Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dry and Dusty

Hello heat wave. Relaxing in chilly Nova Scotia did little to ease us into the dead of summer, although certain signs in the garden are confirming my suspicion that it got hot here early and it got hot here fast. Damn dry too, which has made me very thankful for our rain barrels. I have to say though, they have proven to be their own psychological quagmire, if I do say so myself. My first piece of advice to anyone thinking of doing this (and yes Mister Shark, you told me so) is to get the biggest damn container you can stand. Because when it really rains, a 60-gallon barrel is full in a hot second. Maybe even a hot half a second. And that's if it's empty, which sometimes it's not because I am kind of a water hoarder. B will tell you that I am an insane lady out there when it rains, running around with wet clothes plastered to my skin trying to get as much water as possible from the overflowing rain barrels onto things like cherry trees and blueberry bushes. It pains me to see that water hitting the dang grass, much like it pains me when I know there are ripe blueberries up on the Blue Ridge Parkway going unpicked. Anyway, we have already hatched plans to put a Very Large Container in the back of the house, like something that looks similar to a large space crate. We will put the displaced 60-gallon barrel up in the front with its green friend, just slightly lower so they will daisy chain together. Will keep you posted.

Speaking of psychological quagmires, this is something I have been thinking about for a while now, even before the shock of coming home to a garden bursting at the seams: the stress of taking responsibility for your own food. Because honestly people, I never used to stress out about my eggs. But between our chicken death and our chicken injury and finding organic feed for them and making sure that the girls are not totally conking out in this super hot weather, I have definitely experienced some chicken related stress. And the garden: new pests (damn Mexican Bean Beetles), watering cycles, soil quality, mulching, planting the seeds at the right time, choosing the right cultivars for our area, eating everything or putting it up for later: I can stress about all of that too. While I know that not everyone would get as stressed as I do, I think that anyone taking on these kinds of things after years of just getting food at a grocery store will get what I’m talking about pretty soon (and maybe stress isn't even the right word here). The weird thing is that up to a certain point, I truly enjoy puzzling on it all. I love figuring out why the blossoms dropped off of a few arms of the Black Krim, I really enjoy talking to smart people around here about how to best care for our chickens, and I can eat green beans every night for quite some time before I call uncle. But being aware of crossing over from enjoyable work into mental overload is something I have to keep an eye on because I will grind myself to a powder without flinching. And sometimes I have to work at letting the agricultural failures roll off me (damn seeded basil is still only an inch high – it is my new special dwarf basil). Anyway, suffice to say that I am just much more aware of what it is that we buy when we hand over money for food; we are paying for someone else to stress about this stuff for us. Maybe this is really obvious to some of you; I guess for myself I always thought that we were paying mostly for physical work – the emotional end of it, well, suffice to say that I have a seriously increased appreciation for that.

Anyway. Listen to me ramble. For those of you still awake: guess what? I got a new job. A really fantastic super job. I didn’t even tell most of you that I was after it, because wouldn’t you know that the whole application and interview (entire day, 500 different Deans of Something to meet with, a public presentation, the whole nine) went down right between Buying a House and Getting Married. I put every available brain cell into getting ready for the interview and then I promptly tried to forget it entirely, which, what with having our totally amazing wedding and wedding trip in there, I did pretty well at. But man, upon getting home, I was staring at my cell phone and literally willing it to ring. And Friday, at 5:08 pm, ring it did. Woo-f-ing-hoo.

Be well out there.


Alan said...

Congrats on the new job! That will definitely help you deal with the other stresses in your life.

rachel said...

it's funny, cause i was going to bug you just yesterday about posting something new. love that cuke! AV brought one home the other day and was so proud. he was going on and on about how big (and phallic!) it was. i didn't want to hurt his feelings and tell him that it is actually better to get smaller less, well, old ones. at least he ate it all up.

judith said...

always feel a bit goofy asking stuff here since i do not know how to get an answer but/so/and the zen element is growing on me. would love to fill out application to be someone who knows what your new job is cause it must be wonderful to make you so glad.

queenbeehoney said...

When I was reading this blog entry, I immediately thought of the study on flies that proved stupid flies live longer than smart flies. The smart flies spend so much of their energy thinking that they burn up their life energy sooner. So when you get stressed, just think, "buzz, buzz, I'm a dumb little fly. think i'll go find someone to land on and irritate them for a little while. buzz buzz. think i'll just take a little nap here."

Name that book: "He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore....."

cake said...

i can relate to the anxiety, and enjoyment of puzzling over gardening and food choices.
congrats on the new job.