Sunday, May 29, 2011


Tycoon: from taikun foreigners title for the shogun of Japan.  If you're like me, you are wondering what's a shogun, other than the title of a James Clavell novel.

Shogun: hereditary commander and chief of the Japanese army.

So there! Today's word play.

I like the way the sound of these titles roll off one's tongue.  More importantly, I need a title, being the "big cheese" here in Kickapoo Center.  I'm really puffed up about my gardens.  Every thing's coming along nicely. Fool that I am, I imagine ways to get a long-view digital shot of the front field other than hanging out the north window of the second floor.

I abandon the thought after deciding dragging the 40 foot ladder out to the silver maple and climbing to the top for the big picture is way too much work.  There are better things to do with my time.  I've finally learned that the best time to weed is when I see the invading plants. 

There are four onion plots. The first doesn't need my attention thanks to the Amish patriarch who suggested sowing my organic composted poultry manure in the furrow with the bulbs.  Wiped out 50% of the smaller set onions.  I replanted, so there's a ton of newbies.  The second plot-an eighty foot row-is one half weeded.  Yesterday I applied my new strategy and weeded before going on to plant tomatoes that were crowding out the peppers in a cold frame.  Part of the strategy is to give my aching back time to recover after bending over for the length of time it takes to weed one row of eighty feet by hand.  (If you're wondering, I mechanically cultivate the rows first with my tiller before attacking the invaders in between the new onions).

When I let the kids out at 6 am, I stood near the corn patch contemplating "my pretty".  Zowie, the corn has emerged. New shoots are just beginning to show after sowing two seeds/per every four inches.  I planted on May 18th.  Eleven days to emerge isn't bad considering we had the threat of frost and 35 degrees on the 26th.  I can't figure out why two rows of spuds I purchased at the agri-center to cover my bets on a better than good harvest aren't up.  I asked Dawn to pick up another 16 pounds of seed potatoes after I figure that four rows is better than two.  Unlike my taste for big, hunking seed tubers, she picks medium to small seed potatoes which sprouted before the ones I planted previously. Oh, well.

This year we'll have celery, a first for Black Crow Farm. Celery likes acidic soil conditions.  With just over 9,000 sq.ft and fourteen separate plots, I don't have time to create an acid loving plant garden.  Flash of inspiration hits and I slip eight plants in behind the short onion garden ( the onions aren't short, just the garden).  Mandy chases me on the riding mower as I pull the cart to the scotch pine forest at the west end of the property and fill the utility cart with pine needles, both rotted and fresh.  After mulching the new celery plants with pine needles, I covered the plot with white plastic fertilizer bags the not so environmentally friendly farm supply depot uses for Natur-all. To weigh the plastic mulch down in our tornado zone, I cover with garden loam, leaving one plant unmulched with pine needles as the control factor in my ongoing experiment in organic farming.  If it works, you'll be the first person I call for a Bloody Mary with a tall stalk of organically raised celery. Make sure I have only one Bloody Mary, cause the last time it took me two days to find where I parked my pick up truck.

If I continue, it'll turn into a drag and brag session which isn't the impression I want to leave.  At the end of the day, I melt into my recliner. Dawn wants to go out for Chinese food 22 miles away and I decline out of exhaustion. I have no energy to change my white long sleeved Tee with the iron-on photo of Mandy as a pup, mud covered khaki cargo shorts, Red Wing boots and black socks( not quite as bad as sandals and black socks but "nigh on" as tacky).

The dog gets these things in the corner of her eyes we call sleepies.  This morning I dig out dirt and sleepies from the corners of my eyes.  Yeah, it's an obsession.


T. Roger Thomas said...

Homegrown Bloody Mary celery sounds great!

Gavrillo said...

In a trip to the Amish for eggs and gossip, the Amish matriarch asks me, "Did you get the self blanching type?" referring to my new celery plants. "Self blanching? " I repeat,thinking of the process of dipping vegetables in a boiling water bath before freezing. I'm informed that to get nice pale celery stalks, they wrap the young plants in newspaper, sort of like tying up cauliflower leaves over the heads to keep the tight blossoms white. Too much to learn, so little brain matter.