Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
Remember this character?
That's how I felt recently when I began getting my vast garden prepared for this year's growing season.
It has been as dry as a bone on the farm this spring. There's even a ban on burning for the time being. The good news is that as dry as it's been I have been able to do a great deal of garden prep. The bad news is that I end my day covered in dirt.
And the insidious dust.
Dirt is fine. I wear gloves so I don't get too much dirt on my hands. I can knock the dirt from my work boots. But it is mostly the dust that is so maddening.
Dust everywhere. Dust on the glasses, dust in the Blackberry, dust in the ears. Blow your nose, and - well you get the picture.
So like that Pigpen fella you see above if someone were to come along and give me a hearty slap on the shoulder they would likely be enveloped in a shroud of dust.
Geeze, Tom (cough cough cough) where're you been that you got so dusty?
First step is to remove all of the debris.
I tipped the loader on the tractor just right and dragged it over the surface of the garden piling all of the corn stalks, pumpkin vines, flattened and dessicated pumpkins and giant sunflowers into a pile. Sift through the mess with a pitchfork and toss it all into the loader. Dump it along the line fence and step one is complete.
Step two is the mount the disc/harrow on the machine and work-up the soil.
Add four bales of peat moss and 600 pounds of compost and sheep manure mix from Northwoods Organics.
Soils around here are generally poor. Either sandy, clayey or shallow to non-existent.
Ours is heavy clay and every year I continue to augment it to improve its growing capacity.
Step three is to work the soil repeatedly with the disc. (This is where things get really dusty).
This is the absolute earliest I have had my garden prep to this stage.
I sure hope this isn't a sign of a longer-term dry spell.
Just in-case I have one rain barrel in the machine shed and know where I can get my hands on another fairly quickly.
There is also the notion of a drip irrigation system.
So many options. So many ideas. So little time.
Radishes, lettuce, peas and spinach are planted.