Journal 2 June 2007

I don’t know why we always rush to get the garden in so early–at least early for Goose Creek.

Every year I tell her we’re moving too fast, putting seed into cold ground that won’t have enough heat until June 1. And every year, the seeds just sit there in the middle of May, vegetable and weed alike, and then as if someone waved a green and teal checkered flag, seed cases split, water rushes in through microscopic hairs along thin threads of first roots; shoots form and break somehow through the pan of dust and begin converting carbon dioxide into the carbons of sugars, starches, stem and leaf.

So far, the deer have not been interested in getting inside the fence. I’d like to think it is because of such simple measures as a patient suggested: hang old CD’s along the fence. They spin in the least wind, many differently colored on the two sides, the center looking like dark pupils, especially if hung two side by side. This is not an unattractive deterrent–compared to last year’s aluminum pie plates and strands of surveyors tape.

Even so, it is just a matter of time until the battle begins in earnest–in the humid trenches of vegetable warfare that is the gardening year. Bring ’em on.

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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.

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  1. I’d hang CD’s on my porch railing, but that is not an acceptable substitute for my front yard…LOL. I saw today that the deer have been eating the leaves off my violets and other trying-to-grow plants. I say trying because we have had no rain for 3-4 weeks.