Yow. Into August. I pick ripe and near ripe tomatoes enough to fill a blue plastic tub. The white potato vines are dying back. In a few weeks after the skins are set, they'll be stored for the winter. Light years ago in garden time, actually last Saturday, I pulled six foot tall weeds in the russet potato patch. My back still aches from bending over, grabbing tough fibrous stems with root hairs and pulling with all my might. I'd pound the clump of dirt that came with the feisty weed, covering some of the russets I'd disturbed with fresh dirt. Others that popped to the surface are tossed to the grassy strip between garden plots. Four wheel barrow loads and a pile up near the road that I put off hauling for later fill a low spot in the far end of the front field. A cardboard egg crate filled with brown russets weighs in at 16 lbs. Along with a mound of corn, they'll go to my friends at the library.
While I cut, chop and peel for salsa and fresh pressure-canned tomatoes I listen to the radio. Dog and cat alternate shady spots beneath my truck, in the garage, under the table in the breezeway. The cat curls up in a box on a work table and lies on his back-feet up in the air. I sneak in to snap a photo. He catches me sneaking up on him and rolls over. Stalking in the summer has sharpened his wits. If he walks into the house, he eyes wet dish towels lying on the basement steps. Wary of the sandals at the foot of the entryway, he skirts them carefully. He's probably run into a fair number of snakes and surprises. Mandy has her spot on the red chair looking out at the highway. Sometimes it's cooler to lie stretched out on a concrete slab.
The radio program running now interviews people discussing food and trendy life styles. A couple moves into a rural location. There's a good deal of oohing and ahing about moving from the city to the country. They're off the grid, they say. The house is run down. The land pristine. They eschew a clothes dryer and hang laundry outside. When I was a teacher in the inner city, fellow teachers loved nothing better than to amplify on the dangers and stress of ghetto fighting. In reality I'd stand on the playground like a cat having its fur brushed in the wrong direction. The rural, back to the land couple describe hanging laundry in ten below zero weather. Idiots, I mutter. Next time find a place with a wood stove and a basement.
They label themselves. Put themselves into tidy boxes. Ultra liberals. Liberal with lots of L's .
Off the grid and out of their mind. There's a fine line between insanity and common sense. They're eco-somethings. Beyond ecologically minded.
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