Experts or no, ultimately the People decide
Temperatures this week in the mid-60s. The crop of daffodils is as good as we’ve seen. It is Spring in Madison WI (our shortest season) and people are emerging into the open!
Speaking of emerging, a chubby groundhog (perhaps loaded with pups) lumbered its way through the city park out back to (let’s hope) somewhere else. Chickadees are digging a home into a dead sour gum tree here on the Blaska Experimental Work Farm (and Penal Colony). The robins and redwing blackbirds are after the suet like Drunk Uncle at the Thanksgiving liquor cabinet. Downspouts on all four corners of the Stately Manor now support nests in their crooks.
These are some of the things you can see just by looking, as Yogi Berra remarked.
The unlettered field hands took their pitchforks (last employed at the Reopen Wisconsin protest) to the asparagus patch. The leaf mulch might have been laid on a bit too heavy last fall. The soil underneath was cold and wet even at this late date (04-28-2020). If we mound up the mulch as the spears emerge, we’ll produce some of that spargle (fat, white spears) we enjoyed in May of last year on Ms. Vicki McKenna’s Danube river cruise!
Red Norland potatoes went right into the leaf mulch and another inch into the ground of another patch 04-27.
Singing their simple folksongs (from the first Kraftwerk album) the oppressed field hands sowed the main fields last week 04-22 with Buttercrunch lettuce, arugula, Lucullus chard, Super Sugar Snap peas, and Red Cloud beets. In 40 years of gardening, this was our first use of seed tapes (for the beets). In the past, we had broadcast sown previous beet crops as we do the lettuce but we like the automatic spacing seed tape affords.
The good earth must breathe
Do love digging our fingers into the soil. Remember my father on the farm literally tasting the dirt before he planted. Over the last 30 years, the field hands at the Experimental Work Farm have worked into the natural clay soil a bounty of amendments. Before the winter snows, we aerated the soil and churned into the ground the remaining vegetable stalks and spent flowers. The churned dirt was now receptive to a blanket of macerated leaves, allowing microbes extra time to do their work.
Early this spring, we dumped a winter’s worth of kitchen offal — egg shells, banana peels, and coffee grounds — into the mix. Even a few lobster shells and papier mâché egg cartons and TP rolls. The soil had already devoured much of the autumn leaf feast. All of which we mix-mastered with the Work Farm’s newly acquired easy-start Stihl rototiller. Then a second run through a week later before we can call it a seed bed.
Planting is accomplished standing atop six-foot wide cedar boards (distributes the weight) so as not to compress the soil. The soil must breathe.
People are voting with their feet
More wild life sightings: two children are swinging the swings at Orchard Ridge Park out back, despite the dire coronavirus warning signs posted by the City of Madison. Over the weekend, our neighbors entertained about a half-dozen friends. Band practice has resumed at another neighbor’s house.
If your Squire is incubating the Wuhan Woo Woo from the 04-24 Reopen clambake at the Capitol he is also contributing to herd immunity. (Doctors Erickson and Massihi dissent. They appeared on Laura Ingraham last night.)
⇒ Our sophisticated sensing antennae confirms that ‘Quarantine Fatigue’ has more people going outside. (Story here.)
Gov. Evers is opening state parks that never should have been closed in the first place. The people are voting with their feet. Experts know a lot but they don’t know everything.
Blaska’s Bottom Line — When you think about it, what is to stop a particular town or a bunch of businesses from opening up? Some customers will patronize; others will remain sequestered. Ultimately, the people decide.