By Mary Honrud
For the Courier 

Life-Bringing Rain

 


We’ve had some measurable rain lately, and so I’m avoiding (ignoring?) the garden for now. It’s still chilly with a damp wind. I know it’s muddy, and I really don’t feel the need to get taller by packing the gumbo onto the bottoms of my shoes. So, wonder of wonders, I’ve done a bit of housework. There’s still clutter, of course, because we live here. Our home will never be a showroom, and while I can be a perfectionist in other areas, I would never want everything in my house perfect at once. I’d find that stifling to my creative juices.

After soaking my asparagus row, before the rains commenced, I’d managed to get that row weeded. Weeding asparagus can be challenging, especially right after harvesting the new growth. The stalks are to be cut off at ground level, so it can be hard to tell where the root systems are. If you try to dig out weeds, you could damage those root systems. After a good soaking, either with your hoses or by natural rains, weeds can be easier to pull. The birds plant a lot of thistle-type weeds, pre-fertilized, in that row. Those roots are usually pretty straight, so they’ll pull easily. There’s also a lot of bind-weed, and those roots are anything but straight. I don’t think I’ll ever eradicate the bind-weed. Chemical warfare might do it, but I’m hesitant to employ that. I don’t want to poison either myself or the wildlife with which I share my yard. So I’ll continue to pull the tops off those weeds and do limited digging to get some of the root system out of the ground.


The west side of the garden, under the fence-line, has also been (mostly) weeded. I was rained out before finishing the last 10 feet or so. By the time I get back to it, I may have to rework the entire length before installing the weed block cloth on that side. At least it will work up much more easily after having been worked once. I find using a garden fork to be much easier than a garden spade. The tines are easier to get into the ground and they break up the earth as you lever the chunks up. I found several volunteer baby asparagus plants there where the winds had sent their seeds last fall. Most of them have been transplanted into the proper row. (Some went to other gardeners earlier this spring.)


Of course I’m finding lots of rocks along the edges. During my early years of gardening I’d chuck the large rocks over to the edges rather than gather and haul them away. Nowadays I push a small bucket alongside me as I weed, and toss the rocks into that. When the bucket is full I carry it to my wagon, while stretching my legs. After the wagon is full of rocks (and broken up tree branches blown down by our lovely winds), I pull it to our driveway. I’ll find a low spot to dump the rocks. I find the wagon much more manageable than the wheelbarrow ever was. I’ve yet to accidentally tip the wagon over.


The raspberries are in full bloom now. When I’m out there working near them, there’s a steady buzz from the pollen-gathering bees. I like that sound, just as I like listening to the chirping of all the birds. When the birds fall silent, I know there’s a hawk or falcon cruising through. I like watching them glide overhead, but dread seeing one of my songbirds snatched from life.

The young robins and grackles are venturing out from their nests. They’re gaining confidence in their wings and their new-found independence. When I stumble across one of them, I’m never sure if it’s me or them that’s more startled. We both squeak in alarm.

The lawn was freshly mowed right before the rains started in earnest. Of course the entire yard will need mowing again once it dries up enough to fire up the mower. One thing about mowing (or yard work, or laundry, or housework, or dishes, or cooking, or farming) is there will always be more to be done. So take breaks and enjoy what you have accomplished.

 

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