What a week it’s been! Super busy week at work and equally busy week at home tending to the ducks and chicks, walking the dogs, keeping the house clean and finally gettin’ to some gardening!
I grew up among a family that loved to garden and it’s an activity that I’ve really connected to as I’ve gotten older. Patience is a trait I struggle with cultivating within myself, but gardening is one of the best teachers I’ve found. Plants grow as plants grow and they survive and thrive as they will, provided their tended to with care. A good garden takes decades to build, cultivate and sustain and every year my garden shares another lesson in patience with me.
Last year Maple and myself carved three tiered beds out of the upper hillside and transplanted 30 raspberry bushes that a friend gave us. We had what could best be described as a ‘cute’ harvest; about 35 potatoes, 3 mini-squash and about 8 strawberries. This year Maple and myself have been anxiously checking in on the garden to see what came back. So far we’re zero for strawberries and squash but the rhubarb and onions are coming back fine. So far about 7 of our raspberry bushes are coming back. Instead of getting frustrated thinking about the lost 23 bushes I’m soothing myself by remembering how quickly raspberry bushes spread; our seven bushes will become, in a few years, a beautiful, robust raspberry patch. Patience, I’m learning you.
Maple and myself worked out where we were going to put in another big bed and where we’d extend two existing beds. In these four beds we’ve planted fifteen pounds of seed potatoes and six or seven squash plants (along with the already existing onions and rhubarb). Good, hearty plants seem to do all right in our clay soil, which, over the few decades we’ll slowly cultivate (through compost and gardening) into rich, fertile soil which will happily grow all sorts of marvelous food. Patience, I’m learning you.
My favorite potato variety that we planted this year was the Huckleberry – looked like a sea anemone had sprouted from these potatoes.
I’ve started naming our layers, now that we’re sure that most of them are going to make it through. I decided (and Maple agreed) that naming all the layers after Norse gods would be fun; many of these names are names that we love but are not 100% sure about for kids names. By the by, this exact same logic is how our dogs ended up being named Gunnar, Snorri and Sabine.
So far we’ve got Freya (Goddess of love, fertility, and battle) and, though I’m trying not to play favorites, I am particularly attached to her and the other little Sussex runt. (I spent the first few days of their lives obsessively making sure they were getting enough water and food and that the meat birds were leaving them alone). Now she and her sister Sussex are smart and spry. Freya is easy to spot due to the big red swath on her crown.
We’ve also got Thor (God of thunder and battle) the largest Sussex, whose feet are covered in down feathers. Thor actually looks vaguely ridiculous but does he care? No. HE IS THOR.
The other little runty Sussex who has a smaller streak of red on her head but white spots all over her wings has been named Vör (Goddess of wisdom) and the smaller of the Buffs has been named Tree (Goddess of Life).
I’m already looking forward to yelling all these names as I’m trying to shoo the chickens indoors. My friend Mol recently told me that she loved the idea of myself and Maple being that ‘vaguely ominous’ couple in the children’s story (the one every child in the neighborhood is convinced is a cannibal but it turns out they were just making jam in the barn). I feel with the oddly named chickens, large amounts of bones, and the eerie shed (way back on the property) I am getting closer to this trope.
When I was a little girl the folklore of Baba Yaga terrified me. However the older I get the more I’m able to see the fuller picture of the old women of the woods: they’re crankly, hermited and spend a lot of time creating sculptures/art/hobbies that an outsider might see as vaguely creepy; they are the old age to which I’m looking forward. I’m happy to join the peer group of women in huts that can run around chicken legs (which would be pretty awesome, no?)
Cheers and Love,
Maple and Me