By LYNNE IRONS
Let me just correct last week’s column. It was congressional representative from Georgia John Lewis, not Hughes, who led the three-day civil rights pilgrimage to Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham.
My crocuses are in full and glorious bloom. My personal favorite is Pickwick. It is a lovely pale lavender with dark purple stripes. I planted several varieties in the past few years mostly as a first food for my honeybees. Wouldn’t you know, my hive perished last winter? I have been saddened by all those crocuses going to waste, so to speak. I noticed there were a couple of bees late last afternoon. Therefore I am happy to report that someone else’s hive is enjoying my plantings.
I ordered six new packages of Italian bees to share with my friend, Sharlee. They should be arriving by the end of May. My equipment is in sore disrepair but Fala Freeman was kind to share quite a supply of new frames and boxes. I am pressured to use a rainy day in the assembling of new hives. I confess I have never been bored a day in my life. Lucky me!
I had been champing at the bit to get something into the ground. Now, granted, the soil is still not quite ready but that didn’t stop me. I transplanted some turnip seedlings. I was able to rake back some hay mulch and tuck them into the earth on a sunny morning. It made me feel happy and secure, nevermind slightly smug. The soil is still cold so I most likely will loose the crop to root maggot. Such is life! Perhaps a sprinkling of wood stove ash will thwart them?
I noticed my tulips up about six inches. It is time to haul out the sprayer and deer repellent. In one night the rascals will eradicate the entire patch as I know from past experience.
I may have the word “sucker” tattooed on my forehead. After 20 years of raising rabbits, they finally all died. I took apart all the cages with relief and an oath of “never again.” I was happy to use their droppings in the garden but talk about complicating a freezing winter’s day what with bursting ice and dividing up carrot peelings. Never mind all that. My granddaughter coerced me into another bunny who now resides in the house. Have mercy!
Last Saturday was the 30-year anniversary of the meltdown of the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. It happened just three months after the release of the movie The China Syndrome. Governor Thornberg was wise to order all children and pregnant women out of the area, even though the powers-that-be said it was perfectly safe.
I am delighted that Michelle Obama has decided to put a vegetable garden at the White House. There has not been one since Eleanor Roosevelt started the Victory Garden and created a whole generation of gardeners. There was a great Diane Rehm segment a week ago Thursday on this topic. A guest, whose name escapes me, runs Great Kids’ Farm in Baltimore. It is 33 acres and is connected to a student-run cafe. Several urban schools are involved in the farm to school curriculum. The idea is to teach children from farm to fork, especially the urban poor, who have no experience in food production and, like many, are disconnected from real food. In many urban areas there are no grocery markets — only fast food restaurants and convenience stores.
As you know, the farm to school project is taking off here on the Vineyard. Some of the Island’s elementary schools already have their own gardens. The charter school is having a community work day tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to get a vegetable plot up and running. Thank you to Reuben Brown and Curtis Chandler for clearing the wood from the area and to Vineyard Gardens’ Jeremiah Brown for stump removal. John Keene took all the debris as his gift to the school. Hopefully tomorrow the beds will be built, fencing installed, and all will be inspired. It is wonderful to think that world consciousness can be built with local concerns.