Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ode to the Roadkill Wheelbarrow

Peter pulled into the driveway, ambled out of the rusty Chevy and propped open the trunk, all without uttering a word.  From the kitchen window I could not see what he had in store for me.  I stepped outside expecting to be giddy as a school girl, but was startled by the sight of a tar-covered, gritty wheelbarrow.  Remnants of caked concrete also covered the battered forest-green wheelbarrow, but everything was intact and the tire was full of air.  My brother, Peter, spied the overturned wheelbarrow along the interstate en route home one evening.  He corralled the wheelbarrow with reckless abandon, and tossed it into his trunk. (He swore that a wheelbarrow was on his sister's wish list.)  Peter fondly introduced the wheelbarrow to me as "your Roadkill Wheelbarrow"; roadkill, in this tale, had no association with the dead, but referred to its past life. 

Roadkill Wheelbarrow has endured three, possibly four, lives. Its second life emerged with its initiation into landscaping: its first duty was to haul hefty weights of Jamestown city bricks for a brick walkway.  With the city bricks averaging 10 pounds each, the wheelbarrow plied through the mud and rain, carrying 200 pounds of brick for numerous trips, surviving its new role.  It also hauled lots of flagstone for patios and acquired more dings from being used for rock-picking fields.  As the years passed, we relegated it to lighter duty such as hauling straw, soil, and mulch.   

In its current life, the wheelbarrow resides on the farm and faithfully plods along, carting cinder blocks to the farm stand, weeds to the compost, or flowers from the greenhouse.  Scars from its blacktopping days remain; we never did paint it or hammer out the nicks and dents.  The wheelbarrow graces its stall in the Squash House, along with two others.  It guards numerous other garden tools and remains ready for duty.  The Roadkill Wheelbarrow also serves as a constant reminder of my late brother's generosity and spirit. 

Marcy the cat and the Roadkill Wheelbarrow

I'll save writing the traditional ode, perhaps for a future post.  Right now I am reminded of how often people take life (and each other) for granted.  Each day is a blessing.  We welcome our customers like family.  Visit us and see the passion in Hickory Hurst Farm that has been growing for four generations. 


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Oh, My! It's May!

Spinach from the high tunnel greenhouse has bolted, the weeds have been ousted, and the drip lines have reappeared.  The transplants are moving in while bullfrogs croak their song.  Oh my, it's May.

Other hints of May surround us.  Garlic pokes through the straw, asparagus spears through the sawdust, and the gooseberries reveal their flowers.  Radish and lettuce seedlings peer atop the raised beds.  Honey bees dash in and out of the shad bush flowers while barn swallows dive bomb cats basking in the morning sun.  We mulch the Squash House cutting garden and herb beds with shredded bark to gain a foothold on the weeds.  Weed barrier fabric drapes the drip lines of the greenhouse and awaits its new occupants: flower, vegetable, and herb seedlings.  It's planting time. 

Radish seedlings in the hoophouse
The springtime planting frenzy begins.  We plant the black, red, and yellow raspberry canes behind the tool barn.  We sow the Elegance mix of greens, sprinkle kohlrabi seeds into the tiny furrows, cast dill seed onto the raised bed, and litter Rainbow chard seed in the back garden.  Other greens such as Mizuna, arugula, turnips, and Russian kale begin their march into the planting parade.  Snap peas and lettuce get tossed into the mix.  The cut flower and herb seedlings sit in the little greenhouse while sweet corn seed drop into the fields.  Squash, heirloom tomatoes, and beans wait for warmer soil to soak their roots.  Ah, it's May.

Amish Cockscomb seedlings in the little greenhouse

Visit our farm stand as we bring spring to you.  Gather some daffodils and Viburnum branches, pick up some asparagus, or take home some honey fresh from the farm.  Happy Planting!