Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Oliver

Rest in Peace, Beloved Oliver

The House Dog’s Grave
 - Robinson Jeffers
"I’ve changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.
So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you’d soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.
I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the nights through
I lie alone.
But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read- and I fear often grieving for me-
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.
You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying.
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dears, that’s too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.
And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided….
But to me you were true.
You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours."

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Says it all, doesn't it?

<< with thanks to Mutts comics - Patrick McDonnell is an artist/philosopher/animal rescue supporter and someone whose work is always a day brightener>>>>

Grafted Tomatoes??? Yep. Grafted Tomatoes.

Every year I check the gardening catalogs for some new plant invention
that I haven't ever tried before.
This has led to some very interesting gardening "experiences".

This year, while perusing the Territorial Seed catalog, I discovered
Grafted Tomatoes.
Yes!  This is true!
They had actually grafted named tomato varieties
(hybrid and heirloom)  onto "SuperNatural" rootstock. they are upon arrival.  All three.

Hardly looks like (ahem) $41 worth of tomatoes
(including shipping), does it?

But wait!  Listen to a bit from the Territorial Seed catalog:
SuperNatural rootstock's "formidable resistance 
to a broad range of soil-borne diseases and nematodes 
keeps plants healthy and productive all season.
It also increases the plants' tolerance to both cold and heat
for an extended harvest..... the only readily available rootstock
that is untreated and suitable for certified organic production
and always non-genetically modified.
V, CR, FOR, F1, N TMV."

If that last line looks like something off an eye test chart,
I'll tell you that it's a pretty formidable array of local plant diseases.
The ones that get my tomatoes almost every season.

So here they are:
(look carefully and you'll see the graft line on each)

Indigo Rose, described as a distinct BLUE-colored tomato
(Okay, I'll admit, I'd have bought it just for THAT
wouldn't you?)
 "the first high-anthocyanin tomato commercially available".

Momotaro - ranked as an "unsurpassable" pink tomato.
I hear that it is deliciousness personified. 
(If a tomato can personify...)

 We love SunGold cherry tomatoes. Nothing is sweeter.
They are sweeter than our Triple Crown blackberries!
I love the way they look mixed with red cherry tomatoes.
So, look....
grafted together: SunGold AND Sweet Million.


This is going to be ssssoooooooo cool.

If I can keep the blasted mole/vole alliance from destroying them first.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Farmers Can't Grow All Your Vegetables!

Don't you love this poster?
I do.
This is a vintage British poster  
- but take a good look at that illustration. 
What it portrays is true today.

American farms have morphed into large conglomerates, growing wheat, corn and soybeans and almost nothing else. Even our larger Hampton Roads farms, small though they are by mid-West standards, rotate only those three crops.  If you haven't noticed, simply watch the fields around us each year to see what I mean.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, the things we all need to eat more of, are produced on only 2% of U.S. farms.

Why? Well, it's harder and it's costlier. Small fruit and veggie farms are not eligible for crop subsidies.  They can't get reasonable crop insurance. They have difficulty obtaining loans.  If you'd like to learn more about the problems small farms face, here's a link:  Ensuring the Harvest.

Every year, more of the fruits and vegetables you find in grocery stores are grown outside the country and shipped in - at increased cost and petroleum consumption.

How do we turn this around?  How do we make fresh fruits and vegetables abundant locally?

Well, for starters, let's all get ourselves to the farm markets and stands where our few valiant local fruit and veggie growers have their crops for sale. Here's the Hampton Roads guide to the best markets and farms around:  Buy it fresh, buy it local.  Have you noticed how many of our local markets are now open year around with fresh goods?  Let's be there!

Happy Earth Day!
Here's a really fun site:  World Food Garden: People Growing Their Own Food and Sharing How They Do It.  (Warning: When you open the site, the map often opens smack in the middle of the ocean. That's not a "blue screen of death" that's the Atlantic. Move out on the image and then you'll be able to navigate around.  I love, love seeing all the gardens worldwide that have joined!

Even though I'm scaling all my gardens back dramatically, you can bet that there will be veggies and fruits growing out here - and where ever I find myself - every season. There's nothing more local, and more fun, than growing your own food.

And any gardener will tell you - there's nothing like growing your own food to make you appreciate the folks who do it for a living.