Sunday, June 30, 2013

weeding, not weeding, and listening

The past few days have been full of coming and going in and out of the garden. Given that the garden is requiring, but not necessarily receiving, a lot of weeding attention and that it is finally providing substantially for our meals, it is a busy place.

In the moments that I have had the time to be out there, mostly bent over a patch of weeds, I've been listening.  These are the sounds I remember most from a day spent in the garden.

I heard some loud chirping, clearly of numerous baby birds, coming from one of the birdhouses on the posts of our garden.  I had noticed a few days ago that one of the houses was full of small twigs and I wondered if babies might soon be born in the nest.  As I weeded a tomato patch close by, I began noticing that there was an adult bird coming and going, carrying worms.  The chirping always started just before the mother arrived, as if the babies had some way to sense that she was close by even before she arrived.  The chirping would intensify as she landed outside the house, and then fall completely silent after she went in.  The silence would continue for a couple of minutes until the chirping began again.

The peas have gotten so tall that Jonathan and I needed to add a higher trellis for them to climb.  And the pods are filling out.

Most of our meals now include a bowl of peas on the the table.  We often joke about how Julia, not necessarily a green vegetable lover, loves garden picked fresh peas and gets her year's worth of green during garden pea season.  She likes them when they are small and young and sweet, before they get large and slightly bitter.

With my head in the beet row, forcing myself to consider thinning them (I have a really hard time with thinning) the garden gate opened and closed over and over again as Julia dashed in, grabbed a handful of pods, either ate them right there, or tucked them in her dress, and ran out again.

This year, I have been better about successive planting so that as these peas have gotten quite tall and will likely be gone by soon, there's another patch almost ready to be trellised.

We use our own compost, rich with chicken manure and bedding supplementing our kitchen scraps and yard trimmings.  But I don't think I always let the compost cook enough.  Evidence of this pops up everywhere in the garden beds.  Tomatoes, squash, and melons emerge where I did not plant them.

We call them rescue vegetables.  They are what grows from the compost seeds that survive the decomposition process.  Like thinning, I do not have the heart to pull these invaders out either.  So I always end up with some as-yet-to-be determined type of squash popping out of the lettuce.  While weeding the lettuce patch, and the rescue squash, I listened to Julia and Elliott standing nearby collecting a small batch of peas to take with us on our visit with Grammie.  They decided they wanted to add some herbs.  Elliott asked what the one they were trimming was and Julia said it was thyme.

Elliott, wouldn't it be cool if, in a Wrinkle in Time, when they are explaining tessering - wouldn't it be cool if they held a piece of thyme and folded that to show the wrinkle?  asked Julia.

And the last sound, the sound of late last night, was our first pesto making party of the summer.  Brought on by realizing that our arugula and cilantro were bolting and would soon be past their prime.  The wiz of the food processer, with the kitchen windows open and it being cool and completely dark outside was the last sound from the garden for the day.

See?  Noisy.  And good.

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