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Just as the backyard pear
blooms,

these long peach limbs
cut down last month because of disease

and lying piled
waiting to be burnt

are, as I feared,
budding, and blooming.

Three weeks of sap
and softwood fiber swelling

with the idea of five thousand pink blossoms;
persistent, dead, yet undead.

Really, it’s exactly like hair growing
in the grave, or a corpse

bellowing in the cremator.
Or exactly like the memory

of fifty years past,
the moment that terrified then

terrifying still.
Bees

will come to these flowers.
Then they will brown, and shrink.

One last effort.
Maybe the blossoms will open, but be dry,

fooling the bees as I am not fooled.
Yet,

I am fooled, so long is the winter,
so thirsty am I.

 

___________________________

 

First poem in such a long time, I had to celebrate by getting some eyes on it. Second act of celebration will be to finish a journal for myself so I can use it for more poetry. This one was written on a notepad that really should just be used for grocery lists. Or not. Regardless, I need a new journal.

Plants I’m growing in my herb garden:

  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Chamomile
  • Calendula
  • Nettles
  • Comfrey
  • Peppermint
  • Echinacea
  • Monarda
  • Dill
  • Yarrow

It feels ominous to be so optimistic. Don’t know why I *must* add things like that, but apparently I must.

Plants I’m growing in my vegetable garden:

  • Tomatoes
    • Principe Borghese
    • Italian Heirloom
    • Opalka
    • Matt’s Wild Cherry
    • Speckled Roman
    • San Marzano
  • Beans
    • Bird Egg/cranberry/October beans
    • Tiger Eye beans
    • Whippoorwill peas
  • Winter squash
    • San Jose Mountain Club Squash
    • Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
    • Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck
  • Basil
  • Celery (I’ll let you know how it goes…haha)
  • Okra
    • Clemson spineless
    • Burghundy
  • Storage onions (Valencia?)
  • Corn
    • Tennessee Red Cob
    • Cherokee White Eagle Blue
  • More flowers, for the pollinators
    • Black-eyed susan
    • Cosmos
    • Tithonia
    • Milkweed
    • Chamomile, yarrow, monarda, calendula

Isn’t that so exciting? Yeah our springs are getting shorter (and earlier, in aggregate) every year, and yeah this year we’re 20 days ahead of where we should be, temperature-wise, and so on & so forth, but “for all this, nature is never spent; there lives the dearest freshness deep down things,” speaking of Hopkins, and I mean to bring them up.

Things I want to do with these plants (now this is where I’m getting way optimistic, someone hold me back):

  • Can maybe 10 quarts of tomato sauce, freeze lotsa tomatoes
  • Dry all herbs
  • Freeze basil pesto
  • Dry beans
  • Cure and store onions, winter squash
  • Become That Person who gives away tons of garden produce. You know who I’m talking bout. These neighbors that you don’t hang out with but who hang plastic bags of tomatoes and okra on your front door knob. That kind. But I’ll try to be kind of clean and presentable and maybe speak once in a while. So I don’t fit the type too much. I’ll be like…a gardening millenial, or young-mom-with-unusual-hobbies.

Omg I forgot we have that pear tree. Geez I wish somebody could tell me how to manage this tree & its heavenly bounty. It’s one of the old pear trees, with pears that end up with more of an apple-texture than regular Anjou—crisp, juicy, sweet. But it’s a huge tree and I don’t know how to tell when they’re ripe, or what to do with them when they all get ripe, etc. A little overwhelming. We have a huge, unpruned apple tree back there, too, which may actually set fruit this year since we’re replacing the diseased peach tree with two little apples. Someone planted a single apple tree and then wondered, each year for like 10-15 years (it’s a BIG tree) why it flowered but never fruited. Anyway, crossing fingers we get *some* apples this year.

Do any of you parents out there find it unfair that JUST as you’re getting up earlier, the sun is also rising earlier, and therefore your toddler is also rising earlier? I have to go to bed at like 10:00pm every night if I want to get up at 6:00am, and I just cannot tell right now if that’s a bridge too far. Because Mary used to get up at 8; now, thanks to ridiculous annoying sunrise, she gets up at 7:30. Unspeakably obnoxious, wth. But I just don’t know if I can go to bed at 10 every night. It’s diametrically opposed to our cemented habits.

