Apr 30 2009

Time to Stare


Lately, Roger and I are frustrated by how little time we have to watch our plants grow, appreciate the beauty of spring, and talk aimlessly.  This morning’s “Writer’s Almanac” poem is by William Henry Davies.  It reflects my frustration.  No wonder that our ideal idea of a summer vacation is a week of absolute uninterrupted peace.

LeisureWhat is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Apr 22 2009

Paper, Scissors, Stone


OK, I know it’s a stretch, but it does mention gardening in the first stanza, and it seem so appropo for these times.  Swiped from this morning’s Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keilor, used without permission.

Paper, Scissors, Stone

by Tom Wayman

An executive’s salary for working with paper
beats the wage in a metal shop operating shears
which beats what a gardener earns arranging stone.

But the pay for a surgeon’s use of scissors
is larger than that of a heavy equipment driver removing stone
which in turn beats a secretary’s cheque for handling paper.

And, a geologist’s hours with stone
nets more than a teacher’s with paper
and definitely beats someone’s time in a garment factory with scissors.

In addition: to manufacture paper
you need stone to extract metal to fabricate scissors
to cut the product to size.
To make scissors you must have paper to write out the specs
and a whetstone to sharpen the new edges.
Creating gravel, you require the scissor-blades of the crusher
and lots of order forms and invoices at the office.

Thus I believe there is a connection
between things
and not at all like the hierarchy of winners
of a child’s game.
When a man starts insisting
he should be paid more than me
because he’s more important to the task at hand,
I keep seeing how the whole process collapses
if almost any one of us is missing acheter cialis sur internet.
When a woman claims she deserves more money
because she went to school longer,
I remember the taxes I paid to support her education.
Should she benefit twice?
Then there’s the guy who demands extra
because he has so much seniority
and understands his work so well
he has ceased to care, does as little as possible,
or refuses to master the latest techniques
the new-hires are required to know.
Even if he’s helpful and somehow still curious
after his many years—

Without a machine to precisely measure
how much sweat we each provide
or a contraption hooked up to electrodes in the brain
to record the amount we think,
my getting less than him
and more than her
makes no sense to me.
Surely whatever we do at the job
for our eight hours—as long as it contributes—
has to be worth the same.

And if anyone mentions
this is a nice idea but isn’t possible,
consider what we have now:
everybody dissatisfied, continually grumbling and disputing.
No, I’m afraid it’s the wage system that doesn’t function
except it goes on
and will
until we set to work to stop it

with paper, with scissors, and with stone.

“Paper, Scissors, Stone” by Tom Wayman from The Face of Jack Munro. © Harbour, 1986. Reprinted without permission.

Apr 19 2009

Seeds In The Ground, Finally


Apologies, dear reader(s), for the long delay in posting…the list of distractions is long and varied.  Suffice it to say that the things keeping me from writing have, sadly, also slowed my progress in the garden.  The quick update: The seed-starting venture in the basement is enjoying mixed success; mixed no doubt because of inattention.  There will be a number of (hopefully viable) things to plant, but there have been a number of casualties as well.

Outside, two weekends ago, we had a productive fence-post session.  The holes are all dug, and about half of the wooden posts are set.  I screwed up and picked an 8′ where one of the 10′ should be, to frame the gate.  I’ll have to pull it and replace it.  CJ and Luke were a huge help with the heavy labor.  Meantime, I tilled the whole garden over.  As it turns out, it’s a little smaller than I thought when I stepped it off; 37′ wide by about 48′.  Plenty big enough.

So yesterday, despite a weekend-full of intense prep for CJ’s Eagle Scout ceremony, I managed to get most of the afternoon free to get back into the garden.  We had knocked together three 4×8′ frames for raised beds.  They’re made out of typical framing white pine (no pressure treated!), so I coated them with boiled linseed oil for protection.  I set the first one into the garden and planted onions, radishes, lettuce, carrots, and spinach.

It’s nice working with the short 4′ rows.  Maybe, finally, I’ll become a decent succession planter, which is something I’ve never been good at.  I’m looking forward to using the beds to segregate and rotate plantings.  We’ll start with six, and add three more in the Fall.  And then the back of the garden will be more open and free-form.

The plan is to put the other five beds in next Saturday.  We’ll see.

Apr 19 2009

Kale is Delicious. . .really!


We ate kale from our greenhouse tonight.  Unlike the leafy greens from the grocery store, this was a vegetable I would eat often.  There’s a great article about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) in the most recent issue of Urbanite Magazine.  Author Tracey Middlekauf begins with the line:  “Serious about eating local?  Better learn to love kale.”  kale


Apr 15 2009

A Happy Thought



Apr 8 2009

Baltimore Garden Feeds Our Daily Bread


The Baltimore Sun reports that Mayor Dixon has been planning a 2,000 square foot vegetable garden for City Hall–twice the size of Michelle and Obama’s White House garden.  Who would have figured that vegetable garden could become a competitive activity.  Ours will be somewhere in the middle, @1776 feet (total garden–not total planting area).

Check out the story:


Apr 8 2009

Prison Fencing


The guys spent all Sunday digging holes and setting fence posts.  The fence will be much higher than I originally imagined.  The fence will be deer-proof for certain.  rogerposts3