Garden tales, part one

I’m aching today, but not as bad as I anticipated. It’s always good to make things out to be worse than they might be, that way when they turn out bad they don’t seem as awful because you spent all that time imagining the worst. Kind of like how when my family moved from upscale Lancaster PA to a cabin in downscale Leadmine WV and my mother told everyone what a dump it was and then when they came to visit us they were like, “Wow! This place is totally cool—not at all how I was picturing it! You guys have running water and drywall and it’s downright civilized!”

Or, it’s kind of like childbirth. If you think you’re going to cry and scream and slap your husband in the face and swear at the nurses and die and then you don’t, you feel kind of proud of yourself.

And anyways even if you do cry and scream and swear, once you’re holding that wrinkled little monkey-faced baby all of that doesn’t even matter anymore.

Sometimes it pays to anticipate the ugly.

All that to say, I don’t ache too bad today. But! I still am sore enough that I figured I deserved to take it easy. So we’ve done homeschooling (I called a holiday yesterday) and I ran to the greenhouse (to get more plants to stuff in our overflowing garden—yes, I have a problem; no, I’m not going to do anything about it … except complain) while my sis-in-law watched the kids, and I fed my children Swamp Monster Soup for lunch.

But back to the garden. I thought you might like to see what “getting outside to plant the squashes” means. I first made five hills of dirt and showed the girls how to stuff the seeds in the top of them. Then I hauled a load of straw, a bag of old newspapers, and a bucket of water down to the squash patch and I set about mulching it. I dipped the newspapers—several pages thick—and laid them down in the valleys between the squash mountains. And then I piled on the straw, nice and high.

Shoot. That didn’t sound all that hard. But it did make my back hurt.

(The only problem with my little system is that it didn’t rain last night like it was supposed to and now today is windy and the straw is lifting up and the papers are blowing away. I had to run down to the field to collect the sheets of old news, re-cover the ground with them, and then shovel some dirt on top to hold them in place. After a soaking rain, they should pack down good and stay put. I think.)

When Mr. Handsome came home, I gave him a tour of the garden. He was impressed. Which was gratifying. As we passed by the chicken coop, he exclaimed, “What did you do—plant that chicken?”

I took a closer look. It certainly did appear planted.

But then it stood up and looked at us cock-eyed. So it wasn’t planted after all.

I’m rested up now. Time to go pot my Impatiens and petunias.


  • Jennifer Jo

    Vehementflame: Jewelweed? I don’t know what you’re talking about! Oh! Do you mean the Swamp Monster Soup? That’s spinach and garlic soup. What IS jewelweed anyway?

  • KTdid

    It’s hard to remember what dreadful tales I heard about Leadmine before we came to visit…the visits are so dear to my memory.

  • Sarah

    I’m so jealous of all your planting. I’ve only been working hard at keeping my plants alive with all of the hailstorms, sleet, snow and high winds we’ve been having. I planted lettuce and spinach weeks ago and they’ve barely poked their heads out of the ground. Too cold and frighted to grow! It looks like we’re going skip spring entirely and leap right into summer.

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