By LYNNE IRONS
I have always loved keeping up with current events. I like to know what goes on in the world around me. I am partial to gabbing in coffee shops and in checkout lines. I used to practice saying names of foreign leaders so I looked good in conversations. This raid on the fundamentalist Latter Day Saints’ compound in Texas has my attention. Aside from the moral and legal implications, I am following the sociological and physical aspects. Granted, the photographs are few. There is a notable absence of men, also known as the perpetrators.
What fascinates me is the total lack of anything resembling color, joy, and creativity. Four hundred children live there and there is not a bicycle, basketball hoop, or jungle gym in sight. The children’s bedrooms are rows of bunk beds without so much as a colorful blanket. There are no pictures on the wall, flowers on the tables, or overflowing toy boxes. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of human expression.
The grounds are even worse. How do they eat? There are no visible vegetable gardens, livestock pens, and certainly not a flowering shrub. In contrast, last week they tore down Lester Babtist’s house on State Road in Vineyard Haven and there was a determined forsythia clinging to life at the foundation amidst the rubble.
I asked Marie Larsen about her in-laws’ field of daffodils. She promptly gave Mary a ring and found that they were there when they bought the place in 1948. Plan a drive-by this week to Beetlebung Corner.
Once again, the Magnolia soulangeana at the bottom of the Edgartown Road is spectacular. Actually, the entire block into Vineyard Haven looks great. Love Lorraine Parrish’s pink house!
It has been a relief this week. I have thrown caution to the wind and neglected to close my cold frames and greenhouse at night. A few nights, I did get up and check the thermometer and hoped I would not have to find a coal miner’s lamp and trudge around. I am not brave enough to get those tender annuals into the ground yet. We always have to be on the alert in April and May, especially around the full moon.
I attended the Slow Food potluck supper last Thursday night — yet another night of serious good eating. Because we try to eat local foods at these events it was amazing how many egg dishes were present. Everyone’s chickens are in high production. I was happy to be able to share a salad of lettuce I grew in my greenhouse as well as some home-made goat’s cheese.
We had a couple of presentations of interest. Whippoorwill Farm is once again accepting applications for the Community Supported Agriculture program. A family buys a share now which enables the farm to purchase seed and supplies to get started. In exchange the family gets food and flowers weekly for an extended growing season. Those who participated in the past say it was well worth the investment as the food is fresh and plentiful well into November.
Also, a new endeavor this summer is Flat Point Poultry. For a deposit of $5 a bird, one can order fresh chicken all summer. You can find them on the Web at flatpointpoultry.blogspot.com., or by doing a Google search on “Flat Point Poultry.” The chicken will be raised according to the Joel Salatin method. A bottomless pen is moved daily across a pasture. This ensures the cleanest and most natural way to raise meat and still keep it safe from predators. My experience with so-called free-range chickens has been disastrous, thanks to the hawks and raccoons. I close my hen-house every night and provide lots of cover for them during the day. Luckily, I have a huge crow population which keeps the hawks on the run.
I was thinking about how gardens are never finished: the gardener has to move away or die. I rented my present house in the early 1970s supposedly for a year or so. I had just become obsessed with gardening. Against conventional advice, I planted fruit trees, a perennial bed, and a grape arbor. I tried to develop a philosophy that even though I would be leaving shortly, someone else could enjoy the fruits of my labors, and, perhaps, I would move somewhere after a person of like mind. Life took some strange turns and I am still enjoying those grapes.
I don’t know why any of you believe me. I carry on about how effortless various gardening chores can be and give all sorts of advice and hints about tossing something into the ground and just walking away. Well, how come I can’t move in the morning?