We were digging up the garden today, turning over the soil to get ready to plant some vegetables. My husband was out there wielding the spading fork, sinking it deep, using his foot to push it deeper, lifting the clumps of clay and the finer soil we have added every year, mixing it with the steer manure spread out over the surface, breaking up the clods, stirring and churning the soil.
I went out to see if I could help. He did not want help, but I stayed out there anyway until I persuaded him to let me go down the rows ahead of him with the long, slender shovel with the short handle that just fits me, loosening the ground so that it would be easier for him to break up the clods. I sank the blade up to the hilt in the soil, levering the shovel to bring up the dirt in great chunks. Then I chopped the chunks, slicing them with the shovel blade held perpendicular to the earth.
Before tilling, I had been out there weeding. The ground is rather dry, so I used the long, thin weeding tool, stabbing the dirt next to the weed and trying to get underneath the roots. Most of the time the clay clung in solid clumps to the root, so that I would have to take it in my hand and carefully break it apart without breaking the roots and leaving them in the clay to regrow after the rain.
When we were just about too tired to finish, it started to rain. We took our tools under our new awning on the back patio and sat there with our feet up on the picnic table bench, listening to the patter of raindrops on the metal roof and talking of this and that, planning what to do if the nectarine tree really does die, how to remove the dead apricot tree trunk, and deciding we should rent a chain saw to get rid of the rest of the huge old cottonwood tree stumps. I thought if I have the energy next fall, I would like to dig up all of the flower garden on the west and the north and replant all the bulbs. My husband protested that I had better not disturb the peonies and the chrysanthemums, but then we thought the mums really would look better differently spaced. The rain was really only a sprinkle, enough to dampen the pavement but not to soak anything.
My husband went back into the garden to finish the spading. I went into the house to cook us something for dinner.
I love working with soil. Something in my soul loves to dig and to weed and to grow things. I have plenty of farmers in my ancestry. Is it their genes? I am happily anticipating shopping for the seeds and plants we will put in the garden. Because tomorrow is supposed to be rainy and Monday is supposed to be fine, we will visit the cemeteries and decorate the graves of our kin tomorrow in the rain, and then we will plant on Monday.
Grow, garden, grow!