Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Sweetheart and I just sort of stared bewildered by it all. There were still so many things we needed to do before winter. We had outside work, but also there were apples to pick, elderberries and plums as well. Our first freeze happened just a few days before I left. It's after that first freeze that so much of the fruits around here ripen. I knew it wasn't worth picking them before I left because they would just sit and rot while I was gone.
Thankfully, we've been given a reprieve. And we've been keeping quite busy with it. I haven't been doing "work" work like Sweetheart has outside, I've been planting flowers. Lucky me! A few weeks ago, the lady that writes the gardening column for our local paper did a shout out for me asking for extra iris bulbs people were thinning out for fall. She warned me that they could be like zucchini and I might quickly become overwhelmed. I laughed and said, "One can never have too many flowers!"
I may have to eat my words, just like I have all those zucchinis from our 28 zucchini plants this summer. We ate the last fresh one the other night. I froze about 60 cups for winter baking and the rest we sold at the Markets or fed to the chickens.
Back to the iris. As I drove out of town to Boise to catch a plane I stopped at the Library a few towns south where people had been dropping off their extra iris for me. People are generous. And have a lot of iris apparently. Oh. My. I loaded up most of the back of the truck with boxes and bags of bulbs. This is addition to a generous box of bulbs from someone in my town.
I started planting on Monday morning while everyone else ate breakfast as it was light outside and finally not raining or snowing. I worked for awhile blanketing the south side of the house. And then laughed because I had barely put a dent in the first box.
I worked and played inside with everyone until naptime and started planting again. Sadly, I cannot have Cupcake outside with me while I work. Hopefully, next spring we'll get a fence up separating the yard from the road. It was a wreck when we moved in (like everything else!) and got ripped out when Sweetheart chopped down all the trees in front.
I planted more iris all along the front porch, really packing them in. And a bunch went around the cute barn mailbox out by the road. This finished the first box and some of the first bag. I added lots more to the south side. Then I started walking around with my shovel and a few more bags.
The boys joined me sometime while I was planting drifts of iris around the barn. They played Hobbit and protected me from the bad guys (the chickens) while I planted. Sweetheart meanwhile worked on the fencing for the chickens for winter. They've been too free-range this year and have spent most of their days across the road. I know why the chicken crossed the road: to get to the irrigation ditch.
We then headed over to the pond. (Thank you, Eileen, for that idea!) I dug and planted, dug and planted and dug some more. The boys played happily down by the water throwing rocks, finding shells and other treasures like a part of a door lock, an old sock, wire, etc. It started sprinkling on us a bit so I dug faster. We headed in after I had planted the rest of the bulbs I had with me the boys picking up apples as we walked.
We headed in and I cracked some walnuts for the boys to have with their apples. Hobbits eat a lot apparently. Sadly, the walnuts were not as big of a hit as I had hoped. This is sad because I have a five gallon bucket of walnuts sitting in my kitchen. Five gallons is a lot of walnuts.
That same neighbor dropped off a second bag of grapes yesterday along with some really delicious elk steaks which I grilled for dinner last night. Sweetheart had done some work for him and he paid in food. Nice.
Yesterday was another beautiful day and so the boys and I headed back to the pond with a few more bags of bulbs. They continued to play while I planted. It was so delightful. They are so much fun. And funny. They continued their Hobbit adventures and treasure hunts as I ringed the pond with iris.
We then moved onto the grove, after a fierce battle with the Uriki in which I defended us with my trusty shovel and a few kicks. The boys were impressed. I love that they think it's great fun to watch Mommy kick the air and play with them.
I planted a few iris in a special area I like to sit in the grove. It was just a few because it is such a shaded area and I am not sure they will grow there. Also, there were so many roots the ground was almost impossible to dig. Made me appreciate even more all the work Sweetheart did this summer working on the ditches in the grove!
We worked our way up the grove to my tub where I planted all the rest of the bulbs I had with me. It was simply an amazing time, really connecting with the earth. I was muddy certainly, but there was a sense of holiness as well. Here is this earth I am turning over, holding in my hands. Earth full of life that will bring forth new life, nurturing it all.
I have been thankful for the rain as it softened the ground. Without it I wouldn't have been able to plant a single thing. I wish you all could just see it. And smell the freshness of it all. It's almost indescribable.
In some areas I had to sweep away blankets of freshly fallen leaves. Then I sifted through all the past autumn's gifts decaying, enriching. Tall, thick grasses in some spots made it impossible to even see the ground. Moss thrives here as well. Once I could see earth, I cut into it with my shovel, pulling out clumps of crumbling clay and dirt, worms wriggling. I tuck in a bulb, gnarled and dead looking, Then I work the earth I removed into smaller pieces, pressing them back around the bulb.
And I smile.
I have no idea how many of these bulbs will grow. I have no idea what colors they will be. I simply hope nothing will dig them all up and eat them. I plant, having faith that they will bloom again. It's a good lesson for me as well.
See, I have been uprooted, torn from the place I loved. I had grown well there. I liked my life in that place. I was comfortable, I didn't even notice how crowded it had all become.
And then we moved. This isn't where I wanted to be. This isn't a place I know, or even understand some days. It's hard. And I don't particularly like hard. It's rough and dirty and yucky here. And there are days when I want nothing more than to go back to my old, comfortable garden.
Visiting places that were once home brought all that back again. The reality of all, and whom, I've left behind, hurt. Getting to simply visit with people I love and desperately miss was wonderful, and painful. And the time was so short.
But, even while there, I knew. I wasn't home. I missed home. Here is where I belong now.
And in this wide, open place, I must grow and bloom and hopefully flourish.
And find a place to plant the five remaining boxes of bulbs.