By LYNNE IRONS
While sitting once again in traffic, I was developing a bad attitude. I began seeing weeds, dead flower heads, planters needing water, and general neglect all over town. I was thinking, in a darkly humored moment, of pointing out some of those places in next week’s column.
Then, I had a rude awakening when pulling into my own driveway. Talk about glass houses! I put the proverbial Band-Aid on a couple of beds. I weeded about a foot along the front and mowed the lawn. What a difference! I promised myself to, at the very least, remove the dead sticks from the spent daylilies. They look particularly untidy.
Last Saturday afternoon, I attended the memorial service for Maynard Silva at the agricultural hall. It was a great send-off to one-of-a-kind.
I have had an asparagus patch for more than 20 years. I started it from seed and had prepared the area in the suggested manner. I double-dug the rows and filled them with really good homemade compost. Some of the stalks can be over an inch around. According to conventional wisdom, after a couple of years, the bed can be cut for a week. The next year, two weeks, and so on until finally established after several years. I cut it hard for two months this spring and, as is its custom, it went to fern. I planted some tomatoes in the same area. Now the ferns are so enormous I can barely find the tomato plant, never mind the ripening fruit. I decided to cut down the ferns and begin harvesting the spears once again. I need the space and light in the bed. One can only hope I won’t kill the roots. Next spring will be the test and you know I will be whining and carrying on about it if the plan fails.
For years I worked as a waitress in a local restaurant. It could be described as the Ellis Island of the Vineyard. All the washashores in the early and mid-seventies went through it in some form or another. The stories that could be told concerning the place are legion. If I ever wrote them down in book form, I would entitle it Is It a Fishy Fish? with the subtitle, It Is Just Dinner.
I knew I had enough when I had the following encounter one too many times. Believe me, this story would be better told verbally, but don’t give me a ring.
The two washrooms were not designated according to gender. Many times the patron would have to be reassured that it was just like at home, in fact, they would be alone in there. After witnessing scores of folks pulling, in vain, on the door, I would suggest in a friendly fashion (one works for tips, remember?) “Have you tried pushing?” Two different people, my last summer there, inquired, “Which way?” to which I responded, “We push like this around here” These people drive in automobiles on the same roads as you. Perish the thought.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Vegetable gardening. I cut the green beans almost to the ground. They were covered with the yellow fuzzy bug. The chickens enjoyed them. I salvaged about a half bushel of very beany beans. They were too big to dill and still too nice to be discarded so I cooked them in a big pot of chicken stock and froze them floating in the stock. I figure they will be a nice addition to a long-cooking winter soup. Some had fully formed white beans inside but were still green and crisp outside. I am hoping the cut stubs will regrow and give me another crop in six weeks. I watered and fertilized the pathetic sticks and hoped for the best. Just in case, however, I planted another package of haricot verte in the section of the garden where I had pulled all my raccoon-destroyed corn crop. Have I mentioned how much I loathe them?
I learned a valuable lesson that you beekeepers would want to heed. The other day I needed to set a super (a hive box) on my very active hive. The cat had used my beesuit for a litter box. Welcome to my world. I had to wash it and therefore, didn’t get to the task until late in the afternoon.
The moment I put my tool into the hive to pry open the top board, an enormous swarm came out of the front and seriously attacked me. They stung me right through my suit and in the little creases around my neck. I did the only thing possible: ran like a mad woman into the bushes and began shaking myself like a dog against leaves to remove them. The lesson here is never open a hive as it is about to get dark. Oops! I made a paste of aspirin and slathered myself.