Several hundred pounds of lime and fertilizer + 33 bales of straw+ 110 pounds of fescue and clover seed+ 2 days labor = 20,000 square feet of red dirt and my dreams of green once again seeded and awaiting life.
Just in case you are poised to judge me for planting grass in late November, might I explain how I spent several hundred dollars and dozens of hours planting this spring, only to have the infamous “100 Year Drought” begin the day I spread seed. My weary, thirsty soul has survived months of garden carnage, flower massacre, tree annihilation and grass decimation . Don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in my uncomfortable muck boots. I have witnessed a spring and summer of death and lived to plant again. The rain has returned! During the first few drops, I kept my senses and carefully considered hard lessons learned this last season- only plant enough I can maintain if the rain goes back into hiding. In great restraint I seeded the backyard where most of the red clay mud on my porch and floors comes from. The new vineyard/pizza oven space is connected to the back yard, so we went ahead and added that 2,000 sf. See, I can do it! I was reserved and only planted a little bit.
It rained softly all night and I awoke with fresh hope and determination. The forecast has four more days of rain, let’s go ahead and seed the front yard. Hey, the side yard is connected to the front so we just as well….. and the pond, the paths, the swing tree, the flower garden walkway. Just as well use up all the seed and straw. And so it goes.
While shaking dusty straw bales around for hours I had some hazy thoughts. I decided to share them with anyone bored enough to read this. They are in no particular order.
1- I’m so blessed to have my children. They add so much life to my life, and they are awesome to have around when there is work to do. After all- they are the ones to complain and argue that I went through the ordeal of birth and decades of parenting for the sole purpose of raising slaves. (As if three years of puke, no sleep and dirty diapers somehow equaled a few days of dish duty. Ha!) I wouldn’t want to crush their self-esteem and prove them wrong, so I let them join me for a few hours. One of my children requires a few minutes of choking on murmured anti-farming sentiments before his engine fully warms up, but when we are finished with a big job we all enjoy the satisfaction together.
2-There’s a lot of dog poop around here. From here on out, I’ve decided to consider all poop piles as inexpensive (cost of dog food), fresh, natural, organic, hormone and chemical free grass fertilizer. I spent almost a year agonizing over the name of this farm. We settled on Thirsty Goose Farm, but I often come up with other appropriate names such as, “Do it Again Farm” for all the times I have planted and replanted, or “Better Late than Never Farm” for the fact I seem to always be behind schedule, whether it be planting, pruning or building fences after the damage has already been done. Considering all the dog poop, I thought we should come up with some variation of Minnesota- only it’s 10,000 piles instead of 10,000 lakes (although some say Minnesota actually means cloudy water, not 10,000 lakes. Considering the kiddie pool my geese use, we could go there- but we won’t). I’ve never actually been to Minnesota, but I do have friends from there and I rather enjoy saying it while mocking their accent:) (Thoughts tend to drift after hours of inhaling dusty straw)
3-I finally faced a truth about myself that has always been staring at me but I hadn’t been able to acknowledge and accept. I’m a “Go Big or Go Home” girl. This truth partially explains my debut to college at sixteen, why I only bake in triples or quadruples, how I ended up with five babies in seven years and now, thirty-three bales of straw currently scattered all over the place. Due to my role in our childhood family, I had always considered myself as careful, conservative, consistent and boring. But that’s not who I really am! I am restless and adventurous, determined and brave, willing to make the same mistake over and over in order to scratch the itch of success. Looking back, I see that I frequently “go big” and often “go home” boo-hooing. And this may be another bust, but I’ve already lost before and it didn’t kill me. After you fall off your bike a few times, the fear of falling loses some of its power. Unless you bust your femur. I would be scared to plant grass again if it meant breaking a leg. (more dusty straw inhalation, more random thoughts)
4-It shows good character to enjoy hard work. My dogs taught me this as they frolicked in the freshly fallen straw. I thought for a good, long time which friend I could call up and ask to bring some fun to this monotonous, muscle straining job. Who wants to come over and help me hand rake half an acre of rock hard clay? This is the point I fell back on thought #1- how wonderful children are:) The wrestling puppies tumbling under our feet and almost knocking me over, barking and lunging at my rake with every move as if it’s an invading alien, chewing on my ankle cuffs as I lumbered up the hill with a bale on my back-they made me smile and enjoy the fact I could work like this. I am thankful for a healthy body and a warm climate (my hometown was 20 below zero today!) And before I could lament that I don’t have fancy equipment, like a tractor with a seed roller, my Great White Pyrenees puppy saved the day by rolling all over our carefully strewn straw. She looked more like a Great White Seed and Straw Collector, but she was too adorable to scold.
5- I will do almost anything to avoid writing. Our first rainy day in six months and I should have been in my office, sipping a saucer of hot tea while typing a brilliant essay. Instead I’m outside working like a dog (where does that expression come from? My dogs just goof around), finding straw in the deep depths of my underwear, trying to avoid the land mines aka giant dog poop piles, getting bossed around by two tyrannical geese. And I love it.