Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ugly Spud Award

Three days of thunderstorms, humidity levels equal to one of the gulf states and two animals who decided that wrestling is an alternative to boredom have us looking for things to do other than acting like a pool lifeguard. There's yipping and some angry cat meows in the living room as Mandy tries to retaliate for a backhand stab by the cat.

Two 80 foot rows of potatoes were seeded on Good Friday. The Kenebecs are still in the ground. The weather has been too wet to harvest. I've been hit first, with a severe case of carpal tunnel from pulling weeds and digging spuds. Then, I wake up early last week and I can't turn my head more than a few degrees left or right. No other symptoms. This is a problem, especially when pulling out on the highway since I can't crane my neck far enough to see cars speeding down the pike.

Mandy and I walk to the Keuka Gold potato patch. A three foot section hasn't been touched. Evidently, I threw a few red seed potatoes in with the golds as I uncover four big reds and two medium gold potatoes. Mandy helps( really) by imitating me and digging furiously in the soft sandy loam. She finds a small spud and runs off with it in her mouth. "You little bugger, you," I yell at her. I have hash browns for breakfast and the kids eat raw ground pork. Outside the cat and puppy chase each other over the driveway and across the lawns. Inside the Pup collapses on a fleece blanket inside the doorway. The Pooch goes upstairs for a nap.

The old saying, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, is very apropos. We take advantage of the quiet time to straighten up the house and do dishes. Mandy is not trustworthy left alone without supervision. I complain to Dawn that she's a leaky faucet. "Golly that dog can pee a lot." For once we do not have a plan for canning or freezing fruit or vegetables. I have to take the portable drill and circular wire brush to the burnt-on peach drizzle at the bottom of our stainless steel canning kettle. Late Saturday night we harvest a large plastic bowl of pickle cucumbers to make Amish sweet pickles. The recipe is simple. 1 cup sugar, 1 cup cider vinegar and 2 1/2 cups water.

In between lazy rains, I pull a Cannelini bean plant and put the beans in the dehydrator. The plants have been inundated by weeds. I am worried that bugs or excessive rain will ruin the crop of dry white beans. The same is true for the kidney and black beans planted in the same 80 foot row. I'm relieved that the white beans look mature and are undamaged. The plant yields a full tray in the dehydrator. Next to the Cannelinis I find a hidden soybean plant. The soybean crop is poor. We have just enough edamame to eat as an appetizer.

The high winds of an earlier thunderstorm flattened a portion of the corn patch. I'll be able to harvest the corn but the stalks lying on their sides are an open invitation to raccoons and woodchucks. At breakfast I nuke another ear of corn, leaves and all. The kernels are almost fully formed. The taste is extra sweet. With all the extra rain everything is lush. This is the time of year one has to be careful not to stand in one place too long. Weeds grow on top of the black plastic I laid over a bed of sand in the area we are constructing a new patio.

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