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Rain/Heat/Weeds Got You Down? Think Happy Thoughts!

It’s been quite a hot and rainy summer so far this year. But rather than complain about it, I have chosen to focus on the many benefits of all this heat and moisture. So I share with you my list of happy thoughts about what this hot, humid summer has given me on the farm this year.

Happy thought #1: No need to water. In the early spring we set up the sprinkling system in the gardens and orchard, but so far, have only had it on just once – and the moment we turned it off, a robust thunderstorm swept through, depositing more than two inches of rain.  It’s been raining like that all summer long: thunder storms with one to two inches of rain every few days – our own reliable, natural, automated watering system.

Happy thought #2: Weeds love it. I’ve never experienced such an abundance of gargantuan weeds. This is definitely a first for this novice farmer, so I am happy to have the opportunity for yet another new learning experience.

Happy thought #3: Weeding is a cinch. Once the patch of weeds reaches gigantic proportions, they are very easy to identify (assuring me that I’m not about to pull any of my vegetable plants by accident) and even easier to grip, thanks to their large, solid base. Considering the always-moist soil, a giant weed is also quite easy to pull up by its roots.

Happy thought #4: Weeding may bring world peace. After posting an SOS on my Facebook page, a old, dear classmate friend came up from the Twin Cities to help me out. We spent the day pulling weeds while chatting about the good old days, and pretty much had the world’s problems solved. I am happy to know that if the G-8 Summit had been held on our farm field while we were weeding, world peace would have been achieved. Maybe next year.

Happy thought #5: Meeting Popeye. Getting down on my knees and sticking my nose down near the dirt gives me the opportunity to take a really close look at the eco-system under my plants. One happy discovery was that my spinach patch is being protected by a large toad, appropriately named “Popeye” by fellow SGT writer Tracey Paska. I am so happy to know that Popeye the Toad is keeping my plants safe from slugs and other pests, and that he is getting fatter (in a good way) every day.

Happy thought #6: Snakes are cute. I actually really like snakes. I have always been amazed at how a creature with no extremities can move so fast and eat an animal that is larger than its own head. And the jungle of thick vegetation in my gardens provides lots of cover for common garter snakes to thrive. I am happy to know that any mouse that may dare to venture into my gardens to munch on my plants will also risk being munched on in return.

Happy thought #7: Hiding from politicians. It’s campaigning season, and here in the country it is not uncommon to have local politicians go door-to-door asking for votes. Working in the gardens under cover of tall weeds is the perfect hiding place when such candidates pull into my driveway. I am happy to duck and cover to wait for them to leave. It also gives me some quality time with Popeye and the garter snakes.

Happy thought #8: They’re not really weeds. Everyone has their own definition of a weed. My definition is that they are plants growing in the wrong place. Some of the “weeds” I’ve removed are actually beautiful tomato plants that have sprouted from last year’s crop. But most of the plants-growing-in-the-wrong-place that I’ve removed this year are native prairie grasses and wildflowers that opted to make their home in the gardens instead of the fields where they were originally meant to be. I am so happy to see how our 40 acres of restored native prairie fields are thriving, and in full bloom, thanks to all of this rain.

Happy thought #9: The honeybees love them. Admittedly, I haven’t identified all of the species of plants-growing-in-the-wrong-place, but a few of them have interesting blooms and my honeybees absolutely love them. So I decided to let the bees forage the blossoms first before I tore them all out. I am happy to have an excuse to not pull some unidentified plants in one spot, so I can concentrate my efforts on another spot.

Happy thought #10: I’m not alone. At first I was embarrassed by the immense crop of unplanned plants growing in the gardens, which would appear to be evidence of neglect. But when I confessed to my fellow farmers and gardeners that I have not been able to keep up with weed removal this year, they acknowledged the same problem as well. This, by far, is the happiest news of all. I am happy to know that I am not a completely incompetent farmer.

I am also happy to report, that despite the invasion of enormous weeds, my crops of squash, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, green beans, dragon’s tongue wax beans, and other veggies, are quite happy as well.

 

 

Debbie Morrison is a frequent contributor to Simple, Good and Tasty. She and her husband Jim own and operate Sapsucker Farms, where their certified organic crops include maple syrup, honey, apples, plums and vegetables. Debbie's last post for Simple, Good and Tasty was Life with "The Girls" Provides Entertainment, Free Fertlizer and Incomparable Eggs.

Comments

Hello,
I want to thank Deb for letting me come to weed at the farm.I have lived in the cities but grew up with a farming history. My Father ( bless his soul) Sold farm equipment. I grew up being informed of farm life.From raising my own chickens to eat, and how to tell bad weather that going to Hit Us. He worked at Farm Machinery Hill at the MN state Fair.So we gained information of the BIG equipment for farming.
So going to pull weeds not only gave me a chance to visit with Deb whom I knew in school but am learning about now as we pull weeds and how life as formed for both of us. It also gives me the fond memories of my Father and childhood.
Thanks Deb
A RHS friend Gretchen S

The weeds took over my little garden as well this year. I only had time to plant some beets, none of which came up! So, I prefer to think of it as lying fallow this year. There are even some carrots that I (clearly!) missed picking last year that have gone to seed. Next year my poor little garden will get more attention.
I LOVE weeding - I love starting out with think weeds and ending up with beautiful black soil!

Happy farmers grow happy fruits and vegetables! This year some of my tomatoes had interesting features, and I swear a couple of them were smiling. Others had protuberances like large noses. I'm pretty sure those tomatoes were influenced by my neighbor : )

Thank goodness I'm not alone! I identify with every point you made, except I'm not lucky enough to have a toad or garter snakes. Just lots and lots of hummingbirds, which are no help with the pests (but are enormously entertaining). Thanks for sharing!

Just emptied the rain gauge (had over 6 inches of rain in the past 24 hours), and the power is now restored - another happy moment :-).

Gretchen, it was a blast having you come up to help me out, and your help is so greatly appreciated! Kelly, I'm cheering for your beets to emerge next year, maybe they just needed a year off. PattyCakes - you made me smile - I'm going to see if my tomatoes are smiling back too. ThisOldSpouse, I would happily take hummingbirds (who contribute no value in helping to weed) over the crows any day!

I'm especially happy to know that I'm not the only one facing this dilemma this year too. Now off to the garden I go!

Debbie

Another reason to be thankful for the existance of weeds. Have you heard of The Carter Family, one of the first recorded old time Country/Folk singing groups? Well, there were two brothers, A.P. and Pop Carter. A.P. often sang with his wife Sarah and Pop's wife Maybelle. In the early 1930's, music producers combed the mountain country of the south looking for talent to record. A.P. wanted to take Sarah and Maybelle to a tryout, but Pop thought it a waste of time. He only agreed to let Maybelle go after A.P. agreed to weed a patch of garden for him. If it haden't been for those weeds, it is possible The Carter Family would never have been recorded. Maybelle, of course, was the mother of June Carter, the wife of Johnny Cash.

Jack - an inspiring story! Good to know that weeding can also be used as a trading oommodity too :-)

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