Here in my spot of Maine a switch has been pulled. Summer tomato salads have given way to a pot of simmering lamb stew(with tomatoes). Morning strolls to the garden are no longer barefeet and tank tops, but oversized sweaters and thick slippers. Rest assured, no matter the season, there is always a steaming cup of coffee involved. Almost to my horror at this point–not really, but really—the tomatoes keep coming, despite the blighted state of their affairs. I’ve frozen, canned, jammed, and sauced them in every way I can think of. The summer squashes are rife with powdery mildew even though we’ve had only scant rain and the garden well has run dry. Even still, they keep fruiting. There’s a basket of garlic in my studio that rivals my baskets of wools. There’s a tsunami of hot peppers coming in that my husband dutifully strings to dry, even though he is a little scared of them. But my studio feels festive and decorated for celebration with vegetal garlands hanging from my display rails along with drying herbs, my finished rugs and freshly dyed skeins of wool.
My garden always gives me solace. Maybe more so this year than usual, but in equal measure to my work—which has taken wild turns into unexpected territories. There is more to muse over on that topic, but for the moment I’m going to enjoy my hooking and the burbling of stew on the stove.
I hope you are all well in these tumultuous times. Not only are my thoughts with you, so are my actions.
The year is 2020. I spend an inordinate amount of time making cloth masks on my 1930s Singer. I’m hooking a Pandemic rug. It’s snowing in May. My hair is purple. Life is different. Worse. Better. Changed. Evolving. To be determined.
I feel like we are living in a Snow Globe. Shake it to enhance the innocence, naïveté, denial. Hide behind glittery objects. Oh, so sparkly. I can’t explain what’s going on. Why is data (science) a four letter word?
Still, I find joy in the garlic–planted last fall during more hopeful times–persisting in pushing through its straw mulch. The seedlings that lay in wait to put down roots in the garden until this snow and minor league temperatures pass. The patio slowly taking shape as I lay it down stone by stone. We have a home, a garden, a patio. All of them riches, by any measure. We are still trying to decipher the world and determine how to help make it a better place for everyone. And, yes, I entirely acknowledge there’s not much in the way of grammar going on.
The news is overwhelming. I am not surprising any of you with that statement. Of course, I take solace in my hooking, my fabrics, my knitting. But I also find hope and inspiration in the newly popping seedlings lined by my windows preparing for garden season. I don’t usually attempt seedlings, preferring to defer that task to my wonderful neighbors at Morning Dew Farm. But there were a couple things I wanted for my garden this year that weren’t available, so I took the small task of starting a few thing on for myself. And immediately ran into problems. I’ve cataloged for you here a few of my little low to no budget garden tricks to keep this train on the rails.