Beauties & a beast

I haven’t been keeping up the pace here, and I owe you an explanation. In the past few weeks, I’ve been up-down-up-dooooown-uuuuup-down the east coast, catching up with beautiful people and sparkling places and music that’s never been featured in any Ollywood. There’s been a minor drama motion picture in the backyard over the past couple weeks, where my father and I sprang into action with rototiller, compost, shovels, and peat moss to make a three sisters garden – this is a traditional Native American planting method for corn, beans, and squash, which form a wonderful symbiosis in the ground and in the diet.

Ground : Heaped into small mounds that help maintain proper irrigation and, we notice, keep dogs from stepping directly on your seeds. Beans/peas climb up corn stalks, while winding squash vines splay their giant leaves around and keep the ground clear(er) of weeds. The beans fix nitrogen back into the soil, improving the prospects for the corn and squash next season. Nice.

Diet : Carbs/corn, vitamins/squash, proteins/beans, oils/squash seeds, weaving our way up the food pyramid. Or should I say – beans and tamales with roasted squash? That’s how my dreams were running, until the groundhog waddled in.

Groundhog :

We watched the soft green tips stretch into the sunlight, and unfurl into curling tendrils, outstretched pumpkin palms, and silken fronds. We turned our backs for a moment, or maybe just blinked, and one triplet of pumpkins was suddenly amputated – an entire mound reduced to little green arms. Next we blinked another mound was denuded, and sometime in there all the bean plants vanished. A few corn fronds were snipped off and left carelessly in the pathways between the plantings, and from day to day each grouping of squash plants was cruelly razed.

We only had 8 helpings of squash to offer, and it’s been over a week now. If you run into that groundhog though, casually leaning against a pump at the gas station and picking his teeth with the remains of my garden, you tell him from me – this ain’t over.


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