My last thought for this morning, before Mary gets bored of whatever toys survived the night with her in the crib and starts yelling for me: there seems to be a huge black walnut stump in our yard *precisely* in the area I wanted to plant little apple trees. Last year we cut maybe a thousand suckers off of it, so it’s still got some juices down there somewhere. How bad would it be to plant there, anyway? I’m talking about the “toxin” (if that’s the right word) that walnuts produce in their roots and spread through the soil, some substance that acts like a repellent for other plants. I’m not sure what effect we’d have if we tried to plant little trees 10 feet away from this dying stump. Anyways. Maybe if I asked someone at the nursery? I guess I’ll do that.

Today I’m finally back on my early-rising schedule, after having dropped it for almost two weeks while Mary and I recovered from a “flu-like illness.” As a side note, Knox County schools are closed for almost the entire week for illness. The teachers were getting too sick…and then the substitute teachers got sick. Ha. I feel a little ahead of the game, that we’re on the upswing already. I swear to god though, if we get sick again. *fist emoji*

Yesterday was really difficult. Two things made it better: I planted seeds, and I met up with a couple of friends for a weeknight spaghetti dinner, with all our kids. (Shout out to Brenna and Elizabeth for letting us crash your kids’ spaghetti date! I needed that.)

Seed-starting, though.

I’m going to start talking about plants and my garden. (You are warned; and I shall persist. Did Elizabeth Warren get Rule 19’d yesterday, too? Cause I’ll add that to the list of things that made it better, by virtue of the fact that McConnell’s words are now a feminist rallying cry.)

So I’m going to become an amateur herbalist. I’m all the time wanting to make herbal bath mixes and body-butters and such, and some of these things are expensive and a hassle to buy. For instance, I bought a big bag of calendula to use for my postpartum care kit, and it was great, but a few months after I bought it, tons of weevils hatched (?) in there! Ugh! So that went in the garbage, and I have been a little scared to replace it. Lavender flowers are *not* a dime-a-dozen, either, and neither really is anything else. So, I’ve planned a perennial herb garden for the space around our toolshed in the backyard. I’m growing rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, parsley, peppermint, chamomile (and raspberry leaf)—we eat/drink so many fresh and dried herbs, too, so here’s the beginning of trying to supply my own culinary herbs—and nettle, comfrey, yarrow, calendula, lavender, monarda, and and coneflowers. Ohmuhguh I get so excited thinking about this garden.

The main garden will have a block of perennial flowers in it: milkweed (if I can get any of these seeds to germinate), more yarrow and monarda, black-eyed susan, tithonia, more chamomile, and cosmos. I’m growing Long Island Cheese pumpkins, San Jose Mountain Club Squash (extremely rare, Care of the Earth Community Farm is crossing it with butternut squash to get the size smaller, so this will be an ongoing experiment), and Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck.

I’m getting crazy and growing corn—Tennessee Red Cob, a local heirloom dent/flint corn for which we East Tennesseans are justifiably proud, and Cherokee ‘White Eagle’ Blue corn, another extremely rare variety from Baker Creek Seeds that originated/was selected somewhere around here by the Cherokee. Both make marvelous cornmeal, and the blue corn is just a rare treat that I could go on about. I want to know more about our indigenous peoples and the food they cultivated. I’ll be hand-pollinating the blue corn. Beans: Tiger Eye, Cades Cove pinto, Lena Sisco’s Bird Egg beans, and Whippoorwhill peas.

Basil of course, tons of it, celery (wish me luck), and both Clemson spineless and Burghundy okra. TOMATOES: Principe Borghese (for drying), San Marzano and Opalka (for canning), Italian Heirloom and Speckled Roman (for canning and fresh eating), and Matt’s Wild cherry (for the joy).

If I can get extras from the farm, which I can, I’ll also be growing whatever else I feel like trying but certainly storage onions. Onions are one of the only things I have to buy from the store throughout the year (except in onion season). Pretty much everything else I can get in some quantity from the farm. We eat just SO MANY onions. Would love to have big bundles of these braided and hanging to cure in the basement.

Baby’s up!