They say it’s spring elsewhere, but I’ve got to say, I have yet to notice it. Case in point: this morning brought gray skies, cold wind and snow flurries.
On the garden front, though, we’re moving ahead slowly but surely. By which I mean, last weekend we assigned people to start seedlings, snagged some already-started seedlings from the fantastic Earth Day festival on the Middlebury town green on Sunday (American Flatbread slices, Co-op chocolate chip cookies, seeds and seedlings — heck yes!) and built two 4×16 foot raised beds.
But first, we had some shopping to do.
It just so happened that on Saturday afternoon, Agway was having a 10 percent off sale for everything in the store. We found shovels, rakes and hoes already deeply discounted — although we debated the wisdom of buying a $5 hoe, since, from what we hear, the more expensive ones perform better.
We also discovered my new all-time favorite garden tool, the diller (at left) — though we opted not to buy one, since its gardening function is somewhat unclear.
Immature jokes aside, we decided to err on the stingy side. After all, assuming this collective venture doesn’t go the route of a commune and we instead part ways after a given amount of time (as, let’s face it, 20-somethings often do), cheaper tools will make for fewer painful custodial decisions.
And after five years in Vermont, I picked out my first pair of Carhartt work pants. I call that a victory.
Then we popped out to the greenhouse for hot dogs, popcorn and Monument Farms chocolate milk. Because, you know, nothing makes shopping better than free food.
Armed with contented bellies, garden tools, potting soil, and a newfound appreciation for pickup trucks (see below), we headed to the lumber store.
Despite our overwhelming desire to see how four 16-foot planks would fit into the small, brave Honda (and to see how many traffic accidents we could cause as a result), we took the easier route. The kindly employee at R.K. Miles agreed drop the planks over the back fence, into the immediate vicinity of our garden plot.
Just a side question: once our garden begins to yield edible things, are we now supposed to drop vegetables back over the fence to repay the folks at the lumberyard for these lumber hijinx? What, exactly, are the moral and ethical codes surrounding unorthodox delivery of garden materials?
Once all was assembled, we got to work:
The echo of the hammer reverberated through the neighborhood, reminding us a little of hunting season come early and letting all the neighbors know where to go for free vegetables come midsummer.
I kid, I kid. The neighbors wouldn’t do that. And if my own prior gardening experiences (er…just one experience, I guess) are any indication, there won’t be too many vegetables, either.
I spent some time taking the obligatory photos of my new Carhartts, which I put to work immediately. Some might say I’m vain and materialistic, but I say I’ve just got a dang good pair of new pants.
While I was navel-gazing, some people were hard at work finishing the frame.
Then we built another.
Soon, after the ground dries out, we’ll till the ground and put down compost and start planting things — first, the frost-hardy seeds, then the more delicate things in late May. They’ll include lots of tomatoes and basil, as well as anything else we can fit in around that.
But we’d already put in several solid hours of manual labor, which, let’s face it, requires a whole different skill — and muscle — set from sitting on a chair in an office all day. Yep, it was definitely time for a late brunch at Steve’s Park Diner.