August 29, 2008
It’s Labor Day weekend, so in that spirit I vanished from work an hour early so as to commence laboring. Wait a minute, something is wrong with this picture! After two hours of wrestling a tiller as cooperative as a rodeo steer, we now have a cozy 15′x35′ space ready for planting. Tomorrow Frances will introduce a variety of peat pots into this fertile plot. It will be our first introduction to Texas gardening, exotic to us for its two balmy growing seasons bisected by three months of pure hellfire. Into the ground will go a variey of herbs, including dill, basil, oregano, green onions, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. (I suspect this last item is a not-so-subtle attempt to secure my labor since I adore those little cabbages.)
Although the tilling was a hassle, I got to enjoy a zen moment an hour into the exercise. I remembered a long-ago visit to Old Sturbridge Village, where employees dress, talk and act like early 19th century New England farmers. They are what passed for farmers to me until we moved to rural Texas this year. Everything about the Village was fascinating to me, the stony earth neatly partitioned into furrows, the working blacksmith shop, the flowering herb gardens. It never seemed to bother me that it was make-believe, staffed primarily by vacationing teachers and history buffs.
We have no idea as yet what will grow and what won’t in the thick Texas clay. Hope to hear from others who have undertaken this same process.