The weather app on my phone tells me there is cloud cover outside with a 30% chance of rain around 11am, but not until then. It is now 8:30 and has been 100% raining for the past two hours. I guess I should have just looked outside instead of at my phone. The gardens are thirsty, desperate really, and will be glad for every drop the sky is willing to give. We’ve reached the point where it’s hard to recall the last time it's rained with any substance, and with water for bathing and dish washing dependent on collected rain, one pays attention and tightens rationing when reserves dip below 30%. Although, I am not in Vermont at the moment so I have no idea if the barrels are filling under this same rainfall; my weather app tells me they are not, but we already know it cannot be trusted.
It's good to be home for a few days to take care of the garden, some work-related wifi tasks (have yet to find dependable/speedy wifi up north), and to be with my family. As they drove down the driveway Sunday night and I was left standing there alone with Ozzy, I was overcome with the need to pack up and follow their tracks all the way back to Connecticut. So that is exactly what I did. It’s good to know I can close camp and be on the road in well under an hour. Plus, the drive gave me a chance to listen to the new Avett Brothers album in its entirety, which I did not mind. (Favorites: Ain’t No Man for its boot stompin’ summertime vibes, Divorce Separation Blues because for some reason I picked up on hopefulness which was unexpected, and I Wish I Was because it’s a sweet tune with even sweeter lyrics. One of their best. I’ll never look at a sweater the same way again. Actually, the lyrics on all three of these songs are so well-crafted. Enviable.)
I dove into the garden yesterday morning to find the first round of peas ready for picking and the potatoes flowering. Going to start stealing some newbies any minute now. I’ve been shelling peas, getting them into the freezer, and wondering if they will be done by the time I leave again so I can get the carrots and beets in the ground once the peas are pulled. The timing will be tight, but we'll see. The garden this year feels more utilitarian than usual, no experiments, no new varieties, only a small assortment of tried and true vegetables in large quantities. That's been the plan and so far I'm sticking to it. We'll have plenty of tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, greens, basil for pesto, and of course berries. Peas we'll have a good amount of, but it seems we never have "plenty" of peas. We would have had plenty of peppers but there's nothing like going out to the garden one morning and discovering the deer had a midnight snack that involved your twenty four pepper plants... the very ones that already had fruit set on them. No recovery. Man, that's the kind of discovery that prompts an immediate display of every explicit word you know. Even a few made up ones, too. But then you carry on because that's just the way it goes sometimes.
Over the weekend Emily and I spent a lot of time at the lake and as always when visiting a lake in Vermont, I was struck by the accessibility. Here’s how it works: you park in the free parking lot, gather your towel and even your cooler of beer if you’d like, walk onto the free sandy beach, drop your gear, then run into the cleanest water you could ever hope to swim in, which is also free. It's a miracle. Those of you reading from Connecticut, don’t worry, I’ll be over in just a sec to help pick your jaw up off the floor. I'm sure there are lakes in Vermont that require a special membership to use, but there are plenty - more so than not is my guess - of lakes that are open and available for the public to enjoy. Anyway, it was a great time. Upon returning to our place on both days, the whereabouts of Adam and Scout were not known. Eventually they emerged from the woods, sweaty and covered in black mud, Adam with a saw in one hand and hatchet in the other, Scout looking pleased yet sort of crazed by whatever adventure took place beyond the thick treeline. I inquired about the tools, the mud, even the crazed look, and was given a cryptic reply which only made me wonder more. As intended, I’m sure. I have no idea what takes place in the woods when these two are on their own, and I imagine it’s better that way.
The sky continues to open as we clear and ready the earth for planting next year (at least that’s the plan). It’s not going to be easy, unless easy involves growing food on land that includes more rock and ledge than soil, but in some creative way, we’ll make it happen. At least that’s what Adam keeps reminding me, because apparently that is what I told him and he believes me. What a guy. But he might want to rethink his faith in me because each time I walk the intended area, it seems the rock and ledge have multiplied, and I question every idea I have. To try and feel better, I remind myself of the time I grew tomatoes and cucumbers in an area that received only two hours of direct sunlight per day, so maybe anything is possible. I'm curious to see how this will work out, and am trying to exercise patience along the way. And hey, in the meantime, at least we have plenty of firewood... and rocks. Maybe we'll build a stonewall. Hope springs eternal.