Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm getting ready to take the truck in. Lord help me. I'm not sure all the household charms and well-wishing are going to do any good, seeing as we used up our luck last weekend with the unexpectedly good weather we had for the party. I need to get the brakes serviced. Should be about a couple hundred, right? I'll bring some extra checks and credit cards.

[Hold on-- in an attempt to get my attention, the resident two-year-old just pushed my wife's office chair down the stairs...]

IT'S THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING! Or maybe it's tomorrow. Must make all necessary corrections to blog and garden. My Ronald Reagan calendar is not specific on this, but it does inform me that Grover Cleveland's birthday was the day before yesterday. (And you all clicked here looking for the Grover Cleveland Essay, didn't you? Here's the only interesting fact I have on Grover Cleveland: We had a president named "Grover". Isn't that enough?)

So it's Spring, more or less. I knew I shouldn't have just put the seeds in the garden beds like I did. The local birds and bugs just pick the helpless little things off before they even have a chance. So I'm going to have to do it again, this time in protected trays. Then there will be more waiting, while the baby plants get strong enough to go out on their own. I don't know how real farmers do it, to be honest.

I come from a long line of farmers, but I'm not one of these people who claims to have a green thumb. I don't believe in "green thumbs", or any wonder-digits for that matter. My garden is fraught with successive failures. Any success I may have growing things outside is some odd construct of hapless diligence. One thing I do have in my blood is a love of the earth. There's an Anoine de Saint-Exupery (The Little Prince) quote that goes "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." That's about right.

On my father's side are merchant marines and sailors from the United Kingdom. On my mother's side is FARMERS. Farms as far as the ancestral eye can see, to pre-revolutionary days. Not sure how my family survived, truth be told. My dad once boasted that his grandfather was on three sinking ships, and with my inability to grow a few simple seeds in the backyard, well, the New World might be better off without the Ditchmans.

There is life around here, however. I might save typing about it for another day. Gotta take the truck in. Horrors await. Best not to delay the pain, and confront it head-on.

(That's my grandfather on the Iowa farm. Third kid back in the middle, crouched down, adjusting his hat. Two mighty good crops of what, exactly? Can anyone guess what they're growing there? Click pic to embiggen.)