Thursday, June 14, 2012

Planting Day!

In the last post, I talked about the physical exertion and quantum effort it took to get my ass packed up and moved to NoDak. This post will offer more tales of exhaustion. Though I'd finally arrived, there would be no relaxation - we had to hit the ground running.

In fact, because I had not started any seedlings indoors back in early spring like a good farmer, I was hyper aware of how behind I was in getting stuff in the ground. This year, there was just too much infrastructure that needed attention to worry about seedlings. But against all local bets, Kirk and I planted the entire SCRANCH farm in a single day - just one week ago, on June 6.

It was GRUELING. The heat and all the bending, hoeing and digging - this blogger body is not used to such extreme utilization. But we were on a time crunch, not just with Mother Nature, but Kirk's flight back to Denver (boo!) was the next day, which meant I would be losing exactly half of my labor force. The Big Task had to get done that day.

Kissing the first seeds.
Kirk, who is super smart and quite handy, wisely invested in some wooden stakes and bright string so we could recreate the chalkboard 8-quadrant plan. The plot ended up measuring 72-feet long and 36-feet wide, with two big casual buffer sections - what I call, the "What the hell!" sections, growing plants with low odds of success, like watermelon. (You're supposed to start these seeds indoors for any zone colder than an 8 and again, we are at 3 but hey, what the hell?)

We began at 11:00 a.m. and worked straight through, taking only small breaks for water and trail mix, and didn't put down our tools until 6:30 p.m. By then, we were aching, moaning and punch drunk with the giggles. But it was done! We had planted 44 varieties of 26 different herbs, grains and vegetables:

The (X) symbols denote the number of rows.
Oh, sure, this looks pretty organized now and it certainly was when we first started but by the end of it, we were running out of steam and I still had a ton more seeds. The right hand portion of the garden is pretty well thought out but having never dealt with this large of a growing area before, I had no real concept of endless space. Garden-wise, I'd always been somewhat confined and those days were now over.

Note all the hasty scribbles made mid-planting. 
So, by the time we got to left hand side, we were ripping open seed packets meant for other regions, shaking out those tiny miracles into hastily cultivated rows, kicking dirt over the seeds and yelling, "Good luck!" down at the mounds.

Flags to remind us where we planted so we don't weed them out.
Kirk and I discussed it later and realized we had similar thoughts throughout the day. "Every time I thought about keeling over dead, I'd look up and you'd be working, so I had to keep going," I said. He nodded, "Me too!" It's like he once said, "You can get a lot more done with two people than you can with one" and now that I've begun the weeding, I can confirm that it is most assuredly still true.

Kirk, nearly dead.
Since we planted on a Wednesday, I'll be taking photos of each quadrant every Wednesday to monitor progress. Unless it is super cold or windy (like it was on Monday), I head out to the plot every morning and deliver a rousing speech to my seed babies about finding one's potential: "Dig deep! Pull up your most amazing Self and thrust your blossoms right in the world's face!" Or something to that effect, it changes a little bit every day.

I always end with a family inside joke that comes from Mississippi, "Lif' up, baby!" LIF' UP!!" As a motivational speaker, dead silence can be tough feedback. As a performer, I've bombed before but I've never heard actual crickets chirping until now. It's like performing for super-shy, bug-eyed children that you can't actually see.

The only thing that has popped up since planting are the radishes so now I point to them as an example. Peer pressure may work to my advantage here and I'm really hoping to raise a crop of super competitive vegetables. 

Go Team Radish!
Once all the planting was done, we packed our weary bones into the truck and head to the Western Bar in nearby Neche for some much-needed ice water, cold beer and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. On the way, we visited Brent, who was out in the field, hoeing on a MUCH bigger scale.
We even managed to get out of the vehicle and have an enlightening conversation with Brent about large-scale weeding and how it works. "We" meaning Kirk - since I was too tired to talk,  I just took pictures:

Fancy stuff, no? 

Then, we headed to the aforementioned bar, commandeered the TV remote and ordered up as much beer and fried food as we could stand and watched the New Jersey Devils (temporarily!) hold back the LA Kings. When Kirk discovered that he could smoke IN the bar, he thought he'd died and gone to heaven. "Beer, fried food, hockey AND smoking? All in one spot?!? It's like time travel!"

Then, we headed home with a quick stop at the farm to "oooh" and "aaaah" at the giant full moon and a field sparkling with fireflies. What an incredible, magical scene. "This is just beautiful, Heather," said Kirk. I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be at that moment - a fantastic feeling.

Then, we indulged in a well-earned smokey treat, gloated over the day's accomplishment and talked about how filthy we were, case in point:

After shoe/sock removal: The Dirt Line plus hoe wound. 
Post-shower and there's still dirt!

And last, but not in the leastest bit least....

My very first authentic Farmer's Tan. I'M LEGIT!


fyrchk said...

I literally lol'd picturing you and Kirk yelling, "Good Luck!" at the ground as you kicked dirt over the seeds. I'm excited for you!

quirkychick said...

Impressive! I can only imagine how tired you guys were. I get exhausted planting 18'x 2' strips and a couple 4'x 4' - can't wait to check in and see the Wednesday pictures.

Moonlight and Fireflies - oh my!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I still can feel it. Wish I was still there with you.

Lisa said...

Wish I could go to that bar!