May 27, 2009
The Farm Update
release of Primitive Gathering
upcoming release of Simply
and Lemon Poppy Seeds 6/1/09
....greetings from a very
soggy wet day in northern Michigan. Dreary at best, but somehow it suits
my temperament of the day.
I am grateful for the rain, as
we have new grass seeding planted and I am working in the large flower
garden and am grateful for the moisture, so I need not water. The
perennials are all nicely out and growing, but I have yet to plant the new
seeds and only have one of the flats of snapdragons planted. My irrigation
system at the moment is comprised of just long stretches of hoses, running
from the pump house out to the garden. One to water the plants on the west
side of the house is mistakenly a soaker hose, so each time I water, I end
up drenched myself with splurts of water. I will have to rectify that. But
that means a trip to the hay barn, and the hoses are in the lower calf
pen, which is the haunt of Fritz the Anaconda, resident barn yard
snake, so I am delaying the
retrieval of those hoses until
I can get myself properly geared up for the Fritz encounter. Which, given
my fondness NOT, for Fritz, I may simply continue to hose myself off each
time I water rather than the eventual confrontation with Fritz. I prefer
to be up on the big rider mower when we meet. That rarely is the case. But
even then potential diarrhea takes over and I find myself turning the
mower in another direction to
hightail it out of his domain. Ah, summer. Snakes and tent worms.
Speaking of which, the tent
worms are out of control again this season. We have burned many of the
white ghost pale sacks in the trees we could reach. But gale force winds
of many days have curtailed that chore and until the recent rains, we have
had a many county 'no burn' in effect, due to dry conditions. So they are
quickly becoming out of control. That means the nightly trek up and down
this country dirt road, to smush them by the hundreds before they can eat
all the leaves off the trees. Drated things!
I got the cemetery flowers
done Sunday. And filled the big urn here in the front yard with flowers
for Ron's folks. I no longer take the huge arrangement to their grave
site, as the last 4 years I did that, vandals stole the flowers. There is
quite a problem in our small old country cemetery with that. Sometimes,
they rip the flowers right up out of the ground. I think it is pretty bad
when people steal flowers from graves!
Cheryl and me went up to
Wallin Farms for flowers just before Mother's Day. Getting cosmos and
snapdragons was the reason for the jaunt. Difficult to find the taller
ones, Wallins always has them. If you don't buy early, you can't find
them. But early here means that they set on the porches or in garages
covered against the almost weekly frosts we get. Indeed, we had frost a
week ago yesterday and the night before that too. So what I had already
growing was covered. My garden looked like a Halloween graveyard, with
sheets draped over large items to cover those precious plants with.
The 100 white tall tulips I
planted last fall are exquisite. They came early with a few nice days we
had in March. Too early actually. And I feared they would kill off with
the cold weather that followed. But they didn't, and are absolutely breath
Before I forget...I do want to
tell you however, that ALL the plants got planted last year. You will
remember Ron thinks that I should just pitch them out of the truck in the
ditch on my way home from the nursery, as I don't always get them planted
and they become way too big for those little black seed planters and of
course....die. We go thru this discussion every year. And much to my
dismay, he is usually right. BUT not last year. I planted each and every
one. And will again this year! Yes, yes, I will.
Ron (the farmer) got my
Mother's Day 2008 rototiller out for me last night between rain intervals,
with my intention of running it down the middle of the flower bed again to
dig up some mint and silver king which left alone would completely take
over my garden. Knowing full well I could not decipher the instructions on
the handle to start the thing, I couldn't. Instructions and manuals
continue to confound me. Even the farmer had trouble with it. But after
several impatient moments and pulls on the rope, and pushing the bulb in
TEN times per the instructions, a few more pulls, getting the setting
right, getting it choked, it did start. Like I could have done that !!??
Then he left me alone to my own devices and went off to weed whack around
the farm buildings. I roared around behind it, digging out the silver king
and mint, and being careful not to hit plants that I wanted saved. Dirt
flying everywhere. But in my digging, I have roots wrapped around the
blades and did not have the patience or strength last night to pull them
all out. He tells me to use a box cutter knife. Which is about the same as
me contemplating using an axe on Fritz. Me and anything sharp is not
always a good thing. I will wait for a day when I haven't had too many
cups of coffee. But soon, because I want to work more in that flower bed.
It remains beautiful, even in its early summer state, which because of
such cold weather, is really mid spring state. It will be a nice refuge
for me later.
In another letter I must tell
you about my 9PM working in the flower garden WITH the gate open, and the
black bear. Godfrey, I think I will have to start gardening with the .22
strapped to my leather tool belt along with the hoe and axe.
13 days ago, when I should
have been mailing you a newsletter and indeed did intend to, our lives
were changed in an instant and no letter was written. A Friday, the 15th,
I wanted to tell you that I had new things listed on The Primitive
Gathering, but had a lot of errands to run that day. I absolutely HAD to
get groceries (in Cadillac), had a hair appointment in Tustin at 4PM, and
was supposed to meet Ron's sisters (Mary and Ellen), his aunt, and 2
nieces along with Ronnie for lunch at Bevins Crossing in LeRoy at noon.
All in different towns. So I decided against the morning trip for
groceries as I might not get back intime for lunch.
We all met at the restaurant.
We had a lovely lunch, nice talking. Ellen's husband had died of cancer 6
weeks before and these lunches are supposed to get us together and help
her cope with Bob's death and the stress of his 2 year cancer battle. We
all departed shortly after 1PM and went our separate ways home. I got the
call shortly after 4:30. Ellen was killed in a car accident on M-115 about
20 minutes after leaving us. We are stunned, grieving and mad. So last
week, we did visitation, family gatherings, and a funeral. And we are
trying to understand. And then Ronnie and I both got sick with colds.
Thankfully, we got thru the
funeral without being sick, as
it was very trying and weary for us. The accident is senseless. It never
should have happened. We are praying a witness who sent an anonymous
letter to the police about the driver who hit Ellen head on, will have the
courage to come forward with the truth. Yet, we grieve for this vital full
of life woman who is gone, for our niece and nephews who lost both parents
in 6 weeks time, and for us.
It is a stark reminder to me,
that life is fragile and often snuffed out in an instant. We need to live
I would ask that you would
check daughter Beulah/ Robin 's blog posted below with my links. Robie has
a remarkable gift of photography and words and her still frames are deeply
We are showing a hand
formed papier-mâché Patriotic Sam on SP this time. I am weeding out some
of my own collections as this farmhouse simply has not enough room for my
OK, in spite of the rain and
muddy road, I must go to the post office. I need to go to Cadillac too,
but the thoughts of pouring rain roads and parking lots doesn't appeal to
me today, so I will put that off a day, as tomorrow is supposed to be
Anything to avoid going to
Thanks for asking to be a part
of our farm and life.
Should you decide not to,
merely reply with remove.
in fond regard,
rosemary Viberta Pickett still
life gardening with a black
beginning to like my short
hair (most days)
barefoot after a long 6 month