Categories
Kitchen Garden

First Day in the Garage and Garden

Garage Resources
Garage Resources

LAKE MACBRIDE— With temperatures in the mid-50s, and a day off work, how could I not spend the day in the garage and garden under azure skies? I cleared the first plot for the spinach, lettuce and herbs and turned the first spadeful of soil. Ice persisted two inches below the surface, but it won’t be long before the ground is warm enough to plant. I brought the trays of seedlings outside to take in the full sunlight of spring.

The front yard needs some work. Last year, a backhoe service dug down to the waterline, repaired a leak, and left a sinking spot near the house. We also had the septic service pump our tank last year: the ground covering the lids needed something. The soil was warm enough above the septic tanks to sow grass seed. As I did, I noticed the view of the lake now that our neighbors removed their diseased pine trees. The sense of isolation created by the treeline is gone. I am thankful for the view of the lake, glad to surrender a bit of privacy to see open water from our front steps again.

Screwdrivers
Screwdrivers

Last fall a contractor sowed grass seed mixed with soil in the community-owned ditch. The late winter runoff furrowed the ditch, requiring attention. The plan is to rake up the leaves and cover the trench this weekend, instead of waiting for the contractor’s return.

This year is the big sort. A process of downsizing— casting aside items no longer needed to sustain a life on the Iowa prairie. There are challenges for the sort in the garage, as a person can always predict a use for many things found there. Nonetheless, either they will be used, or they won’t. Decisions will be made. The big sort will reduce the detritus accumulated after auctions and trips to the home store, down to a more meaningful level. It didn’t go well yesterday.

It started with sorting the woodpile kept under my workbench. The first woodworking project will be making a box to carry my gardener’s boots— calf-high, rubberized for protection from dirt in the garden and manure on the farm. Now that I work on a farm, I’ll need the boots with me, and the box of boots will ride along in my car.

I sat on a five-gallon white plastic bucket and handled the wood scraps one-by-one, looking for the right sized pieces. A piece of hardwood leftover from my father-in-law’s project to make a weather station; another removed from decrepit drawers acquired at auction; some with hand-cut dovetails from another era. I got halfway down the pile and stopped. Partly because I found the scraps needed to make the box. Partly because the flow of memories was too much to take in all at once. It seemed impossible to get rid of any of them.

Bulletin Boards
Bulletin Boards

The day proceeded with similar storm and stress. In a society that seeks a reason for everything, with that certain Iowa intrusion into private lives, my garage and yard time is to unravel the genome of a life proscribed by others. A place and time of freedom in a post-Enlightenment Iowa life.

I brought the seedlings inside at the end of the day, and placed the ones planted yesterday on the heating pad— hoping to encourage germination and a bountiful harvest.