Saturday, February 18, 2012

A New Year

© 2012 Joshua Stark

When your life revolves around outside activities, the number version of a year doesn't always apply.

Yesterday, Phoebe, Ruben and I re-began our plantings.  About a month ago, when it looked like we wouldn't get any Winter, Phoebe and I put seeds in the ground.  Nothing fancy, just some root veggies and broccoli, the idea being that they would pop up by the time of the next rain; but what came first was maybe ten days of freezing mornings, so no luck.

Now, with February flying by, we buckled down.  On Sunday, I purchased flats of cabbage, bok choy, onions, leeks, and collard greens, and two days ago we put down our first three rows.  Phoebe, being five, can do a lot more now, and was carefully planting and patting down with me.  Even Ruben, who'd been fussy that morning, was downright chipper and well-behaved (crazy for a sixteen-month old).

I'm nervous as heck that the menace that was the slug will return in force now that we no longer can turn them into eggs (via duck ducts).  I've got some old oyster shells lying around from our time with the birds, and I may pulverize them even more, and sprinkle them around the plants, but I must do something, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

Further afield, the greens are in full force on the Delta.  In fact, if you get out there right now, you may find some amazing mustard greens with just-about-flowering tips.  They look like broccoli raab, and they taste wonderful.  Another couple of weeks and it'll be bitter-city out there among the mustard, although I've noticed that the radishes have yet to flower so much.

To me, really, February is the New Year.  Last year's hunting seasons end at the end of January, and planting for early varieties begins now.  Waterfowl are in full force on the Delta, decked to the nines in their mating plumage.  Fishing changes, and we start to gear up for some pre-spawn action in March and look for big storm runoff to set our catfish spots afire.  The days even start to feel a bit longer.  Although we only really get cooped up when storms pass through, it still gives me a sense of cabin fever knowing that everything is going to start to pop really soon.

Lordy, I wouldn't stand a chance living in a Northern clime.

A crummy picture of my first planted bed this year... The Sun is just too bright here in California.


Hippo said...

You are making me feel all guilty now. I neeed to construct beds, loads of them around the Jango and between the Jango and the kitchen. Then I can concrete between them to make pathways. I am still repairing the flood damage and there;s me telling everyone I have retired!

Josh said...

I'm going to use one of our quaint little colloquiallisms here, Hippo, so bare with me:


That's Californian for, "I, I make YOU feel guilty?!!? Holy crap! You just lost a big chunk of your land, you've opened a business, and you have goals! Goals!!"

Obviously, something gets lost in the translation, but I hope you are feeling me, here.

I just planted one tiny raised bed, and I haven't even opened up about my current life.

Plus, you can outwrite me like a, like a... like a person who can write compared to a person who cannot write.

Hippo said...

Dude, I felt that and know where you are coming from but, Man, don't go with all those negative vibes. You got your style, I got mine. Let's face it, if we all liked only the same things it's be a bitch scoring with the one girl up to standard in the neighborhood. Thankfully, we are all different.

I like your blog, you just don't post enough for me and, btw, I think it would be hilarious if you started writing like a Dude, stff like: Hey Man, you're not going to believe the shit that went down today. I bust my ass building some beds so we can go green by growing greens and reduce our carbon footprint, like I mean I like the sea but I don't want to be up to my ass in it in twenty years time becuase of global warming, and the wife all she says it's very nice but can I hurry up and go to the store and buy chocolate ice cream before it closes. Sheesh.

Getting 'bare' with your mates, like you asked me to do with you, is kind of a hippie beach boy thing, rather than a sort of San Francisco cultural thing, isn't it? OK, I can live with that.

Josh said...

Though I admire the real ones, I am no surfer-dude, so I can't really capture their voice. You do a pretty good job of it though, maybe you should try it. It's even better for you, too, because your British-ness shines through just enough.

What's interesting, to me, about surfer-speak is that these folks are really connecting with some tremendous power in the waves and then using appropriate words to describe it (awesome, epic, etc.) Sadly, those words then get used by laypeople to describe things that don't really meet that level of power (haircuts, for example). But, I digress.

And you are spot-on about the hippie beach boy vs. SF thing.