Saturday, October 10, 2009

Handling your hoe (rural version, ch. 1)

A couple days ago I was out weeding our two remaining beds of leeks. It was an odd weeding job because the deer had been grazing on the weeds they like to eat, leaving shortish weeds with fairly stout roots (hard to hoe and pull because of the deep-set roots, hard to pull, also, because of the lack of grip space to yank 'em up). Deer don't like to eat leeks (at least these don't), and most of the rest of the field has just recently been put into a cover crop of rye, vetch, and clover (all of which are mere seedlings), leaving the nightly congregation of deer in that field to munch on nothing but weeds. The main weed was a yellow-flowering fast grower (whose name escapes me) that just absolutely dominates our farm throughout most of the year; deer seem to love it, but they left others, like dock (deep, stubborn roots), to grow unabated. So, hoeing was rough. And the inevitable hand weeding that left many broken roots in the ground was discouraging . It was slow going.

I find that when you have such a weeding job in front of you, it's nice to slap on a pair of earbuds and let music help you along. For instance, Modest Mouse assisted me in the leek-weeding endeavor. The schizophrenic vocals over a steady funk-like beat helped rhythmize and energize my hoe strokes to efficiently uproot (or at least chop off sufficiently until the first frost comes) those pesky bastards. Neko Case helped me slow it down a little--let me feel the cool, pleasant breeze under the completely blue and sunny Carolina sky, helping me find some odd grace in my hoeing technique. Because, what's weeding without a bit of contemplative, sensual pleasure? And then Paul Simon brought me back to the rhythm, giving me that final push of energy to get the job done. Plus, there's no not liking weeding when Simon inquires about the 50 ways.

Sometimes I don't need music to accompany me. Often just being outside, doing real, meaningful work to survive is enough. But there are days when you'd rather be doing nothing, or else something easy. Though it's tempting to just give in to laziness (which happens sometimes), certain things just have to get done. And I really wouldn't want it any other way.


The trees are really coloring up now in the higher elevations. The reds are out. But yesterday our high temperature hit 80, which was, um, perfect. Meanwhile, back in Wisconsin, they're expecting snow and freezing temps. Love it here.

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1 comment:

  1. I love your stories, did you ever think about doing a book?