Home again from Toronto, and since this is a garden blog, I'll start with the garden entry, appending to it the Father Report with the latest news about my dad, who suffers from dementia and who had a debilitating stroke last fall. Later posts will proceed to the Tomato Mystery Problem, the somewhat garden-related entry, and to the entry having only the most distant relation to gardening.
I. The Garden stopover
On my way back from my spring trip to Toronto I stopped over in Minneapolis and helped some friends put in a tomato garden. On this visit, two months later, the plants towered over me.
Even bearing in mind that I am (well) under five feet tall, this is ridiculous.
That's spinach on the left, and a major chard leaf on the right. I hadn't set out to make a major harvest, but when I lifted the cover off the greens patch next door, I found the spinach pushing the row-cover ceiling. So I got out the scissors.
I needed this. I've been digging for days, prepping plots that should have been planted two months ago. So I'm looking at all this bare dirt, wondering if I'm ever going to get on top of things, and at the end of the day, I actually get to bring this in.
What a relief.
Let me be clear: I HATE shopping, and will put it off almost forever. Nevertheless, as has been true all too often this spring, I spent most of my gardening time yesterday in the car doing errands. Gardening time! In the car! Ack! More money than I care to admit has gone into the garden in the form of fencing, amendments, row covers, strawberries, and a dozen other items.
This post includes another entry about my father's stroke, an ongoing series I started on June 8th. Quit at the asterisks if you just want the gardening news.
Several days ago, my friend Sarah and I made the rounds of my garden, noting especially all the unprecedented molds and fungi that have sprung up. Sarah is the silver lining to the cloud that was the Bozeman Home and Garden Show last March; she's the person who came to check out the solar-panel possibilities of our shady lot, and while I haven't decided to spring for twenty-thousand dollars worth of panels, I have gained a new gardening friend–one who knows her mushrooms.
This has appeared in one of the plots on the alley:
Yesterday's wasn't the first hail of the season; we had two storms in early June, one of which went on to spawn a tornado over Billings, 122 miles east, where it ripped the roof off the 10,000 person Rimrock Arena. You can read all about it here, and watch a video of it here, or here. The first, very short video (21 seconds) shows the funnel clearly, but the next one, taken from much closer, shows the formation of the cloud and the debris that filled the air. Incredibly, no one was even hurt.
Here in Bozeman, my garden damage from those first storms amounted to a few shredded lettuce leaves and a still-green strawberry knocked from its stem. Pretty minor, but I have adopted a zero-tolerance policy with regard to strawberry damage, so I started putting up row-cloths over my strawberry plots scattered around the neighborhood. Eventually I installed row-cloths at the western end of all my plots, ready to whip over the beds if the weather looked threatening.(They're at the western ends so I don't have to fight the wind as I'm pulling them into place.)
My Significant Other (SO) thought this overkill, but after losing my garden to hail two summers back, I was willing to endure his laughter.