Ah Summer. And the Livin’ is…um…

Joel Salatin (right) ponders as Phil Petrelli of Chipotle talks to SEJ members at PolyFace Farms, Oct 2008.
Joel Salatin (right) ponders as Phil Petrelli of Chipotle talks to SEJ members at PolyFace Farms, Oct 2008.

It’s official: I’ve set a new record for the number of lists of lists, task and subtasks, committees and subcommittees. I had a brief momentary illusion yesterday that everything was under control. This morning, with a clearer mind, I’m wondering if anything is.

So for solace and peace this morning, we go the garden, while the dew is still on the roses. And Waldo the Watersnake looks on. As we pick beans. Lots and lots of beans, climbing the vegetable fortress cattle panels to 8 feet, fruiting so high I can’t reach the topmost beans on my tiptoes; we’ll leave those to go to seed for saving. (I think often of how this rapid growth inspired stories of bean stalks reaching into other worlds.

There are tomatoes, blighted every one, leaves spotted, rotting and withered, but a hundred and fifty pounds of green, pink and red from which we will still get a couple of canners-ful.

We’re waiting at 10:00 on the fellow who was coming at 8:30 to clean our gutters on the high side of the house. Somehow, clogged gutters on the back side that only we know about are bad enough, but the little trees growing from them that are visible from the road is entirely too revealing of our sloth and indifference to detail. Actually, that isn’t true: I have some paralysis in my right calf from a back related event in 2000 and I don’t do ladders anymore. (Update: 11:00 the fellas have arrived and the gutters are being de-gooped.)

My how quickly things change. The book came in May, and I began on purpose to seed my calendar as heavily as possible with related events and succeeded reasonably well in doing so. Ah there, that’s it, I really cannot take on any more, I said in early June. Then Bill McKibben came to speak at the Floyd Country Store in late June for a new grassroots organization I didn’t know much about.

And here we are, a few weeks later in early August, and I am on the organization’s BOD and since a few days ago, co-chair of the committees for the 350 local “action” and the October Festival yet to be officially named but focused on Family, Sustainability and Floyd’s Future.

Also some interesting things going on photographically. The unpaid projects include an image in a Land Trust Alliance brochure and an image (see above) to accompany an article about Chipotle in an upcoming issue of Flavor Magazine. Still giving away those free samples right and left. But it is starting to yield some returns. More on that later.

Also some upcoming book events nearby and more on that probably Monday. I trust in my distance from Fragments in light of all of the above there are still a few readers wandering by. If not, I’ve had some typing practice since getting my left thumb injected at my doctor friend’s breakfast table a few days back, seems better now than the right, they were both 5-6/10 painful before. Good. Less whining, more picking beans.

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

Articles: 3012


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Yes, in a garden one can forget briefly the woes of the world. Although, sometimes answers to some of those woes pop up in the garden, too.
    Your beans are running away with you, but your tomatoes are blighted. I have the opposite sequence. I have determined that next year I will plant beans around my tomato supports to give a little extra protection from sunscald which is such a problem here. My beans always seem happier the nearer they are to the tomatoes anyway.
    Well, I didn’t worry about you when you were silent. I knew you would be busy somewhere. You and my husband must be made of the same cloth, always moving so fast it makes a blur before ones eyes. And accomplishing so much!

  2. Glad to hear that your thumb(s) are working better.
    Typing with thumb splints does not sound like a winning proposition.

    This cold, wet summer has really cut down our vegetable production. The squash blossoms have failed to set and our heritage beans from John Paul Houston looked very promising, but have failed to thrive.

    The tomatoes are coming in slowly and they show signs of rot before they turn fully red, but we are getting enough for our table at least.

    On the other hand, our “dwarf” lettuce is doing fine, as are our carrots and sweet peas.

    I sure hope we get some global warming by next year or we are truly hosed in the gardening department. CO2 is critical for plant growth so it might make sense to look into greenhouses with a CO2 enriched atmosphere. (We’ll call it our self-contained Project 700.)