Monday, May 10, 2010
(here are a few of those plants the kid have been munching on all spring. Finally had to make room for the new and uproot the old. Death Panels for veggies.)
Dig dig dig. Dig dig dig. Dig dig dig.
The lowest paying job I ever had was (and this is not true but helps to tell the story quicker) shoveling out the foundation to what would become the old Boiler Room, underneath the crumbling downtown buildings of Port Townsend. Now it is a wonderful coffee shop called the Undertown (highly recommend you visit it! A true original). But at the time it was dirt.
And dirt is not all that bad. But this dirt was bonus dirt, because hidden in that dirt were hundreds of ancient bottles. This was a space between two old buildings, probably a dump of sorts. Clearly there was some kind of apothecary, judging by all the medicine bottles. At first my shovel broke right through them as I tasted the familiar bitterness of minimum wage. But soon I began to move like a dancer, tiptoeing over the possible lumps in the soil, brushing away clumps from the smooth buried treasures. By the end of the job I had amassed an impressive collection of hundred year old bottles, some with medicines still in them... even a tiny opium vile with a brown lump in it. Very cool. Some of these glass prizes still sit on my windowsill,
some on my parents' shelves and many have apparently packed their bags and headed out on their own, free from their dirt graves to roam again.
So what? I think that I have always had this propensity for digging. Screw the low wage, digging in dirt is one of those activities that propels me directly back to my roots. And the connection with soil in general is a ticket to your own origins. In fact, this brown matter slipping between your fingers is, in very truth, the bones of your ancestors. And their cats. Family. Friends. Enemies. From here we all begin and in this we all return.
So, when assessing our garden a few weeks ago, I decided it was going to have to get bigger, one way or another. Either dig this way or dig that way, but there would be no escape from a hell of a lot of digging. The native soil here was long gone, replaced by billions and billions of rocks, on top of clay, over which a sea of sand had been poured. So we dug and we dug and we dug until it was deep enough for the roots of the new plants to go exploring and not to meet the fate of Jesus's parable-seeds. Well, not the one, you know... the good one.
But the others. The ones like myself and every single person I know. But this is about gardening and not being choked out by weeds or trodden on hard ground or picked apart by birds.
Long story short. Dirt out. Dirt in. It's all good. And now our garden is sizably larger than last year, providing more room for the crops we know do well. Until next year, when I may discover that we need to expand, even if it is just a thinly veiled excuse to get back into some dirt.