Months before: Contemplate the need for the bed. Study the light patterns in the back yard. Is there enough sun? Is it right in the bike path? Does it balance out the space? Will the blueberries be happy here? It will be their fourth home, but they were quite happy here in pots last summer.
Weeks before: Evaluate supplies. Study the wood stored in the shed. Examine the hoses in the basement. Hunt down the three foot section of garden hose to tie the soaker to the last bed.
Three or four days before: Arrange to borrow the old pick-up truck to haul soil. Check and make sure the Bark Place is open on Saturday.
The night before: Discuss the plan of attack for the next day. Who is going to haul the tools out of the basement and screw the boards together; who is going to borrow the truck and pick up the Fertile Mix? Decide on the amount of dirt actually needed for the project. Do not over estimate. Storage is limited. Fall asleep dreaming of the new bed.
Morning: Bribe Sweetie with oatmeal waffles for breakfast. Make a large pot of tea. Project Creep is about to begin…
· Haul the needed wood down from the shed.
· Realize that, yes, the rats did have a play space up there.
· Take the rest of the wood out.
· Sweep off wood.
· Rake out shed.
· Put all of the wood not needed for today back in the shed, cleaned off.
· Chase the cat out of the space.
· Climb in yourself to place a few pieces of wood far in.
· Remove screws from the post. Realize that the removed screws are just the right size for today’s project.
· Chase Bunzilla out of the shed.
· Get binoculars; the wild hive is back in the willow tree!
· Cut wood to size.
· Pre-drill holes for screws.
· Assemble bed.
· Mattock up the ground under the new bed.
· Place the new bed and true up using the “my foot” measure.
· Half fill the bed and arrange the blueberries.
· Fill in the rest of the bed.
· Stop for a snack.
· Fill every possible container with extra soil.
· Move some plants around to make room for soil.
· Shovel what is left into the yard waste bin you nabbed from the abandoned lot just for this purpose a few years ago.
· Clean up. Put away all of the tools. Return the truck.
· Admire the new bed.
Polenta and Greens
We are coming into the time of year when greens-- all sorts of greens-- dominate our dinners. We have eaten all of the root crops and most of the squash, so we fall back on mustards, kale, collards, arugula....whatever is huge at Sunbow that week.
Polenta: 1 to 3 ratio of cornmeal to milk. I use half a sup of cornmeal to one and a half cups of liquid-- some milk, some water. Heat the liquid and pour the meal in slowly, whisking steadily. Add salt, pepper, and a half teaspoon of sugar. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until thick. You can add cheese if you like. I like to toss in a small handful of dried tomatoes and some basil.
Greens: Start with a leek and garlic. Chop and saute in a bit of olive oil. Chop a large bunch of a bitter green, or maybe smaller bunches of two types. Toss in the frying pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, while watching the polenta.