Becoming a Gardener. Because we didn’t fish in the morning

This has been a crazy spring for me. For a while I didn’t think I would ever get into the garden. When I returned to Maine in early April, there was, literally, three feet of snow where the garden should have been. I could tell, because the tomato stakes, negligently left last fall, are six feet tall.

Snow at that time was not unusual, but it did encourage me to consider making the correct decision to limit what I intended to plant. The first to go was the peas. There was no way they were ever getting into the ground in a timely fashion.

One problem with growing one’s own vegetables is that, although there is nothing more satisfying than producing the family’s food, our crops mature at the same time that the local farms’ crops are plentiful. I settled for growing cucumbers, tomatoes, and beans. Beans will be available commercially, but nothing compares to eating them freshly picked right in the garden. Because I limited my species, I splurged on types and will have green, yellow, and purple beans. I expect the grandchildren to find them enticing.

Prepping the garden, clearing last years debris, weeding, rototilling and raking were challenging. After the snow, there was rain. Lots of rain. It seemed that the few really nice, sunny, drying days had been scheduled for out-of-town meetings. Suddenly, it was June.

Way back in the dark and dreary heart of winter I had decided to go with several other members of Maine Women Fly Fishers to an iconic northern Maine fishing camp. Not long after this reservation was made, I was fortunate to be included in Fly Fishing In Maine’s annual ‘alumni’ event for Casting for Recovery participants. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my husband attended the Trout Unlimited annual meeting and bought two trips at the auction.

All four trips were scheduled for June. This is not a complaint, certainly. Four out of five weeks I have fishing expeditions on the calendar. This is, truly, living the dream.

However, it means that on four out of five weeks I am only going to be home for a maximum of three days. Three days to recuperate, unpack, repack, do laundry, get groceries…all I can say is it is a good thing I do not worry about cleaning the house. Well, I do, but worry is as far as it gets.

In between trips two and three we managed to get the garden cleared and rototilled. I plotted out the rows and specific spots for the tomatoes. While I was planting the cucumbers and beans, Stan was digging the tomato holes and filling them with compost. I left for my third trip with a very neat looking expanse of rich looking dirt with neat looking poles and twine marking potential food, and 30 darker compost filled places waiting for their plants.

Frankly, worries over unpurchased plants as well as tons of other work in the house and office disappeared before I reached the turnpike. From the time I arrived at Jessica’s house where I would leave my car to inhabit someone’s backseat for the next four plus hours, my brain was totally focussed on the pursuit of finny folk. And gossip. And a tad bit of what was happening in the country, and, of course ensuring world peace.

We were scheduled for two full days with guides, and were situated where we could easily fish on our own Thursday night and Sunday morning, which was our plan. It was a delightful trip with really supportive, fun people. It was not until about an hour from Jessica’s on the way home that my brain started fretting about the unplanted section of the garden and the empty window boxes, and then the general condition of home and yard.

Because we didn’t fish in the morning, it was only mid-afternoon, rather than night. Instead of going home the usual ‘back way,’ I stayed on the main road to be able to stop at the local farm stand. I bought five packs of different varieties of tomatoes. Nice, foot-tall sturdy plants, some already with buds ready to burst. And, an irresistible pack of different colored dahlias.

Because we didn’t fish in the morning, Stan was not expecting me and was not home. After unpacking the car, I changed and went into the garden. Two rows of cucumbers had seeds starting to push through, and there were a few mounds in one of the bean rows where seeds were trying to come out, one where I could even see a spot of green.

Two of the five rows were planted when Stan arrived. After sharing the highlights of my adventure, I returned to the ground and plants. My tomatoes are planted ‘horizontally.’ I lay them in the holes so that most of the stalk is underground. This affords a lot of space for roots to grow. The above-ground portion was only a few inches tall when I finished.

Because we didn’t fish in the morning, I am looking at a growing garden, today. Both days since the end of my trip have been full of other obligations that have taken me away for the entire day, and there would not have been time to buy and plant until this morning. Instead, this morning all the cukes are through the ground, beans have popped out tall as beans do, and some of the tomatoes have almost regained the height at which they were bought.

Because we didn’t fish in the morning, I am a happy gardener; a more relaxed woman in general, better able to cope with all I need to do. Doth I protest too much? However that may be, the gardening glass is definitely more than half full, despite anything the fishing glass might feel. Hoe, hoe, hoe.



Genie Jennings

About Genie Jennings

My blog, as my life, is composed of many interests. Because you are reading this, we must share at least one. They are divided into categories, so you can easily find others on our mutual topic. Also, you can avoid things on which we might diverge. Things labeled 'genie' are general life musings. When I took up fly fishing in earnest, I was struck by how much it was like skiing to me. It is an intricate activity that is easy to enter, and the more one knows, the more one realizes how little one knows. My comment was, "I would love to have something I love that does not require so much effort." I immediately knew that was not true. It is the striving that makes things valuable, and it is the striving that is life. I am evolving; I am becoming many things, a skier, a fly fisherman, an irrationally self-reliant human. I am becoming 'genie' whoever that might be.