The horror. The horror. Torrential rains. Steamy jungle heat. Clouds of vicious biting insects. I knew when I took this mission it was going to be tough. But I can't turn back now. I must find Col. Nise.
May 1, 2013
Bob. Dylan. We saw Bob. Our daughter Jamie arranged everything and son-in-law Josh was a superb chauffeur. Hibbing, Minnesota's favorite son on stage right before our eyes. Now we're ready to go to the Big Garden in the Sky whenever the Master Gardener calls.
Spider in the Timer
spider in the water timer irrigation system's down at least I don't have to worry that the plants are gonna drown
squirrels in the produce room chewing power wire probably won't be long now until they start a fire
deer in the lettuce garden mostly eat Romaines don't have the heart to shoot them we're just selling what remains
owls in the barn rafters paint my tractor white and black we try to shoo them out of there but they just come right back
we really love our little friends don't let it bring you down but if anybody else moves in we're moving back to town
November, 17 2011
How the Deer Made a Buck
Until this fall we had never lost crops to the deer on our farm. There are a lot of deer in this area of Stanly County and their tracks criss-cross the plant beds regularly, but they never ate anything.
In October that all changed with the arrival of a deer we'll call SaladMaster. This hooved gourmet grazed his way through hundreds of dollars in spinach and Romaine lettuce. He disdained all lesser greens and laughed at my attemps to dissuade him with a combination of lights, loud music and occasional bird shot showered in his direction.
We use row covers in spring and fall to extend our growing season. These are simply blankets of light weight material that give a few degrees of frost protection to the plants. Due to the deer problem we broke out all the covers available and spent hours covering everything green in sight. Result: deer predation ceased and covering the plants earlier than usual made enough extra income to pay SaladMaster's salad bar tab.
July, 2 2011
Everybody Loves Nise
blue bird, red bird, yellow bird too
they're all singing just for you
titmouse, nuthatch, even the jay
they all cry when you're away
chipmonk and black snake will become friends
if you promise your visit not to end
skinks will skitter and hummingbirds flitter
stay with us til the stars don't glitter
The best feature of the Ag Review is the classified ads. Especially the tractors. The ads read like a lonely hearts club plea for love:
doesn't smoke, fair sheet metal, uses a little oil, good rubber, ready to work
Now here's an actual ad that's one of my favorite bits of found poetry:
52 Ford 8N with bush hog, scrape blade, scoop pan, hare, single row disk, subsoiler, boom pole; single row bottom plow, 2 row bottom plow, 2 disk bottom plow, $3,750/for all. Can you feel the beat. I dig it. Try reading it aloud. This was written by Margaret Minor of Burlington, NC. Hope she got her price and I thank her for the poem.
October 28, 2010
The Agricultural Review is a free publication of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. You can read it online at the NCDA website or request a print subscription. I prefer the newsprint edition just for old time's sake. It's the only 'paper' newspaper I still read.
The Ag Review is worthwhile whether you farm or not. You can keep up with fairs, horse shows, 4-H events, old tractor clubs and other rural happenings.
In the almost forty years of my own readership, the Ag Review has changed surprisingly little; except in one respect. For most of that time, the N.C. Ag Commissioner was Big Jim Graham. He appeared on every page of every issue under one pretext or another. He was the real deal: six foot plus in cowboy hat and boots, with a giant cigar stuck in a big, friendly, never met a stranger sort of face. They called him the Sodfather. I met him once at the State Fair. I kinda liked him.
more on the poetry and prose of the Ag classifieds later
September 7, 2010
In hot, dry weather we are drenched in perspiration and then coated with a layer of fine soil particles. Sounds like a recipe: Soak the chicken in brine and then dust thoroughly with flour. We're ready to be sauteed. In butter with just a sqeeze of lemon. Maybe some scallions. Don't forget the garlic. Sprig o' parsley. I'm getting hungry.
August 18, 2010
We grow three kinds of figs: Celeste, Brown Turkey and Mammaw's Figs. Mammaw is Nise's mother, a.k.a. Maxine. She raised a wagon load of kids and then grandkids, to whom she was sometimes more of a mother than their own. Nise's dad was a long haul driver, so a lot fell on her shoulders. Their home was the oasis of stability that every family turns to in times of trouble. Oh, and the figs; they're just like Mammaw, plump and sweet.
July 29, 2010
Some people lose their appetite in the hot days of summer. For breakfast this morning I had a bratwurst with peppers and onions on a multigrain bun, my mother's famous potato salad, a Dos Equis, half of a baked butternut squash and two pots of tea. Nise had a cup of coffee.
June 29, 2010:
Martha and the Vandellas drifting out into the warm dark woods
The paleos danced to bless their planting naked sweating blessing
Have you ever seen he corn's own dance tassels swaying in the soft summer night
When the sweet corn Siren calls the raccoons from their tree we play the radio, guardian of our treasure
Some think it's just noise to frighten the timid we know it's an offering, a bargain: spare the corn, man... this is Radio Raccoon!