Clean up….and discovery!

After a cloudy and chill start to the day, the weather became…. well, not great, it just didn’t suck nearly as much. A few times, the sun almost broke through, though it was never present long enough to do anything to take the chill out of the air. Work, I have found, has an amazing way of warming the body, so I dug out the hoe and started getting warm.
The area around the potato patch wasn’t exactly covered in weeds, but it definitely needed some cleaning up. That didn’t take long, but it provided a small surprise: the vacant spot, where I’d planted a set and, after much waiting, had given up seeing anything, had a few leaves rising out of it. From their shape, I am fairly sure that that the last of my sets has decided to join its fellows in growth. With the clearing away done, it was time to lay down some mulch to try to keep the area clear. A couple of left-over bales of straw were in storage, under a tarp, waiting for their moment in the sun. Unfortunately water, like rust, never sleeps. Even under a (fairly) new tarp, water had found its way in, percolating through the two remaining bales to form small pools under them. With both of them showing all the signs of being water logged, the choice was simple: use the one that’s already open!

If you’ve never handled wet straw, I can tell you from experience that there in nothing in this earth quite as unpleasant and nasty as soggy straw. Worse, the shortest, most convenient path between the straw pile and where the potatoes were was blocked by a limb that has slowly been sagging closer and closer to the ground the last couple of years. So, before the straw moves, the limb has to go…..and the one next to it that isn’t much higher…..and the odd limb sticking down from a much higher limb that had also managed to get in the way….and… well, you get the picture. So off to collect the bow saw and do some much-put-off tree trimming. That, in turn, brought out my disgust at a couple of saplings that had taken hold in a stretch of black raspberries I tend. Which, in turn, led me to notice how shoddy a job I’d done the fall before cleaning up the old wild rose that graces one corner of the yard.

In the end, I had a very good-sized pile of trimmings and other yard waste for the city to come by and collect (someday, I hope). And the straw finally got spread around the spuds. With a little luck, the remaining straw won’t get too bad too soon so I can give the patch a follow-up covering when the first one starts to thin out from decay. All in all, it was a productive day I think. Who knows, the work might have done my body some good now, and the potatoes might do my body some good later on in the year when I harvest them. Of course, there is still the eating of them to take care of, but for now, I will leave that in the “Possible” category…. which is probably where I should have kept the harvesting of them too. Weather, pest and general fortune can conspire to ruin even the simplest of plans, so for now I will watch and wait, hoping my labors are having a positive effect.


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