Nature can outrun me in the summer.  I could spend all my time doing nothing but mowing grass and weeding, and the weeds and grass would still grow faster than I can cut them down.  Nature laughs at my pitiful attempts to tame her.  I’m OK with that.  I take comfort in my little victories.

We’ve had multiple days lately in the 90s with high humidity.  In other words, it’s been steaming hot.

We will go for a long time with no rain, until everything is dusty and brown.  Then it will rain torrentially and wash away the seeds and topsoil.  When I replant, Nature chuckles and bakes the soil into bricks.

The winter squash didn’t come up in those conditions.  So I replanted it and now it’s emerging. It seems we’ll have winter squash after all.


After planting the sweet potatoes I irrigated them well to make sure they would establish.  That produced a blanket of grass in the garden, threatening to overwhelm the sweet potatoes.  But after a morning with my hoe it looks fine now.  The sweet potatoes seem grateful and I expect we’ll have lots of them.


And while all this was going on, a little chick has learned to ride on her mother’s back.



18 comments on “Unruly

  1. Bill. Be sure to see the May/June issue of Orion Magazine. Wendell has a piece that accompanies really excellent photos of farmers.

    keeping the faith with you, will


  2. DM says:

    loved the picture of the baby chick riding mama’s back! 🙂 I was just reading in Ecclesiastes this morning, where he talks about our inability to figure things out, and if you wait for perfect conditions to plant or harvest, you will never get anything…this post reminded me of those words…just never know what’s going to turn out and what’s going to flop…so you just keep plugging away. I experience the same dynamic when I bid construction jobs…you never know which ones you are going to get and which ones will never get off the ground, so you just keep bidding, communicating, and plodding along, and out of some of them, I will reap work.


    • Bill says:

      I’ve had more “do overs” than normal this year, but just feeling glad that I have the chance to do that. I’ve learned that often it makes more sense just to start over than to try to nurse along a bad start. And having that option takes some of the pressure off on trying to figure out the perfect day to plant. Sometimes seeds don’t come up. So we have to plan for that too. 🙂


  3. Buffy says:

    It has been a harsh year in the garden here. It is very hard to over come too much rain!


  4. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, the trip was great. I used to be excited about long driving trips in my youth but not so much now. It sure helped with two drivers. However, rain happened while we were gone and weeds grew over abundantly. After two days of catch up, I’m still behind. Between a late frost, flash floods, and hail, the plants had to be replanted three times. This year will be mostly spent on the structure of the gardens. It will be a great help for next year. Trying to work on fence building, bed rejuvenation, natural spring development, and irrigation building makes it tough to actually have time to do any gardening which is supposed to be the main thing. I’m trying to get caught up but now the weather is hot (96) with high humidity. That’s not too good for hard physical labor in the garden. This morning I made a disparate attempt to replant the sweet corn one last time before another storm comes through. Arising at 5am to spend two hours in the garden before my daughter goes to work gives me a cool time to work in the garden.

    Have a great taming the unruly day.


    • Bill says:

      Glad you had a good trip. It’s been brutally hot and humid here too. I’ve been trying to get early starts too. It’s nice to work while it’s still cool and the very early morning is such a beautiful time to be outside.


  5. I love watching seeds sprout. Sweet potatoes are looking good. I grew these for the first time last year and they absolutely loved the heat. At times I though the vines were bent on taking over the entire back yard.


    • Bill says:

      I love growing sweet potatoes. They thrive in our hot dry summers. And once they start vining they choke out most of the weeds. They’re delicious, nutritious and easy to store. Essentials, as far as I’m concerned. The only problem we have here is that they’re deer candy.


  6. There’s a strong thread of poetry running through this … love the chick riding on her mother’s back …
    Saw this in my email today… you are probably familiar but it made me think of all your hard work and how you treat the land so lovingly: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2014/06/18


    • Bill says:

      Thank you for your kind words Teresa. That’s one of his wonderful Sabbath poems. Thanks for sharing it.
      We like to think that the land feels our love when we care for it. What should we expect of land we abuse and treat with contempt?


  7. First, I love sweet potatoes. In fact I am cooking up some tomorrow.

    Grass-wise, we live in a Mediterranean type climate here in Southern Oregon. I cut it down in June and it stays down. 🙂 We don’t plant a lawn due to the climate. (We do operate off of our own well and have never had a shortage… so far, knock on wood.)

    Finally, I’m curious. How large is you farm? –Curt


  8. shoreacres says:

    I’ve never seen a chick on a mama’s back, except with loons. Well, and baby alligators ride around like that. But they’re certainly not chicks.

    I saw this poem today and thought of you. It’s certainly applicable to your farm, but it’s applicable in a much larger sense, as well. Given the headlines, perhaps disturbingly relevant. But that’s a different subject. 😉


    • Bill says:

      I’m flattered that both you and Teresa would think of me when you saw that beautiful Sabbath poem. It is hard to find the words to express the love I have for this place and the deep sense of attachment I feel to it. Wendell Berry gets that, which is one of the principal reasons I find his writing so powerful and compelling. Like him I know that this place will be here long after I’m gone and like him I hope that those who come after me treat it with the love it deserves.


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