There is nothing quite as wonderful as early fall in the garden. I haven’t blown it for next year yet, mistakes that have been made can be corrected, and plant material can be moved around with abandon.
On the job sites, we are moving several of the overgrown ornamental grasses. Some of the clumps are the size of my kitchen table. Although it is a bit early to cut them back we have begun in order to see what is nearby. Some are entirely too floppy.
We were thinking of thatching some shed roof with the huge piles of debris. I was hauling a large and heavy tarp the other day when I broke into the humming of the Volga Boat Song. I once read a biography of Harriet Tubman, A Woman Called Moses. There is a passage where her master harnessed her to a mule pulling a barge along a canal. He placed wagers on her performance. As we know, she became a major conductor in the Underground Railroad. She credits some of her stamina to that experience. I, however, needed to take an aspirin at the end of the work day.
The charter school does a super job with the scarecrow contest. I am in awe at some people’s artistic ability. I hope someone publishes all the photographs and descriptions. The theme this year is literary characters. I loved the Owl and the Pussycat in front of the Bike Shop.
At a recent event Red Flame grapes were served. They are seedless and delicious. I don’t believe I have purchased grapes since the seventies. I was on the boycott grapes bandwagon to support CésarChávez and the United Farm Workers. It has never occurred to me to buy them, since eating my own Concord grapes is interesting. I wallow them around in my mouth, spitting out seed and skins. I do, however, make awesome grape juice. Bring the clear grapes to a 190-degree simmer, pour through c heesecloth, and sweeten to taste. Yummy.
I’m crazy about the true garden mums. I’m talking Clara Curtis, Penelope Pease or Sheffield Pink varieties. They are just beginning to bloom in my garden — at least three feet tall. I prefer them to the expensive bomb types sitting next to a big old pumpkin on the front steps. Every year at this time I promise myself I will pinch them back in June but never remember. Maybe I should reread my column, especially to prevent endless repetition.
I noticed the garden at Nip ’n Tuck Farm has emerging winter rye. I hope I toss a few pounds about on my empty beds.
Last weekend Marie and I planted several varieties of garlic. It was so satisfying to rip out spent tomatoes, replant and cover with hay. The harvest of those bulbs will take place next June or July. We ordered several different varieties from D. Landreth Seed Co. of New Freedom, Pa., America’s oldest seed house since 1784. We are trying brown tempest, Romanian red, xian, ajo rojo, nootka rose, inchelium, California soft neck, and elephant. We made a map so we will be able to compare and judge (as if)!
I’ve had it with the election. It’s not over until it’s over, but between the pundits and the polls why bother. Locally, I find it hard to believe we are considering not taxing alcohol. Where will all the money for treatment of substance abuse be found? The whole tax issue is fascinating to me. The same people who want to abolish the government want Obama to find them a job. I think I used this quite a few weeks back but it bears repeating. Bill Cosby said, “A word to the wise ain’t necessary; it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.”