Corn

Day 90 of 365

Tonight, for dinner, we had our usual plate of summer vegetables. While I made quesadillas, Ron was putting together this beautiful platter of vegetables with greens and oranges and purples. When he was finished, the plate looked like a vegetable work of art. In early August, we eat fresh vegetables almost every day, and right now, it’s beets, carrots, kohlrabi, and cucumbers. The cucumbers are magnificent this year!

I am amazed at what all Ron has been able to do in the garden despite the heat and drought. The beets are still delicious despite the heat. Every now and then, one is bitter, but the beet we had for dinner tonight was perfect. And the tomatoes are almost ready. We have had a few sun golds, and they are heaven. I feel super fortunate that the tomatoes are coming so well–and they are coming SO well. I read in the local newspaper that, due to drought, a bunch of the tomatoes across the state have blossom rot. It happens when the plants do not get enough water during the blossom stage.

None of Ron’s tomatoes have blossom rot. In fact, like 1/4 of the garden looks like a beautiful tomato jungle. I am pretty sure there must be 1000 tomatoes out there. He grew 6 or 7 varieties, some heirloom.

On top of this, Ron grew extra seedlings that he didn’t have room for in the garden, so everywhere you look in our property, there’s a random tomato plant. I think there are at least 10 giant plants scattered throughout the property–by the drive way, by the front door, in the flower bed, in the corners of the broccoli and cauliflower garden. It’s fantastic. He can’t let a plant die. It seems wrong to him, as it does to me. I hate when it’s time to thin plants.

But nothing is better than the corn. Fresh, organic corn on the cob is maybe my favorite treat from the garden–and it’s almost time. I was outside with the chickens yesterday and looked up at the garden from far away and just suddenly noticed this epic corn. I am so hopeful.

We lost our blueberries to the birds, though it was a bad year for them anyway. Our raspberries didn’t do super well. Ron planted another round of greens, and only about half of the plants didn’t cook in the sun. It’s been a tough year, but the corn seems to be coming perfectly.

I can’t wait!

***

I also have to do a quick Ruby update. She’s still living in the garage. I have no idea where she’s laying her eggs now because Juliet, who had gotten VERY bossy, kicked poor Ruby out of her favorite crate for egg laying. There’s another empty crate. Does she use that? No, of course not. That would be too easy.

But Ruby has done the cutest and most interesting thing. She has become an aunt to the babies ditched by Juliet and Kate. They hang out with her and follow her around a bit. The other day, I saw them all dirt bathing in the flower bed. Ron has given up on keeping Ruby out of the flower bed at this point. Now, she’s teaching the youngsters. Somehow, she’s just so quirky and interesting that she can get away with hit. It’s like you just have to let her be who she wants to be.

His Garden Grows in Perfect Rows

Day 28 of 365

His garden is so perfect that people think he must use a rototiller. He does not. Everything is done by hand. He disturbs the soil just enough to get the chicken compost from our chickens into the rows where he is planting. And he wastes no space. He’s a master of space usage. I’ve never seen anything like it. I honestly never understood what a fantastic skill it is to have–space usage. I mean, he can load the dishwasher like a magician, but that just annoys me. I feel my way is fine.

But in the garden–in that garden–I have full appreciation for his skill and his perfectionism. I used to help plant more. I still do sometimes, but it’s only after he’s used the string to mark the places for me to plant. One time, I just made my own row, and when the carrots came up with a bit of an s-shape to them, I think it broke his heart a little.

He’s frugal to a fault, if there is such a thing in the garden. He uses every nook and cranny of the garden. He wastes no water. It’s too precious. He waters by hand and aims for deep watering with as little water as possible. Any extra water from the house is saved for the garden. He also plants seeds without the plan to thin them later, so as to not waste the seeds. This seems bold to me, but he just knows the seeds will come up. He talks to them to make sure.

He also plays music for them, classical music. Every day, in the garden, he listens to Bach and Vivaldi and Mozart. So do the plants. I don’t know if it’s the chicken compost, the classical music, or Ron’s magic touch, but every year, whether there is drought or so much rain some of the food starts to rot in the ground, this garden feeds our family.

And this year, we have our first farm shares. It took him years to have the confidence to do it, but I can see that he’s proud to share his work with others. This makes my heart happy. Not only do other families get to share in this delicious, beautiful, organic food, but I can see there is a pride growing in a man beaten down by life early and often.

It’s a kind of miracle to me that this garden, this work of art of a vegetable garden that feeds our family year round, heals. But it does.

And isn’t it lovely?

***

I have to quickly add a Ruby and Kate update. Ruby has become a fierce mama–like a little too fierce, perhaps–but her babies are very well cared for. Kate is now sitting on an egg that may have to be a miracle egg. I have put three other eggs from our flock under her as of yesterday, which means she may have to have wait another 20 days before she finally gets to be mama. It’s all kind of heartbreaking, but I will feed her well and help her get through this. I believe she deserves to be mama after all that drama. Plus, she looks healthy despite having been broody for over two weeks now. Of course, there is still the miracle egg. I won’t write about it until I check it again in a few days. It’s a long story. Hopefully, it’s a good story. We’ll know soon.