Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Of muck and melons

Let us all raise a cheer for the s.o.'s new truck. Yesterday it allowed him to carry home lumber from the lumberyard. Today it enabled us to pick up a load of free composted horse manure for my poor benighted squashes, melons, and pumpkins.

The riding stable where we got the manure was called Sunnybrook Farm. And unbelievably, the owners' daughter turned out to be named Rebecca. Talk about a storybook childhood! Rebecca, in jodhpurs, directed us to the best, most rotted pile of manure, and we shoveled a heap of it into the truckbed.

We need the manure oh, so badly. This year I planted all the cucurbits in a new section of the garden--an area that had not been dug in previous years. I dug in as much Black Kow as I could afford at the time, but of course it was not enough. The soil, overall, remained hard red clay. The squash plants were not thrilled. They have grown slowly and grudgingly.

They are also playing tricks on me. I don't know if it's cross-pollination or what, but the zucchini plants (which are next to the yellow crooknecks) are growing 50 percent green zucchinis and 50 percent yellow ones. That probably has nothing to do with anything, but I thought I'd mention it.

After this evening, the tricks may continue, but the grudging growth should be a thing of the past. I dug in generous amounts of horsey compost all around the plants, then watered it all in liberally. I expect rampant squash.

Speaking of which, the only cucurbits in the old section of the garden are my Picklebush cucumbers. They're thriving. Some of them are already mini-gherkin sized. They will start coming fast and thick soon.

I had a "moment" this evening while I was watering the garden. I was just standing there, looking at the new moon and watching the chimney swifts tweeting through the sky. The s.o. was nailing plywood panels onto the chicken house. I pulled a couple of Parmex carrots, hosed them off, and ate them. Suddenly the feeling washed over me, how it was a perfect, perfect evening and I wished it could last forever.

I don't remember experiencing these knock-you-down moments of pure unadulterated joy in the past, but lately they are more and more common. I must be doing something right.