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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What You Were Too Polite To Say Yesterday

Yesterday I published photos of what I called my “home gym” and in doing so revealed my shameful gardening negligence, surely to the horror of any serious gardening viewer/readers. That rocky, worn-out soil! How can she hope to produce anything edible in that dry dust?

Well, it’s true: I have not kept up with the garden, and it deserves better. The year I first dug it (all by hand), the ground was as hard as concrete. By the following year, thanks to heavy mulching that first season, there were earthworms. (I was very proud of that.) Then for several subsequent seasons, an annual application of rich worm castings from the compost pile and continued mulching kept the tiny area productive and healthy.

Okay, time to get back on track! Monday’s #1 task, then, way more important than laundry and lawn-mowing, was getting down into the compost pit, digging deep, and hauling the rich compost to the poor old garden.

Earthworms. Don’t say “Yuck!” They are my “little buddies,” my partners in production. They work for free, never take a day off, and their joy is my joy. They are beautiful in my eyes.

If worms aren’t your cup of tea, how about the contrast between the worn-out and the amended soil, one on one side, the other on the other of this row of volunteer chard?

I thought I was too tired to read last night, after gardening and weeding and mowing and laundry and dinner prep and cleanup and much more mowing, but managed to get through another 30 or 40 pages of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. At the rate I’m going, it probably will not take me all summer, after all.

One last note for today is about a new blog in my list: Charles Nelson, a California engineer, is also a graduate of Northport High School and member of a large local Norwegian clan, and his posted thoughts cover a wide range of subjects. Read his report on this year's local asparagus here. Only today he enlarged my store of local knowledge by telling me that Stubb’s (restaurant and bar), across and down the street from Dog Ears Books on Waukazoo Street, was named for a real person named Stubb, who ran a bar and poolroom there for many years.

What I already knew is that Woody’s Settling Inn, across the street from Stubb's, was not named for a real Woody but for Woody Allen, who never had a connection with Northport other than being a favorite movie-maker of Clayton Weeks who bought the old Hotel Bar years ago and remodeled and renamed it. The former Woody’s building will be torn down (eventually) to make room for the Northport Area Heritage Association (NAHA) museum.

Not confused yet? The building housing Dog Ears Books and the Painted Horse Gallery, the old garage building at 106 Waukazoo, is owned by Woody Palmer, and there is no connection between Woody Palmer and the old Woody’s down the street, but Woody tells me that the Painted Horse Gallery will open again for the 2010 season, and that’s good news.

Now, are you ready for the quiz?


Dawn said...

ummmmm? Well I'm glad the garden got spruced up! And you had a nice neat ROW of volunteer chard? Wow! Good thing those chard volunteers knew they were growing in a book sellers' garden, so they could stay organized and stuff...

upwoods said...

Darn! Just lost my first comment. Will try again.

congratulations on your gardening, Pamela. It must be hard to find time to do both the gardening and work at the bookstore so many summer hours. Does your husband help?

P.S. We are headed out in the garden in a half hour. Carrot, beet & kale planting time.

P. J. Grath said...

Dawn, I guess it would be more accurate to call the chard 'overwintered' rather than 'volunteer.' It's in a neat row because I only broke off leaf stalks last year and did not pull up whole plants. You know that my organizational abilities are already strained to the max, just trying to figure out which paperbacks to put where in the spinner racks!

Kathy, David's gardening help is pretty much limited to questions and suggestions. But when it comes to cars or anything with engines, he's the man, and I'm the one standing by, handing him tools when asked. About time? I can find time for outdoor work much more easily than I can find time for housework. Isn't that funny?

torchlakeviews said...

When I was little I had a complicated method for enriching a garden. I'd dig for worms, drown a few while fishing for panfish, forget the stringer of panfish by the back door, come back later and realize I'd better hide the evidence, and go bury the fish in the holes I'd dug for the worms. It was very satisfying, for no reason I can discern at this distance. Still, I'm pretty sure your way is better.

P. J. Grath said...

Your way makes a much better story, Gerry. (Not surprising, coming from you.) It reminds me, too, of my neighbors in Traverse City years ago. One of the boys in a family of 10 liked to fish and from time to time would bring me--not catfish; what were they?--that he'd "snagged" in the creek. I'd pay him some nominal amount and bury the fish in my garden near the corn rows.