Of course, she knows there are still critters under the snow. She never finds them, but she sure does sniff around under there.
Something’s been here, Mom.
Something touched this piece of grass.
I love the way her ears flap when she runs.
Since our house sits right next to a large pond, you can imagine that we get a variety of water foul around here. We have our regulars, the cormorant and the Canadian geese, but then we also encounter a variety of duck who come and go, as well as the occasional egret and even once, and osprey.
These are our most recent visitors, not as skittish as most others, who enjoyed the day eating at the “human’s side” of the water.
“Spent hours in the sun in the garden plot, clearing out the what-ifs, if-onlys, weeds & tomato stakes of 2011 – reviewing the waste of seed, space, energy & time… After last year’s great garden failure, I didn’t know if I’d be trying again. But I will. Why? Because in the end, I need that time in the sun in the garden plot.”
Since I hope to revive my blogging by writing about our garden this year, I suppose the above recent facebook post is a good a way to start as any. I finished the garden season last year defeated, with no harvest to speak of since spring leaf lettuce, and minimal amounts of canning done only due to the generosity of other successful gardeners.
I can sincerely say that our third-year garden, for which I had the highest hopes, was a complete waste from the moment the leaf lettuce bolted. Saddled with a fledgling business, Frank’s ailing father, an early spring break away for me to help my mother — all could have been worked around , maybe.
Then came the wind storm. It flattened tomato stakes and bean poles. During the repair work, we discovered another problem, one which we did not diagnose soon enough — stink bugs.
Within a small amount of time, the battle was lost. The new rototiller sat quiet, beneath a wash tub cover. In August, Frank’s father’s health took a down turn, and by September when he died, we had long given up on the garden. If there ever were any edible peppers among the tall grasses, the deer ate them.
I often found my groove in the garden in my past years, but not last year. Heading into this past winter, I had no thoughts or desires for a garden. Time previously spent canning or drying and saving seed for the future was time spent — with other thoughts. Past dreams to be a regular vendor at the farmer’s market were quiet and faded, seed trays and gardening tools were tossed haphazardly into the outbuilding some time in late November before the holidays.
But in January, the days were unseasonably warm, and when the seed catalog came, I half-heartedly paged through. But it sparked….. something. And the next unseasonably warm day, when I went out to feed the hens, I wandered on inside the garden’s fence. Tomato stakes teetered askew, mammoth sunflower stalks bent over, picked empty by the local birds. Tall grasses had flourished and gone to seed, fallen over under snow, and now matted the entire garden floor.
It was a sorry, sorry sight.
And while Daisy sniffed among the matted grass for ground moles and field mice, I began clearing stakes and strings and cages. While I hope to have a great garden and grand harvest this year, as we have known in the past, I have also come to realize — a gardener gardens to garden. We do it to dig in the soil, to smell the earth, to soak the sun, to work our muscles, to clear our minds.
The harvest is not the only reward.
Life has been a handful lately, and it doesn’t show signs of letting up any time soon.
More than two years ago, Frank stepped up to help his father through some health issues. Of course you expect improvement, but sometimes it seems it’s one thing after another. Complications, reactions to medication, tests, follow-up tests, appointments, follow-up appointments, therapists… And then of course there’s the paperwork that comes with each and every little thing. You look for every step to get you moving uphill, but in many cases it’s more like a roller coaster — up, down and sideways.
In the meantime, readership of the magazine just keeps growing. We became the largest independent publication in the state without even knowing it. We simply kept trying to meet reader demand with the budget available from our advertisers. As the magazine grows, it needs more of our attention, but right now, our attention is often elsewhere.
It’s all been very challenging, to say the least.
The world of health care and elderly services is daunting and frustrating.What is covered, what isn’t. What is necessary, what isn’t. What’s been considered, what hasn’t. What meds have been taken, what needs to be taken. What’s the symptom, what’s the cause. Many days the question simply stands at, “What now?”
And delivery — even with school letting out and gas prices dipping a little — is always a challenge. It takes six days to get each issue delivered, (rain, hail, sleet, snow, flood, etc.) and it seems as though there’s a crisis of some sort around here every four days or so. Funerals, flat tires, the flu — just to name a few.
This week we missed a day of delivery waiting for a stool sample. That should explain the ebb and flow of our lives right now.
I don’t share this information to say, “Woe is me.” I share it to explain:
We’re not currently at our business best.
If you call and get our answering machine, please leave a message. We could be as close as the garden or hay field (if the sun is shining), or as far as Morgantown Medical Center or a clinic outside Columbus, Ohio.
If I don’t return your call or e-mail quickly, or seem a little distracted or rushed when I do, please don’t consider it my typical behavior. It is possible that a day or two might pass before I get to even catch up on phone messages, and I might not check my email until 11 pm.
If you miss seeing us on delivery and tire of finding bundled copies have been left on your doorstop in the night, please don’t think Frank and I are avoiding you. We enjoy visiting with our friends on delivery routes, but it takes less time and less gas to deliver them in the middle of the night than in the traffic of the day.
If you are wanting to pitch a new column, request my help or services on a project, or ask me to volunteer, or research or direct my attention to something new — forgive me if I cringe or duck and run for cover. Now just is not a good time. (Please check back later.)
We’re juggling at maximum capacity, and though we’d love to do more, deliver more, add more, sell more, post more, market more, network more, serve more, reach more, harvest more — right now we’re focused on what we have at hand -
Family, home, garden, clients.
And with that, we’ve got our hands full.
- The 'Two-Lane Life'
- The 'Two-Lane Paper'
- Two-Lane Writing