Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sacred And Profane

Jesus Christ, I didn't even realize that today was the solstice but I guess it is.
I just went out and worked in the garden for about an hour and I've about soaked my hair through again with sweat. And it's six o'clock in the evening.

My garden is so out of hand right now that I want to torch it. Burn the fucker to the ground. Instead, I dig the shovel into weeds that go down about a foot in root and up about two feet in stem. Then I pull. Then I knock the dirt off and throw the weed in the wheelbarrow. After an hour of this, the wheelbarrow is full and I've cleared approximately three square feet.
Only about a hundred square feet left to go.
This is a damn fool's errand and all I have to figure out is how big a fool I am.

The tomatoes aren't doing squat. I don't know if we planted the wrong kind this year or what. The only ones that are really coming in good are tiny pear-shaped yellow ones that aren't sweet enough to bother picking. I am completely over-run with the yard long beans. I have one eggplant about ready to pick and a whole lot of banana peppers. One jalapeno. One.
The okra may come on, I can't tell.

Is this worth it?

I don't even know but I sincerely doubt it.

I spent a good while on my walk yesterday picking blackberries so of course I didn't have on my gloves or long pants and so now I have scratched up arms, hands, and legs. All for about another cup of berries.

It's like I have the genes of a gatherer woman but I don't have the will or skill. And once again, I have to say that the people who lived in Florida back in olden times, whether those people were the original inhabitants back in the thousands-ago days or whether they were the early pioneers here of European and African ancestry- those were the hardiest, stubbornest, cocksuckery meanest motherfuckers ever to walk the planet. The ones that survived, anyway.

And I ain't one of those.

All right. That's my Summer Solstice in North Florida post.
What did you expect from me? Some new-age bullshit about the alignment of the planets and stars? Well, forget it.

Sure is pretty though, the way the sun's slanting rays are lighting up the phlox. The way the zinnias are shining like fireworks, caught by stems and held fast. Sure is nice to see the chickens strutting along the fence, finishing up their day's scratch-dancing in search of food, making their way to the waterer for one last sip before bed.

I'm not complaining. I AM a fool and I know it and even if I don't get the garden under any sort of control, we still eat some out of it. Tonight there will be green beans and potatoes. Last night there were roasted tomatoes and peppers made into a sort of pizza on a whole grain crust. With a lot of basil and I need to remember to make some pesto.

So happy Solstice. Here's to all the people who lived through the Florida sumer heat and snakes and bugs and disease and panther and bear all those years ago and here's to the ones who still try and here's to John Gorrie who invented the ice machine and the air conditioner and here's to the berries, the cold springs and sink holes, the swift-running rivers the color of iced tea, the deep shade of the live oaks, the sweet brim, the magnificent oily mullet who jumps and no one knows why even now. Here's to the white-tailed deer and the whistling hawks and the hooting owls and the Mississippi Kites that soar almost to heaven, so high the eye loses them. Here's to the redbird perched on the pecan limb and the blue-tailed skinks who live under my back steps and here's to the magnolia grandaflora and here's to all the crazy motherfuckers who love all of it as much as I do.

It's summer.

Hell yeah, it's hot.


  1. Amen.

    And these words pulled my heart out of my chest and held it in front of my face:

    This is a damn fool's errand and all I have to figure out is how big a fool I am.

  2. Weeds. Dang. Have you heard of a "hula hoe"? I saw something in the Democrat in the spring about a wiggle hoe, and googled it and came across the "hula hoe" - and ordered it through Amazon. It arrived and - I swanee - it does a mighty fine job of getting weeds. It's not so good in beds that have been mulched with pinestraw (as if that ever stopped a weed), but for leaf mold- or compost- or pine bark-mulched areas (or areas that haven't been mulched at all) it's pretty easy. I haven't been as good about regular hulahoeing, but it has definitely been a time saver. Jus' sayin'. And I HATE to weed.

  3. My garden is an embarrassment this year. And how did I miss the permanent changing of the solstice from the 21st to the 20th? I'm so off kilter this year, and forever more it seems.

    It's been hotter than hell here too. The grass is late August burnt up, and it's only mid June. Rain is elusive for us this summer.

    We're all a bunch of fools, watching it unfold.


  4. I don't know why but that made me snort an unexpected laugh when you said you wanted to burn your garden down.
    Or you could find a pig and open the gate?

    Anyway it sounds pretty damn fine to me, we've only just had one feed of radishes and some very scant lettuce thinnings.

    Eggplants? Wow.

    Summer solstice. Hmmm... I have to either put a sweater on or light a fire.
    O Canada.

  5. I love you, you crazy motherfucker ;) I'm a good southern woman but I have to confess to not really knowing what yard long beans are. Then again, my mother carried on our family tradition of opening a can to meet our bean needs.

  6. I love the description of early Floridians, "those were the hardiest, stubbornest, cocksuckery meanest motherfuckers ever to walk the planet." Early homesteaders in the everglades tried raising cattle until the cows died from mosquito blood-letting.

    And I LOVED your poetry to Florida. Beautiful and true.

    Thanks for the reminder of Solstice, my kind of religious holiday, when we celebrate the turning of the earth. I think I'll drink some champagne as a religious sacrament.

  7. Keep gardening please. It's the closest thing I will ever get to having one. And since your garden is my garden, I feel all earthy just from reading about your experiences with yard-long beans and such.

    And an eggplant? Daaaaaamn. I never heard of nobody planting an eggplant in their backyard.

    You. Kick. Arse.

  8. I'm sorry you're having garden issues, but hopefully it makes you feel better to know that I have garden envy! I couldn't even get a damn wild flower to bloom this year.

  9. Stephanie- That line came so quick I think maybe I stole it. If so, I don't know who from.

    Jucie- I'll have to check that out.

    Mel- We're always so optimistic in March, aren't we?

    Deirdre- Oh yeah. I could definitely burn it. I should just let the chickens have it. You Canadians are another sort of tough motherfuckers. Bless you. I don't know how you do it.

    SJ- They're oriental beans. They truly are a yard (or more) long.

    Kathleen- I knew that! How crazy is that? About the cows, I mean. Enjoy your champagne.

    gradydoctor- Eggplant are pretty easy to grow, actually. Hardy little purple beauties.

    Kathleen- Hello and welcome! So sorry about your garden! That IS sad.

    Rubye Jack- And to you, my dear. And to you.

  10. You are a gardener, a cook, and a poet and pretty hardy and stubborn yourself and I'm glad those pioneers scratched out a patch for you to live and love and grow things on and feed yourself and your loved ones from. You're a jewel, Ms. Moon. Surely you know it, but I just wanna say...thanks (esp. for that description of zinnias, well really for all of it).

  11. I don't know, I'm not sure you give yourself enough credit. I don't even *have* a garden, and if I did I would probably weed it halfheartedly once a month. My husband was out last night ripping off the gutters and stuff like that, and I was inside in the air conditioning reading my book. I'm spoiled! I have to buy my veggies at the farmer's market, and wash them of other people's sweat. So yeah, I think you're pretty awesome. Even if you only get one eggplant, that's really cool.

  12. We have hot here too but I don't it is as intense or of the same quality as there. I enjoy it. I do not grow vegetables as I have never had much luck. That's why God made grocery stores. Weeds are over running my flower beds though. I did one half last night as dusk came on and will do the other half tonight. Next week it will have to be done again.

  13. Damn, summer is here in the South. Hotter than Hell.
    I'm ready for October now.


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