Weeding the Salad

This morning was the first officially organized Community Garden workday of the year.  This year, we’ll be having them regularly–every other Saturday.

I was only able to be down there for about an hour and a half–pulling weeds and moving branches from a trimmed tree.  I donated my old steel wheelbarrow to be stashed in the shed along with the other donated tools, and I bought a new wheelbarrow today for use at the home gardens.  First task will be cleaning up limbs, so I can mow the backyard.

But first on the agenda (after feeding myself a lunch consisting of slices of Red Wagon sourdough slathered with homemade goat cheese and blackberry preserves) was to finish weeding the salad mix at the farm.

Weeding the salad mix

CSA deliveries start Tuesday, and the Farmers Market starts Thursday of the coming week.  Thankfully, that week is also a break between spring and summer classes (which has never happened before since I’ve been teaching at the U.), and although I’ll be prepping for summer classes and finishing up grading for spring, at least there’s a little lag time.

I realized how not-into-the-swing of harvest and delivery I was when I did that pre-season harvest for the PrairieSun shop yesterday.  It took me about twenty minutes to find my produce bags, and I didn’t even get out in the field until almost noon (I was working on class and market-related stuff earlier in the day).

And it was COLD!  All these lovely, lovely spring days we’ve had, and my first harvest had to be on the overcast, drizzly, 45-degree-high day.  I was wearing two layers of wool over two layers of cotton, but oh, my red, chapped hands!

I was looking at my Organic Valley sour cream container in which I keep rubber bands–the one that says to, “Join Farm Friends!™”–their online coupon group, and thinking, Wanna be a farm friend? Come dunk your hands in this frigid water and help me wash some muddy radishes!

But I made it through, and rewarded myself with a couple pints of Guinness at Carey’s happy hour–buoyed in spirit by the happy, final-exam-finished crowd and a few of the guys from Poker Alice playing their old-time hits.

H met me down there, and after the boys finished playing, we headed back home to a stew of homegrown borlotto beans, locally-raised chicken and bacon, some garden green onions and roasted summer veggies accompanied by about half a loaf of the aforementioned freshly-baked Red Wagon sourdough schmeared with homemade goat cheese.

So, that brings me back full circle to this afternoon, and the salad mix.  It’s about a 150 square foot bed, and it was freshly tilled this spring to give it that fine tilth necessary for thickly-sown greens.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t really thought at the time about how a freshly tilled bed in that area of the garden was a great way to germinate all the lamb’s quarter from previous years when it was rampant down there.

It’s impossible to get every single stem of lamb’s quarter out, but it is an edible green.  But Goddess Mix is not advertised as a lamb’s quarter and lettuce mix, so I’ve really got to make a grand effort to get as much out as possible.

I’d made a small dent in it last Monday, but not nearly as much as I remembered.  Just about enough to be able to harvest an area equal to about nine bags for Prairie Sun and two for me, it turns out.

I was weeding that mix for five hours this afternoon–taking breaks for coffee and water and transferring all the little piles of freshly-plucked lamb’s quarter to the compost pile.

Sometime later in the afternoon, I smelled a particular smell–a smell that said either H was burning something really rancid in that brush pile, or someone had hit a skunk on the road.

Or, as it turned out, Vega had discovered a skunk under a vehicle parked in the woods, and she’d harassed it to the point of no return.  H had guessed Vega had made an escape fast enough to avoid the spray–but perhaps he’d been just a little too close to the event to be able to differentiate the smell in the air from the smell on the dog.

I came up from the gardens to refresh my water bottle, smelled the smell, saw the dog acting very penitent on the front porch, and took a good sniff of her coat.  And then changed my mind about the other couple of tasks I thought I might accomplish before calling it a day.

Stopped at Jones’ on the way back into town and picked up a couple of cans of tomato juice before discovering on the trusty ol’ internet that tomato juice doesn’t actually really work to remove skunk musk.  The recipe online called for hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap, but I only had the last two items on the list.

So, that’s what I washed her with.  I’m just glad she didn’t get the full force of the spray because while she’s a little more tolerable, she’s still got that certain Eau de Pew going on.  She’ll most certainly be banished from the bedroom tonight.

I can only hope she’s learned her lesson about the black-and-white kitties with the fluffy tails, and I guess that tomato juice will have to go in some Bloody Marys!

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