By LYNNE IRONS
I have personal space issues in every area of my life except gardening. I hate turtleneck sweaters, would never get on an airplane with those tiny seats — breathing other people’s air — and practically get road rage about tailgating. I followed a small car from the Scottish Bakehouse all the way to the Aquinnah town line. I kept my reasonable 100-foot distance while he was less than 10 feet from a big Allied Waste Service trash truck. I honestly don’t think the truck driver could see him in his side mirrors. While we are at it — why doesn’t anyone walk on the left facing traffic any more?
As far as my gardens, however, I load them to the max. I don’t want to see any dirt. When my bulbs arrive, I’ll plant several types in the same hole to extend the season. I’ll put a layer of daffodils, cover with bulb tone and an inch or so of dirt — add a layer of tulips (at least seven), cover again and finish the hole with crocuses. They grow happily together for years.
My vegetable garden finally froze. It was sad to see the end but yet somewhat a relief. My friend Sharlee remembers an elderly Aunt Merle seeing her frozen garden at the end of a season; when asked if she was saddened by it, Aunt Merle remarked that it simply meant spring was on its way. For me, it makes the garden chores different. It’s time to turn compost, dig dahlias, and concentrate on the cold weather crops. I hope I weed my strawberries and asparagus before the ground freezes solid.
Cousin Mark phoned from Bradford, Pa., to report that the snow was accumulating and the flowers were still blooming. Bradford is the big town down in the valley below Rew, my hometown. There were many little settlements in the hollows between mountains. We called them hollers of course. It is Appalachia. The weather here on the Vineyard is mild to me coming from the serious snow belt.
Spent last rainy, windy Sunday afternoon at the Agricultural Hall with a gathering of kindred spirits. It was our monthly meeting of Homegrown, the home vegetable growers’ group. It is the third Sunday of the month from 3 to 5 p.m. We always receive new members. Last week we talked about how our gardens produced this season. Everyone had successes and failures and shared them all. We also discussed the importance of soil testing and its availability from the University of Massachusetts. It costs under $10. Call 413-545-2311 or go online to umass.edu/plsoils/soiltest. Now is a good time for testing as there is time for correcting before next spring’s planting.
Next month we will discuss planting garlic. It is still too early as you do not want the little shoots to emerge and risk winter damage.
There has been quite a bit of tree work along State Road. I am still getting used to the empty spots in the sky. Some of the oaks were quite large. I think many had suffered caterpiller damage over the past two years. I am not a tree-hugger. I like to let light into areas and let other trees grow straight and tall. Speaking of cutting trees, let’s get rid of those willows blocking the view of Lake Tashmoo. The reason the state built the Tashmoo Overlook was to look over something.
Gabbed on the phone with Mary Vascellera. She remarked that she enjoyed last Sunday’s wild storm. She likened it to being in a car wash. How seldom people appreciate inclement weather. It was refreshing. It reminds me of the famous (and one of my favorite) Will Rogers’ quotes concerning the weather: “Everyone’s talking about it, and no one is doing anything about it!” You would be amazed at how many people have responded to that quote with, “Well, what can you do about it?” nevermind.
Here are some interesting statistics according to the American Community Survey: 31 states including the District of Columbia have uninsured rates of health care lower than the national average. All of the states in the Midwest and Northeast are included in this group. Nineteen states are higher than the average — 10 are in the South with Texas leading, where 24 per cent of the residents are without coverage. In other words, the people living in states that would benefit the most from health care reform are the ones against it! Go figure!