everybody's talking at me
What's Growing On

this is sort of a nonblog, maybe even an antiblog

Welcome aboard.


August 8, 2013

August Blues

rampant are the weeds

dispersing many seeds

our gardens deep despair

only frost can now repair

when autumn brings relief

withering each blighted leaf

then winter winds will blow

perhaps a soothing snow

in spring the heart renews

and gone these August blues

July 11, 2013

A pot of grits now.

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.

August, 2012

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

June, 2011

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

Julia Childs

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:

Radio Raccoon

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!