By LYNNE IRONS
This past week the third and fourth grade classes at the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School began learning about corn’s native origins. They made some cornmeal in class. I loaned my hand grain grinder to the project. It was nothing short of a miracle that I was able to locate the item. Honestly, I have everything. I need to go on that show Hoarders. I have had the grinder since the mid-seventies, when I was convinced I could go off the grid and do everything myself. Being 40 years younger is always a plus.
I must admit I did get reinspired. I think I will have my granddaughter, Violet, help grind some wheat berries to make bread. Maybe we could tell The Little Red Hen to each other.
There is a beautiful stand of dead trees on the Spring Point road. They are covered with Virginia creeper which is in full color. I spent my trip up-Island last week checking out the change in season. Both Vineyard Gardens and Polly Hill have fall crocuses in bloom. I think I have planted them several times but must dig them up inadvertently when moving other plants around. I must, as does nature itself, abhor a vacuum. Any empty spot is fair game for me.
Speaking of bulbs, it’s time to order garlic, daffodils, tulips and the like. I have been perusing the catalogs. I am ordering for a big wedding in July at one of my accounts. I think the drumstick allium will still be in bloom by then. Planted in masses of ten or more they make quite a statement. I also am planning for the Casablanca and African Queen lilies. I stopped planting lilies several years ago in deference to the red beetle. I couldn’t bear using poison and the hand-picking was getting out of hand (so to speak!)
Up-Island Cronig’s is looking great in its fall finery. Both Boltonia and the fall asters combined with the grasses have come into their own.
I took a walk around my own perennial beds. I have quite a few wild asters which fill in all the holes. They are a pale blue. Remarkably, I still have phlox blooming. The David and Tenor cultivars seem to last longer than some of the others.
A big week in the vegetable garden. Finally some peppers are ripening. I have been freezing a mixture of peppers and eggplant sauteed in olive oil. I was able to make a couple of batches of dilly beans. They are a big hit in my family. I had replanted beans after the zucchini bit the dust following the squash bug attack. I planted several varieties: Haricot vert which is wonderful eaten raw; Provider, the old standby for canning; Romano, a flat, very flavorful Italian type; and my least favorite but dependable yellow wax. I was able to process several jars of each,
Marie gave me a news clipping from the Cape Cod Times of Sept. 12. Her friend Shari clipped it for her. It did not moralize but talked about the difference in having a garden (the noun) or gardening (the verb). I hope the article would make a weekender feel good about their efforts regardless of the results. It certainly let me off the hook. I love what I do in my own garden but honestly it is not glossy photograph worthy.
Big thanks to my friend Abigail Higgins. I purchased a few new laying hens from her last week. They are Black Australorps, a heavy breed which hopefully will start laying mid-winter. My aging flock fails to give me a single egg when the days get short. I can’t bear to totally replace them or put them into stew. They each have a personality and I have become fond of them. They provide the invaluable service of disposing of all my kitchen waste. The compost bucket goes directly into the chicken yard. I admit I do not have a proper compost pile. Periodically I scrape the yard and put where needed.
I am becoming anxious about the upcoming midterm elections. NPR did some interviewing across the country and found many responders did not even know they were held at all. Did anybody pay attention in civics class? The Senate Tea Party candidate in Alaska, Joe Miller, wants to get rid of the federal minimum wage. He wants the states to weigh in on the issue. Similarly, Rand Paul of Kentucky doesn’t believe private business should have to abide by federal civil rights laws. Don’t forget these people want to privatize social security as well. I guess it is a case of, “I’ve got mine — too bad for you!”
Are we heading for another civil war situation? Don’t forget it was called the War between the States.
Oh! One more thing Joe Miller was caught on tape saying: “If you want big government, move to Massachusetts.” Thank goodness I did!