Up close and personal
We received a flowering crab tree from good friends of ours as an anniversary present.
I planted it last Saturday over Memorial Day weekend on a prominent place in our front yard.
It was also the day when soybeans were planted in the field across the road from me as I was planting the tree.
That is quite a contrast between a planter covering 36 rows and myself with hand tools planting one item at a time.
The planter operator spent most of the time in the tractor cab, and I was outside the entire time.
We were both getting what needed to be done, because rain was in the forecast for Sunday and it did rain.
My son is in charge of the production side of farming around here, and I am an observer until he needs something.
Yard work and gardening is what I do that involves growing and running equipment.
On Monday, Memorial Day, my wife said it was time to finish planting the tomatoes, pepper, rosemary, chives and basil.
When the last plants were in the ground Monday afternoon, I had that sense of accomplishment that comes with a completed job.
Over the weekend, planting that began within the last month was completed, and we have crossed the threshold to growing, whether it is a field of a hundred or more acres, a vegetable garden or individual plants sitting in pots.
Planting with hand tools is rewarding because to accomplish this, a person has to be up close and personal starting with the hole itself once the location has been decided.
Planting instructions on the tree said I needed a hole 21 inches across and 12 inches deep.
I used a post hole digger powered by a 12-volt battery to dig four adjoining holes and then a shovel to take away the dirt between them to make the desired size.
My wife and I moved the tree from its pot into the hole and it was covered. Then the tree was protected to keep varmints from attacking it.
The peppers, tomatoes, and herbs were much smaller and did not require as much physical labor unless you are 68 years old and overweight, which I am.
These were all planted close to the front door for convenience as they are needed for this summer’s meals.
A pair of barn swallows has built their mud nest above the front door and they were not happy with our presence. We were trespassers on our own property.
When everything was in place, I sat outside on a chair reflecting on the growing things, both plants and animals (we’re being overrun with gophers), now in the ground all around me for miles in every direction.
It was all very serene, but I knew there was a lot of energy at work as new roots were being established and established roots being enlarged to supply the needs of the growing plants.
Even the weeds were off to a good start.
Throughout the afternoon, my wife suggested a break, but I wanted to keep going as I was sitting on my rear end doing my digging and getting up was too big a job.
Besides, I do some of my best work sitting on my rear end. It was a good weekend for my weak end.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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