Last night, in a perfect slice of evening, I tended my spit of land. My garden is the front yard, hugged by a driveway on each side and the street out front. I often feel I am on a prow of a very green ship- sticking out into a concrete sea. From this deck I can watch and hear the people who float by on the ocean.
My husband, 3 year old and I were manning the deck — digging up potatoes. He wielded the hefty pitch fork (an extra long handled, super sturdy one he had made for me as a valentine gift), I sat with hands ready to dig and my daughter held the basket. With a foreman’s confidence she’d cry “there’s one” and I’d snatch it out of the earth and plop it in the basket. We dug a full row, leaving 2 more rows in the ground (where they keep better), but freeing up the row for planting kale.
As we worked a neighbor speed past in his vintage white Oldsmobile box. He raced to the stop sign, just four houses from his house, at NASCAR speed. As I have done before I spit an little angry thought “He has kids, how could he be so careless?” but followed with a more compassionate thought “he looks like he is enjoying himself. Alone in his car.” I wondered what he played on his stereo.
In his wake we continued to quietly dig out our golden jewels.
Plop into the bucket.
Voices called our attention back to the street. Two respectable looking grown men careened down the street on skateboards–silly grins plastered to their faces. I suspected they had grabbed their kids boards and gone on the lam. I’m not sure they were going back anytime soon.
A heard a neighbor cough. At over 80 the Purple Heart veteran from the abandoned mining town of Kelly, NM is alive and well but we still watch that his lights go out each night and that the TV is on during the day. And we listen for those coughs- raspy postcards sent to confirm life.
We talked together about an upcoming trip. My husband reminded me to talk to neighbor about dog sitting. “Okay I’ll call her,” I said. “Oh wait there she is,” he said. As if by a garden gnome magic trick she appeared, as bit of florescent orange shirt between the sunflowers. She is heading out on her nightly run. We make the arrangements, and keep digging.
The final plant comes out of the ground. The sun is setting. We gathered our tools and bucket and headed inside.
The prow perches over the gentle flow of neighborhood life.
My most beloved pitchfork was purchased from : www.wwmfg.com
I highly recommend their products.
Potatoes- yellow and purple:
Potatoes stuck in root base of a sunflower: