It was bound to happen. Another unusual winter with little or no snow in January and February was followed by a March that bounced the mercury in the thermometer up and down like on a trampoline. And then April hit us with what some experts said was the coldest April on record. It came complete with lots of spaced-out rains that foiled the early garden planters. So what was bound to happen? Yep, that's right, May arrived and what follows is a report on the belated postage stamp garden that has become a tradition at the Evans residence.
As March turned into April with its anti-garden-tilling rains, the first thought was "no garden this year." Ha. Ha. I knew that involved a mix-up of the grey matter cells since getting my hands in the dirt is an annual event. Case closed. Not quite. There were those almost evenly spaced rains that foiled the tilling; it was a rain, rain, April-shower-rain month. But May saved the day. Mother Nature began her annual schedule as lawns began to green, the trees began to show signs of life, even the redbud tree which bloomed in April only to be ruined by lower-20 temps and the dogwood tree overcame frostbite and turned into white bouquets. And the postage stamp plot finally was upended and those short rows were readied for the usual crop.
Bean and okra seeds were given the usual soaking for a couple of hours before dropping them in the ground where they were joined by a few cucumber seeds at the base of a cattle panel. Room for a few short rows of sweet corn completed the seeding process and shazam ... just a few hours after the final seed was dropped ... you guessed it, the almost three-inch rain created a whole new picture of the postage stamp plot which, to put it mildly, looked like a brownish pond in the backyard. Honestly, that's what it looked like as I looked out through a window and saw the pond and more rain, rain, rain.
You gardeners know the rest of this tale of woe. Unable to get into the truck patch, it was wait, wait, wait rather than sink to my knees (that is a slight embellishment) and see how many of the beans were able to break to the surface without breaking their necks. It didn't look good and, to make matters worse, the cucumbers cuked and the okra seed headed toward China. So much for those crops. Oh, the corn? Here and there a spindly little feller managed to droll to the light ... surrounded, of course, by the dark blackish-brownish pond residue.
To end this tale of mud, let's just say new rows have been laid out, the proper seeds have been replanted and it's more wait, wait, wait until the next rain which ... I haven't looked at the forecast. I'll just take it. Whatever it is. Hopefully, by the time you read this, I'll be looking forward to fresh green beans before the first day of summer and a miraculously fresh ear of corn by the Fourth of July. Okra and cucumbers? ... they're on their own. I'll probably be hitting the farmers' markets.
Let's move on to a more pleasant subject. How about graduation? It doesn't seem possible but, by the time you read this, graduations will almost all be over. And school is out earlier than... can anyone remember when?
It's still hard getting used to not having a camera around my neck and attending a lot of end-of-school activities ranging from kindergarten to concerts, to you know what, particularly since I had no idea when most were scheduled. But seeing the pictures of this year's grads in the Eagle Observer reminds all of us to congratulate the grads and wish them well as they begin new chapters of their lives. The 'Cuff wishes great things for each of them as they go their separate ways ... that they will always be happy, that they overcome and conquer any challenges they face, and that they will live lives that are productive, self-satisfying and filled with the love that holds mankind together.
Most of all, be true to yourselves, true to what you know is right and true to the expectations your loved ones, your teachers and your friends helped you carve as you traveled these past twelve years. It's all out there ... just use care, caution, faith and the great freedom that this great nation provides for you as it has done for generations. And always remember that each generation of grads, those who have come before and those who will follow you, continue to preserve these freedoms. That is the challenge of each of us, young and old.
From rain to rainbows ... Bon Voyage!
Dodie Evans is the former owner and longtime editor of the Gravette News Herald. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.Editorial on 05/16/2018
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