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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Pass them with a good friend

Risa has just come in from putting out forty-five tiny, tiny transplants -- cauliflower, kale, cabbage, collards, bok choi, and lettuce -- and wishing them well. She's told there may actually be a frost tonight, so there are many things she'd like to be planting. But mama Nature sez, good luck with that.

We had a very springlike February, and March was like May. Then the horrible winds, rains, and frosts began in April and they haven't let up.

To give you some idea, here is the present state of the garden at Stony Run.

Not bad, you say? Well, there is some food out there and that beats what some people around the world are going through right now, so -- Risa's not going to complain. Much. But she remembers May last year:

See? And that was after a hard winter.

Today is one of the ... umm ... good days. The storm cells are only a couple of miles in diameter.

They march along with their wild hair -- updraft anvil heads with streamers -- reaching up into the stratosphere. They dump downdrafts, rain and hail -- at higher elevations, snow and hail -- as they go: half an hour of misery and then the sun's out. So one plans one's activities around them.

Risa has been practicing for a kayak event with her friend the Cowboy, so, earlier in the afternoon, she drove over to the Reservoir to wait for him. It was bright and sunny, but with a streak of gray all along the ridgetops to the northwest.

Cowboy came along in his ancient diesel wagon with the Poke Boat on the roof, and as he arrived, all the young trees that had been planted along the boat basin parking lot bent almost double, and hail pummelled the vehicles. He jumped into the truck.

"Do we call it off? I dunno, it was sunny at my place when I left. Seems like it's always a hurricane over here!" He had to nearly shout to be heard.

"Well we are closer in to the mountains, and they shake this stuff loose. But I'm thinking it will be great again -- for awhile -- if we sit tight till about two."

So they sat, and talked over old times, and the sky lightened, and then there was a ribbon of blue along the ridges --

"Let's book!"

"You got it!"

They had an hour's lovely paddling, and a trout was hauled in right at the end, just to round off the perfection.

As they neared the landing, a towering mass of black cloud threw a leg over the horizon in its seven-league boot and slapped the boat basin silly. Two figures, hunched over in the hail, dragged their boats past disconsolate geese huddling beneath picnic tables, put their boats away, and sat and talked in the truck some more.

Really, such days can't go badly when you can pass them with a good friend.


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