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So this is the time when we talk about gamboling in the fields, on edge with excitement about all the vegetative life about to burst through newly mounded garden beds, right?
OK, I’ll give you a taste of all that — the spring update — quickly. As of this week at Dew Point Farm:
The first five beds are prepped for planting, with green beans and snow peas already lining the first bed.
The greenhouse, at our properhome is filled with trays of spring crops-to-be, including all the things you’ve come to expect from us, like kale, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, as well as some new experiments, like a small melon that has promised us its vines won’t conquer the entire farmland.
We’re already munching on some microgreens, thanks to the mild first couple of weeks of spring.
The second phase of fruit trees for the front orchard is in the ground. This is the result of tremendous efforts by a great team of volunteers who came out on the Monday after Christmas to ensure we got a surprise sapling delivery in the ground before a hard freeze. The new trees, including a few peaches, are all healthy and happy. Thanks, loads, to all these guys:
OK, now all that splendor-in-the-grass stuff is done. Now I can tell you what’s really been going on of late…
Truth is, we’ve both been knocked onto the back pockets of our dirt-stained blue jeans for the past two weeks, thanks to the very thing we’ve spent the cold winter hours waiting to get back into.
Yep, the Great Outdoors is great not just with splendor and space. It’s also great with allergens.
Fever-inducing allergens. Chronic-headache inducing allergens. Sore throat and coughing up viscous matter allergens. The stuff that wells up so mean in your body’s various breathing tubes that you have to slink into a waiting room and actually utter the phrase “post-nasal drip” to a grown person in a white coat.
Nature can be a real mother. I took it particularly hard, but with a regimen of steroids and antibiotics, I’m again among the walking — and raking and planting.
Listen, we do feel a legitimate stirring in our chest when we look at the brown-black earth as we’re about to plant it. But the sucker-punch Nature struck us with this year has been, if nothing else, a great reminder that as much as we like to wax poetic about her beauty and grandeur, about the glory in the unfurling of spring, the truth is she can be reckless and merciless.
But thankless? Nah, that’s not in play.
This allergy junk, it’s not malice so much as it’s just the nature of nature. The pollen from the grasses and trees? They’re not little spite-bombs fired at our nostrils and lungs with the intent of infecting our crania. They’re just trying to reproduce and do their natural thing. “Hey man,” says Mr. Ragweed, “I’m just trying to survive.” (If pressed, he may sheepishly admit, “Well, and get it on, yeah.” But it’s hard out there for a pimp.)
Jenn and I might like to think, as we painstakingly follow organic growing practices at the farm, avoiding broad-spectrum pesticides, hand weeding, refusing to till the ground for fear of disturbing the careful infrastructure just a few inches down, and all that, that somehow we’re doing Nature a favor; that she somehow owes us for not splattering her with Roundup. Truth is, we’re still using her. We’re still discouraging the survival of stuff that we don’t like, to the point of grabbing those plants by their little green necks and pulling them out of the ground to wither in the sun. We’re still fostering the growth of the stuff that we do want so that we can then harvest (aka rip off) the fruit that is its attempt to reproduce — so that we can cook it and eat it.
All of our environmental practices are not doing the planet a favor but doing it less harm. And as far as we’re concerned that’s the price of admission for life on the Earth. That, and maybe the $10 co-pay to visit the doc for that steroid regimen once a year.
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“Proper” always being relative where we live, in Bibb City.
Who were almost all girls, for the record.