Keep going


The “new garden” at Cathedral Drive Farm, Hope Ness

Sometimes, in the absence of joy that comes from being in love, or otherwise feeling down for whatever reason, you just have to keep going.

Yes, there’s something to be said for simple endurance and survival, for just putting one foot in front of the other, for the knowing from experience that your life will get better, possibly in the very next moment.

But that it will, that this unhappy, troubling moment will pass and the sun will shine again is the most certain thing in life. The other certain thing is that it can’t happen if you’re not there.

Take writing, for example: I think my experience as an “ink-stained wretch” working under deadline pressure as a staff reporter for a relatively small, daily newspaper helped me understand the importance of just putting your wheels in motion, no matter how hard it seemed to get started. But do it anyway, hit that first writing key, put a few words together. You’ll be surprised how the creative juices will start to flow. More times than I can begin to count I was a “writing machine” within a few hours.

Knowing that, knowing taking that first step would inevitably get me there, made all the difference. And also knowing, I really didn’t have that much of a choice, especially when I was the only reporter working the weekend shift every few weeks. Not to get too maudlin about it, but it was virtually do or die, in a sense. But it always worked. In fact, I soon found I did some of my best work on the weekend, and in good time.

So, that’s my usual long-winded wind-up to my current situation, especially as it pertains to gardening. And by gardening I mean big, as in a vegetable garden that’s big enough for two people to plant and maintain, let alone a grizzled old geezer like me, on top of an already too-full “to do” list.

Ah, the dreaded to-do list. Here’s some more advice, and it’s not an easy one to actually manifest in reality: prioritize; you can only do what you can do. Of course, when everything seems to be a priority that does pose problems; but the thing about gardening is when spring has finally arrived, and before the weather gets too hot, you just have to make a start; there’s no two ways about it.

So, I’ve made a commitment to devote at least a couple of hours every day, weather permitting, to get the early crops planted, things like peas, onions, beets, spinach, carrots and potatoes, especially potatoes.

Have I mentioned I love growing potatoes? So a week ago, with spring showing signs of finally arriving I started planting about 50 kilograms of seed potatoes (a little more than 100 pounds) in the “new” garden, about a half-hectare (more or less an acre) of ground I worked up last year when I planted corn back there. This year it’s anything but: never plant corn in the same place the next season.

So there it is, my friends in the blogosphere: it may not look like much right now, but in that ground you see before you 20-plus rows of Irish Cobbler and Yukon Gold potatoes are planted, as well as six rows of “edible pod” snow peas and regular peas, two rows of onion sets, five rows of beets, and three rows of spinach.

The carrots still have to go in, along with radishes. (Carrots are slow to germinate, and Radishes, that germinate quickly, tell you where the carrots are.)

Within a few weeks, nature willing and cooperative, this hopeful, little field will look great and green with sprouting veggies. And all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

And a few months from now, if you’re reading this, and happen to stop by then, bring a basket or a bag, and I’ll fill it up.

And remember the sun will shine again, any moment now, more lovely than ever before.

Hear me my children, if anybody questions that, you just tell them Phil in Hope Ness, said so. It is written.

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