Friday, November 11, 2011

Post Haste

Six a.m., morning after my opening, I headed upstate for the planting of the final rows of cloves that missed their planting date due to a freak October snow storm. Traveling up the Taconic, most leaves fallen, except the russet and burgundy of oaks, there were road crews, and piles of woodchips, and snowy hummocks.

On site, I made my way around the house. The first thing to catch my eye was a deer hoof print next to a small hole.

Walking the rows I spotted more holes, although no more hoof prints. I found the garlic cloves sitting beside the holes, unscathed. I wondered whether the animal responsible for digging with uncanny accuracy knew that this was garlic but thought it worth trying for anyway. I wondered how the animals could even know that something was there to be inspected. And if they can know that much, can't they know that it is stinky garlic -something they don't like and shouldn't waste the effort digging up just to toss aside?

Yet, there was a part of me pleased that they had done so because it satisfied an urge I always have to dig up what I have already planted to see what's happening. Maybe other animals have the same urge? Check out the root growth on that clove -a purple stripe variety, cultivar "Chesnok Red." The leaf sprout is about one half inch long, but the roots have grown down more than double the length of the clove in three weeks. It has been replanted.

Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, and Congress, I hadn't adjusted to the new darkness at 5:30 pm. I went in for dinner, only to come out again around 9 pm to plant the remaining four rows by moonlight, cloves' dim glow against the black soil.

Before heading out the next morning I laid some straw down trench-side. Upstate garlic planting is now complete, although planning for next October is not. I've decided not to lay down the straw mulch over the rows, although I may go up around solstice time to lay some down if there's no snow already doing the job for me. Here's to hoping the animals do not remain curious and to dreams of future implements.

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