Well, the storm rolled in, as we knew it would. The wind wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, but it was the rain that did my corn in. I can’t be too upset. Things could have been much worse, indeed. My wife and baby girls are safe and sound, and that’s what counts the most.
Sure, I’m a little sad—about the popcorn especially. But maybe it will bounce back?
Here are the “After” pictures that I anticipated in my last post.
How did your garden fare?
I’m an optimist. Or at least I’d like to think I am. But still, I’m not sure what state my garden will be in after Hurricane Irene steamrolls through with her predicted 100 mile an hour winds. I’d like to think that everything is going to be fine, that the hurricane will be much smaller than predicted, that we’ll just get a little wind and a little rain. But just in case, I am posting some “before” pictures. It would be a shame to lose my popcorn and tomato plants in this storm. I’m hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.
Here’s a picture of what I harvested last night. See that purple eggplant on the side? It’s the first eggplant I’ve ever harvested from my own garden. Ha! Actually, I grew it on the deck in a big pot. In years past, flea beetles would decimate my eggplants when they were mere seedlings. This year I outsmarted those flea beetles with a container, and there you go: eggplant.
A few nights ago, I was making a tomato salad and needed some basil. I asked my 3 year old, who was playing out on the deck, if she would go down to the garden and get me some basil leaves. She thought about it for a second, and then said yes. A few minutes later, she came back with a handful of perfect basil leaves. Not sure if I’m fully able to express how proud I am of her.
And finally, I leave you with another video. This time it’s an orb weaver spider. Every night she builds a web on my porch. Every morning I have to remember to duck or I’ll get a face-full of web. Enjoy.
The accompanying music is by my band Tin Bird Choir.
It’s funny, the difference between my job as online editor at OG and the rest of the editorial staff. They work months in advance—even years—to line up writers, plan photo shoots, edit stories, design the layout, and everything else they do. And as they get closer to closing an issue, they all seem pretty tense and super busy. I try to stay out of their way.
My job, on the other hand, is in real time. I’m forced to live in the present moment a bit more than the rest of the team, between the social media, the day-to-day maintenance of the website, writing newsletters, keeping track of our traffic numbers, etc. Web publishing is immediate—it happens right now. What I do online today will have an effect today. I don’t have the luxury of time.
There is a point, however, when my online & digital duties intersect with the print team. There are a few weeks in our publishing cycle—after it goes to press and before it goes on sale—when my work is centered around the new issue.
And that time is now.
The October/November issue is wrapped up. While it won’t be on the newsstand until the beginning of September, there are copies of it floating around the office. And where the rest of the team has already moved on to the December/January issue and beyond, it’s only now that I get to enjoy the new issue. And it looks great: Very cool features about Japanese maples, hard cider, heirloom apples, and the garden at Colonial Williamsburg, plus tons of helpful information for the garden and kitchen and all around organic living.
This week and next I will be taking the print issue and making it digital. I’m creating online versions of the articles—and am knee-deep in creating the iPad version of the Organic Gardening, too. I like this part of my job for many reasons: it’s always challenging in a beat-the-clock kind of way (I have to get everything built before the issue hits newsstands). Plus, I get to dig in deep, mining the new content for “extra feature” possibilities for the iPad. But what I think I like the most about this time is that it makes me feel like I’m part of the print team, even though they’ve already moved on.
It was a very interesting day for insects at our house yesterday. First we found this large black beetle clinging to the wall of our porch. It was about 2 inches in length and rather intimidating looking. But nonetheless, my 3-year-old daughter wanted to touch it. First she touched its back and then she tried to pick it up and it fell to the ground. She was very excited about it. And I was very impressed with her fearlessness.
Then when we went out to the garden we witnessed what I suppose was some kind of ant hatch. There were thousands of ants all over the raised bed that until recently had been growing lettuce. Some were normal ants, others were winged ants, and still others were giant winged ants. Check out this video to get a sense of just how creepy-crawly my garden was yesterday.
I’m no entomologist, and can only speculate what was going on. Was it a hatch? Were they moving their colony? Was it related to the loud thunder we had all afternoon? I have no idea. Anyone want to venture a guess.
Windows. I love looking out of windows.
I could spend all day looking out of a window. Which is why it’s good that there are no windows in this office at work. I’m not distracted by the world going by and can actually get some work done. At my core, I am a windowsill dreamer.
The windows at home are another story. Most of our windows face south and overlook a long valley of farm fields, the closest of which is planted in alfalfa and corn. Nearly as much as the weather and the changing of the seasons, I love to watch the wildlife. Mostly deer, sometimes foxes. If I get caught in the lateral drift of a daydream, I can see giraffes and elephants grazing slowly in the savannas of my imagination; sometimes even the figments of those ancient and extinct North American mega fauna—wooly mammoths and saber tooth tigers—wander from the woods into the daylight of the field, just out of reach of some Pleistocene spear.
But yesterday I saw turkeys. Four of them. Four wild turkeys.
The turkey is a symbol of sacrifice, renewal, rebirth. The wild turkey giveaway. Take it, it’s all yours. The turkey spirit reminds us that nothing lasts forever and everything is in a constant state of change. And so it goes….
At the crux is the flux.
Yes, I love to look out of windows, the double-paned dream machines that they are.
For me, windows are some kind of tangible yet messy metaphor for existing in this world—for being human. Something about perspective, or changing your perspective. Or: while the window—the fixed frame on the world—stays the same, the viewer is changing, the view is changing, the view is always being changed by being viewed by the viewer. (Whoa—that’s some deep quantum stuff there).
A window offers a way to measure yourself against the world. It’s like reading the same book at different periods in your life. Catcher in the Rye comes to mind. You read it at age 15 and it means one thing. Read it again at 25 and it means another. At 35, it’s a different book altogether. But, whatever.
When I was kid growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I never saw turkeys. Not a single one. Lots of pheasants and geese, but never any turkeys. In recent years however, they have started to come back. I see their return as a good sign for the world—a good omen for a world in desperate need of good omens.
Windows are also great for making cold frames to extend your gardening season.