The new beds are more susceptible to leaks because of the nature of the system. Years ago, we had a community garden patch which we used for growing potatoes and dried beans. After the first year, we bought sweat hoses for the entire patch, which saved on water and time. When we left the community garden for more beds in the backyard, we brought the sweat hoses with us, but they were too long for the beds. Never ones to waste anything, we cut them in half, wove them through the beds, bridged the gaps with a truly ancient hose, also cut into pieces, and hose repair kits (and hose clamps), and went to work. It’s not a bad system, although the old beds, where each sweat hose branches off of a common tube and can be turned on and off independently, is better. And, every fall, I vow to change the new beds over—and, every spring, I run the old hoses One More Year.
When I had finished the hoses, I turned to the brush pile, planning to side-dress the garlic patch with freshly sifted compost. Mark was working in the back and directed me to the half full barrel. I picked it up and the last little bit of handle fell off. It was a good trash can, twenty years ago, but after ten years of being battered by automatic garbage trucks, we moved it out back to haul leaves and brush—and compost. I wiggled it across the grass, through the garden gate, and over to the garlic bed, dumped the contents, and brought it back to the brush pile. It’s got at least One More Year, I thought.
I walked by one of the “new” garden beds and saw that the bottom board was rotting through, but I propped it up with an old piece of garden bed fencing and it was good for One More Year. After all, the beds will all need replacing soon. When it was dinner time, Mark carefully took down the picnic benches, which we had fixed last summer with a couple of solid planks across the top, for, of course, One More Year.
There’s a pattern here, one, which separates farmers, even small scale ones, and gardeners. My friend Maureen has a beautiful garden, just lovely. She works on it steadily, striking just the right balance between casual floppiness and tidiness. Something is always blooming. Trees are always pruned. She has pathways of different materials. She is a Gardener. There is no fraying binder twine gathered in a bucket, mixed in with the tail end of a ball of yarn. There is no HUGE pile of bio-mass in the back yard; they send dead hedge pruning off to the city composting system. She waters by hand, deeply, once a week and weeds while she works. When I go out to Sunbow Farm, with its amazing soil and huge plants, it looks more like home. Hoses everywhere, tilting garden benches, trellises held up with binder twine, old tarps, piles of leaves composting down…. everything used to the max and beyond.
One More Year.
Cardamon Cake—from the 1977Moosewood Cookbook
This is best the same day or the next morning for breakfast. I’ve made it with margarine and non-fat yogurt, and it is still yummy, but…
2 cups of butter
2 cups of brown sugar
Cream together until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl a few times, just to be sure.
Add: 4 eggs and 2 t vanilla. Beat in well.
4 cups of flour
2.5 t BS
1.5 t cardamom
.5 t salt
Add and mix. Put half of the mixture in a tube pan and even out. Then sprinkle .25 c of brown sugar, 1T cinnamon, and .5 cups of chopped walnuts in. Add the rest of the cake. Spread out evenly.
Bake until done in 350 oven, a little over an hour,