Wednesday, April 8, 2009

From the Ground Up

Carnage has ensued

After all the seed catalog shopping on winter afternoons and planning more projects than a team of landscapers could finish, it's time for the digging.

Actually, the recent rude reminders of winter, complete with six-foot snow drifts kind of delayed things, but last night I got the garden fork out and ripped into a bed. No rototiller, just handpower to turn over the straw mulch and loosen the soil. That means less gas burned and better soil texture. A seemingly noble task.

But not so fast. Apparently, over the years the roots of elm trees 30 feet away have crept to the bed. I guess the regular doses of water tasted good.

No, it wasn't the roots from last year's cucumbers that stopped me from getting a fork full of dirt. The entire bed is filled with tree roots. Not large in diameter, but very tenacious. With dreams of finishing one bed, I struggled to do half of it before it got dark. And the whole time I was getting madder.

It reminded me of a long-forgotten Greek play some high school teacher thought I should read. The one line that stuck with me and a few of my friends was "carnage ensued." We used it for a while to describe even the smallest upset, then it went away for 30 years.

It's back.

I cut and pulled and cut and pulled, ripped and tore and ripped and tore.

More of that action is on tap for tonight, but only if my back holds out.

See, there's a priority here because during the aforementioned snow storm, what should arrive but a box of 25 raspberry plants intended for that bed. Two weeks in the coolest, darkest closet I have has probably been too long for the plants. I've been afraid to look, so the carnage needs to pick up the pace.

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