If there’s one thing Ed and I have learned this spring, it’s this–gardening/farming is HARD WORK! It’s also NEVER ENDING WORK! It’s no wonder that the current age of the average American farmer is sixty-two! A person would have to be crazy to want to farm for a living! Why would anyone want to toil in the sun and gnats from sun up till sun down, when they could be inside the bug-free environment of a building, only working from 9 to 5?! My hat is off to the American farmer! I will never take food for granted again.
Here are just a few of the latest “gardening tales” from our neck of the woods…
While we’ve been blessed with regular showers of rain over the past couple of weeks, the extra moisture in the ground has made the weeds go CRAZY! Over the past few years, while our farm land was being leased, the farmer who leased it began spreading chicken house manure over the field, as a form of fertilizer. In addition to the horrid smell, the chicken house manure contained something (from the chicken’s feed) which caused huge, indestructible weeds to spring up all over the field! These aren’t just any old weed–they grow the size of a large bush very quickly–and no amount of weed killer phases these weeds–nothing! The only cure for these weeds is to pull them up by hand–and even that doesn’t always work! Instead of just drying up and dying, sometimes the weeds take on a “second life” and continue to grow on top of the dirt! Thanks, Farmer Danny, for infecting our land with indestructible weeds.
Next we have the problem of insects! Boy do we have a problem with insects!!! First came the thrips, who carried the virus which wiped out one-half of our tomato plants. Then came these little nameless bugs that killed all of my squash bushes, and one half of the cucumbers within two days! I didn’t think any type of insect even liked squash bushes…WRONG! Last but not least came the grasshoppers–and boy did they come! They came in swarms…like a plague! We sprayed, we dusted, and Ed and I even resorted to trying to catch them with my new hot pink bug net (for the chickens)…but we continue to have grasshoppers!!
Got deer? Yes, we have deer, too! So far, my scary doll and “Spooky Dude” have been holding the deer at bay–along with the dog hair, dog poop, and other equally disgusting things I’ve been dumping in the garden…but I have a feeling that it’s only a matter of time…Those pea vines are looking very appetizing now that they are getting peas on top of them!
On Wednesday I strolled through the garden admiring our lovely watermelons, thinking these will be ready for July 4th. By Wednesday afternoon , some of those same healthy watermelon vines were shriveled up and dead as a hammer! Now what is up with that?! That’s just what happened when the bugs attacked the squash bushes! Could those pesky bugs have moved over and attacked the watermelons, too???
Then on Thursday morning, I ambled out to the garden, and waded through those disgusting chicken house weeds to find a cabbage for the chickens. I picked out one riddled with holes from the grasshoppers. Just as I bent down to pull the head of cabbage out of the ground…I saw a head sticking out from among the cabbage’s leaves–and that head had two beady eyes…
At first I thought “Frog”, but then my mind said “Snake“, so I made a hasty retreat! However, I did go back and take a photograph using a telephoto lens! I don’t know what that thing was, but I didn’t want to get close enough to find out!
As the day wore on, I began thinking that maybe gardening just isn’t for us. It’s a lot easier–not to mention cheaper–to just go to the store and buy whatever we need. Within a week we’ve spent well over twenty dollars for “cures” for our ailing tomato plants! That’s not counting fifty dollars worth of insecticide–or forty dollars worth of fertilizer, or seventy dollars worth of seed…or…well, you get the idea!
Yesterday afternoon, after pulling weeds for an hour, spreading land plaster(a powdery substance to help the beans fill out) for half an hour, and dusting for insects for another half an hour, Ed said to me, “I’m not sure about this gardening thing anymore…” I guess great minds think alike–or perhaps tired bodies do, too! Thank goodness, tomorrow is a new day!