April 24, 2021
What with being on-call for jury duty, kid care duty, and Three of Earth Farm Airbnb grand reopening this weekend, there was no hole in the schedule for an adventure this week, in spite of a glorious spring opener in the PNW. Time to catch up with what’s happening on these four acres.
Earth Day was Thursday (hopefully we are all loving and working to restore Earth more than just one day a year), and Wednesday was the third anniversary of my mother’s death. How she loved the earth. And how I miss her.
It’s spring. I’ve pulled blackberry vines; gathered up fir branches dropped by winter storms; held last year’s sword fern fronds in my hand and bid the old year goodbye as I snipped them off to give the new growth a clear path; scraped the moss and loam off the edges of the driveway; weed-eatered vinca overgrowth and trimmed the salal hedge, pampas grass, and St. John’s wort with my sister’s new electric hedge trimmer; cleared trails in the woods around my acres (well, some of them); chainsawed fallen branches with my new chainsaw; cleaned the patio; mulched one “flower” bed; planted seeds. I’ve learned to do it all in small bits and it’s not too bad. If I keep my standards low . . . and let some things go.
And I’ve weeded and added new soil to the nine boxes in my meadow garden. A few weeks ago, as my young grandsons and I were weeding the pea box, Elliot stepped on the edge and it fell apart. My older grandsons helped me build the first three boxes in 2014 when Elliot was a newborn babe, and now the eldest is nearly six feet tall. I realized at the moment it crumbled I have no interest in rebuilding them.
A couple weeks later, I weeded the root vegetable box and the one that has become hollyhocks of its own accord. Last week I did the bean, tomato, and zinnia boxes; and this week the squash box and the undesignated one that was full of buttercup. They are all rotting and weeds have invaded. I’m done. I would rather hiking keep me from gardening than the other way round.
And hoeing out the (ranunculus sardous, near as I can ID) buttercup is backbreaking. And pointless. It’s like the virus—opportunistic.
In the beginning it was a lovely garden, and not a buttercup in sight; now it struggles. Creating and nurturing it saved me when I was caring for my mother and for her garden creations. I needed something that was mine. But this is its last year, at least in its present form. I decided that as I pulled the not-tasty strawberries out of the zinnia bed, leaving the buttercup that surrounded the box, plotting its invasion. Trying to tame a plot of meadow that wants to be wild is too hard. Besides, the vegetables are not wildly successful. I like the idea of growing my food, but I like hiking more. I’ll stalk the farmers markets and save time and money. And my back.
Last year I replaced the crumbling deer fence, so it’s good for a couple years. Maybe I’ll plant more blueberries, and maybe raspberries. I wish I had interest in beekeeping, the hives would be protected from the bear, maybe. (The honey bees are buzzing happily as I work.)
For this year, I’m replanting the vegetables, giving up the unboxed wildflower beds. To everything there is a season, and it’s time to move on; reinvent for now, abandon eventually. And make friends with the cheerful buttercup. Question is, when the time comes, should I dig up the brick path and tiny patio (in the foreground of the last photo)—which I’ve not weeded yet and is nearly hidden—or let the earth have it?
Happy weeding—or letting it go! And one more fading trillium for my mom.