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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Blessed shade

A northern-hemisphere July scorcher -- 93F. Daughter and Last Son were here; she pulling weeds and working on her tan and he down in the creek cutting beanpoles from knotweed, piling the twigs and leaves for me to mow and add to the compost. I pulled up the bed of fava beans to take around to the clothesline for drying, to see about saving seed.

We took a lot of breaks. I poured water in my straw hat and put it on, dripping, for each new (short) shift.

A garden snail-hunter friend, bereft of the shade of the favas, slithered off to pastures new.

There were quite a few elephant garlic and volunteer potatoes in the bed, as well. I braided the garlic and brought in the spuds, which are enough to last for weeks. The plan is for part of this bed and the one next to it to be enclosed this fall in a polytunnel greenhouse, 10'X30', for wintering-over cold-weather vegetables more securely.

Though it's awfully hard to think about winter right now.

To the left of the favas is the kale plant that I kept for seed and hung up last week; it's about ready to pick over for its more than a thousand pods. I'm sure I don't know what I'm doing, but I don't mind. It's my entertainment...

After hanging favas I worked with last son for awhile, stripping knotweed stems.

"What would you plant over here on this side of the creek, if you were farming it?" I asked.

"Oh, that's easy. Hops."

"Hops?!"

"Yeah." Oh, my, he looks interested.

"All the hops I've ever heard of involve cables, telephone poles and tall ladders and crews of a zillion pickers. Aren't there economy-of-scale problems?"

"No, they do it different in Bavaria, more like a vineyard. I think. And brewers buy small batches as well as large. It can be a specialty."

"Well, do ya want we should look into that?"

"Sure."

We might get him back out into the country yet.

He wiped the sweat out of his eyes. "Want to take another break? I want you to try that Hefeweizen Sis brought."

"With my waistline?"

He grinned. "What about mine?"

"That's different."

"Okay, I'll just pour you a little glass."

We crossed the bridge, passed the sun-sizzling favas, and stepped into the blessed shade of the front porch.

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