Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Haul Soil

I've been gardening in a big way this week, mostly because my dad and his truck have been bringing me yards of soil. (oops, here I go blogging about the garden again) Anyone ever moved a yard of soil? I've done it twice now. It's a lot of work. I feel like flourishing my arm muscles at bit, except no one can see them (and I don't see me taking a picture of them because everyone here will snicker). But now I have two long beds on the sloping part of the yard where we plan to put the Lumina pumpkins, the Rouge Vif D'Etamps pumpkins, the Sweet Dakota Rose watermelons, the gourds, and everything else that is starting to spill out of that cold frame of ours.

I've been adding to the artichoke bed too, so we now have nine artichoke plants (I have to quell the sound of Richard's voice gleefully whispering "fartichokes!" to me everytime I mention them). But I love artichokes. When we lived in California you could get giant packages of baby artichokes at Trader Joe's, and we'd boil them until soft, then toss them in the oven drenched in pesto. Or just stick a fork in them and eat them soft and warm. They were always my pregnancy craving food. One reason why I remember them so fondly, I suppose, now that the kids are getting big. Funny how you remember those early baby days so fondly, even if you didn't feel so fond at the time. I know I didn't. I felt completely bewildered by what I'd done.

The twins are showing signs of developing Garden Obsession. Each morning they race outside, while I'm opening up the cold frame, still in pajamas, to compare whose potato plant is bigger. FDPG has her nose slightly out of joint because, for some mysterious reason, Dominic's beets are coming up and hers aren't. But we don't talk about that. Instead we discuss the new leaf that appeared overnight, or the tiny green loopers threatening to eatmy apple trees all up, or the tiger moth caterpillers that are spilling out from the fir trees where they should be, furry little beggars. Or even the new robin's nest in the willow tree, where the twins spend all their time swinging or climbing or hanging. One does wonder what made the robins chose that tree (Sheila clears her throat expectantly).

I have some sad news to impart: Henry the Pig From Guinea died on the weekend. It was very sad. FDPG and I cried, then we took him outside and held a funeral and cried some more. We buried him next to the monkey puzzle tree that died in the winter (oops, hope Sandy isn't reading this). He was very old for a guinea pig (seven) but it was still a wrench to see his hairy fat body lying in his cage, like that, so still. So final.

Max was at a Scout camp or he would've been at the funeral too. Richard wanted me to put Henry in the freezer so Max could see him but something in me balked at that. Besides, the freezer didn't have a lot of room in it. As it was, Max was surprisingly broken up about ole Henry. It was his pet after all. And to think I mistook all that grumbling about cage-cleaning and greens-gathering for indifference. Shame on me.

Here is Henry before he went off to join the Army. I think he was in the Rick Mercer Battalion, where they don't have to wear helmets unless they want to (Henry didn't want to), and where everyone is celebrated, regardless of sexual affiliation (luckily for Henry).


Suji said...

Very sorry to read about Henry. Our sincere condolences. I sometimes regale DS with your blog tales but this one will break his heart. Hugs!

Samantha said...

Aww, I'm sorry to hear about Henry. He was a very beautiful (in a manly way of course) guinea pig and heck, any creature who is part of the Rick Mercer Battalion has to be pretty cool. RIP sweet Henry.

I love your garden posts - keep 'em coming! I feel a little shaken in my confidence as my husband has instructed me to obtain and move about 3 yards of mulch and I foolishly thought it would be an easy task. Maybe we can compare muscles after ;-)

sheila said...

Suji, I haven't even shown Max this post! Yesterday FDPG and I were saying "It's weird not getting Henry food" and Max said "Can't you two change the subject for once?"

Samantha, wasn't he cute? Even with all the hair clipping I had to do I thought he was a nice looking little guy. Three yards of mulch, eh? Got a giant wheelbarrow? I managed to move the first yard in 2 hours, but that was because it was warm and sunny. Yesterday it POURED and I finally gave up because I was slipping and sliding all over the yard.I can't get over how cheap bulk soil is though: $23/yard. And it's nice. Heavy, but nice. I love how it can transform some lawn into a bed. Hey presto!