Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Vegetable Beginning

My second summer here at Busy Solitude Farm I had a terrific garden. I grew eight kinds of tomatoes, three kinds of potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatillos, brussels sprouts, something like twenty or twenty-five different vegetables.

Since the end of 2006, I have really not had a vegetable garden. An excessively wet autumn in that year left my plot standing under water, gradually forming a crust of cement-hard dirt, and that plus a foot injury made the prospect of digging in 2007 simply impossible. I suffered the lack of home grown tomatoes, chard, potatoes and on and on. My determination to fix the problem grew.

The autumn of 2007 brought Farm Girl Beth's suggestion that I dampen the crust and work through it. That worked enough that I got a raised bed of garlic put in, but again my painful foot slowed me down. Would I ever have a lush vegetable garden again?

This winter (2008) I met Jean, who introduced me via e-mail to Peg, who gave me Kasey's number. And this evening Kasey brought his old tractor and five foot tiller to my house.

It's not nearly ready yet, but with the sod broken up and everything at a relatively even texture, now I can begin building more raised beds and amending the soil with compost. In fact, Kasey's farm has a surplus of dairy cow manure available for the asking!

I have grand plans for this space. Keep an eye on it -- this is the vegetable beginning.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What's that Gonna Cost?

May I begin by saying that the policeman told me in no uncertain terms "you are not at fault"?

I was on my way to dinner at the Miller Bakery Cafe, a restaurant I'd often heard great things about but never been to. It is in Gary, Indiana, a town with which I'm not familiar. When I arrived on the street, the area seemed kind of abandoned. I wondered if I was in the right place.

The road has two lanes, one northbound, one southbound, with angled parking places on the outer edges. The sidewalk juts between parking places every six or eight spaces, making clear that those "lanes" are just for parking, not for driving.

Well I slowed to almost a stop, trying to determine if the restaurant was open. I signaled "right turn" and began to move into a parking place when "BOOM!" out of nowhere a car came zipping across the parking spaces, apparently passing me on the right.

I was shocked. The other car stopped a few parking places on. When I realized no one was getting out of that car, I grabbed my identification and approached. A middle-aged churchy woman peered out of her window. "Where did I hit you?" I told her the passenger front corner. She got out and we exchanged information in a very calm manner. At some point the bartender from the restaurant peeked out and said she'd call the police; it didn't really register at the time. Once we had all the numbers written down, the churchy woman left.

I went into the restaurant and sat at the bar to wait for my friends. The bartender told me she'd had two accidents and that filing a police report at the start was the best way to go. After a while my friends arrived, and while we were looking at my headlight, the policeman showed up. When I told him the other party had left, he said he could not take a statement. Apparently (at least in Indiana) the police can only take a statement when both parties are present. So we called the woman and it turned out she lives very nearby and said she would come back.

The whole reporting part took about half an hour. I stood outside with the churchy woman the whole time. We were polite with each other. Eventually the report was completed. The officer motioned us over to his car. Before the churchy woman got there, he gave me the information I needed, then as I moved away from his car he lowered his voice so she wouldn't hear and said "you are not at fault."

The headlight works, but the plastic that covers it is broken, the part that holds the light in is cracked, and the bumper and fender are both dented and scratched.

So the question is, what's that gonna cost?

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Flock of Cats

I had a dream a few nights ago. I sat in a comfy chair in my living room. In front of me swarmed easily 20 or 30 cats. Brown cats, black cats, speckly cats.

In my dream I thought to myself "I should get some more in brighter colors so they'll stand out more."

Now where on earth did that dream come from?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Since the 14th century, ice crystals interlocking on objects like branches have been known as hoarfrost.

A clear, brisk night sky above our marshy land brought Jack Frost to Busy Solitude Farm. The sun rises earlier and earlier, though, and with continued clear skies this frost won't linger long.

In the meantime, everything is set in a shade of gray, easing to pastels before the full colors of the landscape emerge.