break and sat on my outdoor swing, contemplating the pea bed. The posts were standing straight but the line created by the unyielding chicken wire was a tad crooked. Surely pea seeds don't care if they grow in a slight curve. They'll reach up their cute little tendrils and grab on just as avidly to a crooked wire as a straight one. So sayeth this experienced pea planter. I know because they did so last year and the year before that and the peas were plump and sweet in spite of their serpentine rows.
|The crooked fence,|
|Last year's crooked peas.|