The new falcon herald logo.
General Articles

A generous season

A gentle rain is falling. It’s evening now and all is quiet. Too quiet. With every passing moment, the garden, the malignant garden – is growing. I’ve warned friends to stay away. The squash vines just might be growing faster than they can run. Savvy visiting friends know about our squash problem and lock their cars, lest the back seats somehow become filled with zucchini, neatly stacked like cordwood. Luckily, the watermelons aren’t doing so well. Their vines grow so fast that the melons wear out dragging along the ground.My wife has far too green a thumb, way too much of a good thing. She tries to blame the old chicken crap from our hens for her bursting garden beds. I tell her that is ridiculous. “If chicken crap could cause such growth, we’d have redwood trees at work.” Regardless, her pansies and cosmos have hurdled the log end edging and are marching out into the gravel drive. I’ve warned her that I’m close to classifying these as noxious weeds and getting after them with Roundup and the weed eater, but her pleas for mercy melt my resolve. Meanwhile, Johnny jump ups huddle and plot from under the front deck.The garden is planted right up to our bedroom windows. Just outside, huge waving zucchini leaves and six to eight foot sunflower stalks resemble the flags and standards of a besieging Roman army. Snapdragons crowd the bottom edge of our living room picture window, peeping in at us. Petunias and marigolds riot on the front deck. “I don’t know what to say,” my sweet bride offers, “they’re mostly volunteers from last year’s flowers coming up on their own.” Apparently, the volunteer plant army is being all it can be.Friends, practical friends – engineer friends have tried to warn me off gardening. “With the time and money invested, you’re way better off just buying your produce from the store.” Yes, people wonder why we’d spend hard-earned money on garden tools that unfortunately fit our hands, so that we can then engage in backbreaking work and come in at day’s end with socks black around the ankles. And then my logical, practical engineer friends wonder aloud why, at the very least, why I would be a willing accomplice to my wife’s folly? “Waste of time and money. Waste of time and money.” I hear it again and again.But it’s a hobby. Last year we pulled in over 200 pounds – wheelbarrow loads of winter squash (and I love the stuff) from the garden. The squash in our root cellar lasted clear into May. We buy vegetables only 12 weeks a year. Not practical perhaps, but how many hobbies pay any dividend at all? I remember my wife laughing and saying spaghetti squash is $1.79 a pound at the market. “We’re squash millionaires!”I think of my very practical friends, none of whom garden, and I remember that old saying about folks who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. You see, the simple reason I am her willing accomplice in this annual summer madness is that it makes her happy. She comes in under her huge sun hat, a rose blush to her tanned cheeks and grinning from ear to ear. “Have you seen the peas today? The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye. Come!” She takes my hand and together we step out into that golden evening light and survey the garden and its eager, optimistic and leaping growth.Fall comes, then a touch of frost and the squash vine’s leaves collapse like damp tissue paper. The squash turn a deep golden yellow on the vines, and we bring them in. Ultimately, even the hardiest plants succumb to winter’s inexorable icy breath. The days grow short and winter wears on. The trees, naked and skeletal, beat their knobby sere branches against our west windows. Wind moans around the house and snow crystals pile up in drifts on the deck where once in misty memory, we sat taking it all in, drinking tea and breathing sweet, moist evening air.I come in from feeding and breaking ice off the animal’s water with chapped cheeks and a cold, dripping nose. Shucking my snowy boots, I pad over and do the wood stove hug. Closely encircling but not touching the hot stove pipe. Water sizzles as it melts off me and patters onto the stovetop. Warmed but still damp, I sit for dinner. The wind rises, and our stove pipe shudders. In pitch blackness, snow hisses against the window panes. Smiling proudly, she sets it all before me. Our squash, bursting with flavor, awaits my fork. Before I even touch the chicken, I dig my fork into a hot, sweet, buttery mound of summer.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers