Big Grove in 2020

Overnight snowfall, Dec. 12, 2020

More than other recent years, 2020 contained significant events. The Iowa precinct caucuses, the coronavirus pandemic, the Aug. 10 derecho, the Nov. 3 general election. Take your pick. They all were important and framed much of what we did.

Yesterday I took the 1997 Subaru to the tire shop to investigate a leaking passenger side rear tire. The technician found a roofing nail in it. Apparently the derecho pulled nails from roofs across the region and redistributed them everywhere. That brings the total I spent of derecho recovery to $1,240.45, a lot less than what others spent.

Gardening came to a halt with the derecho. The tall locust tree had been struggling for a couple of years, since the extreme cold weather a couple of years ago. I watched as the wind of the derecho pushed it over onto the pepper and tomato plants. It needed to come out, so the wind did the work with some unwanted consequences.

One of three Bur Oak trees planted together after our daughter’s high school graduation almost blew over. On the agenda is to cut two of three down and let the third grow as it will. The oak trees were to symbolize the three in our family. I never expected them to get so big although taking two of them down was an eventuality I recognized when planting the acorns.

I raised vegetables in seven plots this year. Three were dedicated to one kind of plant: tomatoes, onions and garlic. The rest were a mix. Among the success stories were tomatoes, garlic, onions, shallots, peppers, celery, broccoli, kale, collards, chard, mustard, potatoes, zucchini, peas, green beans, tomatillos, cucumbers and basil. There were some unexpected volunteer butternut squash, and a forgotten patch of celery that produced a late crop. Less successful were eggplant, carrots, rutabaga, okra and herbs.

It was a dormant year for fruit trees. I harvested some pears which were juicy and delicious. I planted two new apple trees and a big branch blew down from the Red Delicious apple tree during the derecho. The grove of fruit trees is getting old and likely should be replaced in the next few years. We’ll see if there is a crop in 2021.

Above everything else, the coronavirus pandemic looms. It had me give up my retail jobs and endeavor to stay at home more. I went six weeks without buying any gasoline for our two cars. I read more books than I have in a long time. I wrote and cooked more.

This year will be memorable for the events. I hope it is a point of new beginnings with more focus on writing, on the kitchen garden, and on health. A lot more happened in 2020. Reducing it to several things is appropriate and more memorable. I feel both lucky and cursed to be alive at the end of 2020.

Here’s hoping 2021 builds on the rubble 2020 became.