I was watching President Obama on TV on Tuesday describing a "national mission" to get away from using too much oil. After I thought about his speech, I realized I was already doing that.
I built a raised-bed vegetable garden for someone in Anacortes. That's part of the solution. The customer is full of enthusiasm and absolutely new at it. This is her first year to try to garden anything and she's so proud. She showed me some basil plants that she grew from seed -- they looked healthy and strong.
Each plant would cost $3 or $4 if you bought them as starts, and "our family eats a lots of basil," she said. So she will grow her own and save money.
She had some old potatoes. They were wrinkled up but sprouting new buds and all ready to put in the ground. She said she got the potatoes from Charlotte Johnson at Mother Flight Farm. Charlotte drives her truck to the farmers market in Anacortes every Saturday to sell her vegetables. She always has time for advice to people with home gardens.
Anyway, Charlotte gave her the potato buds, and I told her how to plant them, maybe three inches deep. "Which side up?" she asked. "Doesn't matter," I said, "they will find the light."
I had built her a raised bed for the vegetables, two rows 15-feet long by 3-feet wide. I laid some weed block cloth on top of the grass, and heaped the soil up on top of the that -- soil she bought from Maillard's nursery on the west side of Mount Vernon.
It took four to six yards of soil to make the beds. The truck came last week for delivery and dumped the soil on a blue tarp I laid down near where we built the garden.
Then it was my pleasure to shovel that whole pile into the wheelbarrow and cart it over to where the garden is -- just pile it up and rake it out until it looked right.
That was quite a lot of work -- moving four to six yards of soil -- and it tired me out, but it looked quite fine when it was done, especially when I realized that I was supporting our national mission. We will do it and we will succeed.
Does building a vegetable garden support our national mission to get off foreign oil? Of course it does. And is it just me? No, there are signs of this happening everywhere. People are getting serious about it and not waiting for instructions from President Obama.
The other part of the garden project was to build a deer fence. Deer are a suburban plague if you ask me. I am not sentimental about their existence, but suffice it to say that the deer like to eat tender vegetable sprouts, and we sure didn't want that to happen. So she bought a hundred feet of deer netting and a bundle of 8-foot stakes. I used that netting and made a fence around the new garden.
When I left her yesterday afternoon, she was planting bush beans.
If you go to my Facebook page, you can see a photo of this garden. Go to "LaConner Views"
Ironing. I wrote a story about how my mother used to iron my shirts. She died in 1996 and I miss her.
But the story was too personal and the thrust of it was reactionary and patriarchal. I mean, who needs a fight?
I could use it in a book that I will begin to write in November. I have two different ideas for this book.
The first idea is about how my mother used to iron my shirts and why I went to Africa in 1997. You might not see the connection, but it will make sense if I write it all down in a story of great psychological depth.
The other possibility for a book is a story about California -- a subject that fascinates me. This is how I would write that book -- I would head south in mid-October, well before the rains set in. I would get myself set up somehow in Los Angeles or near by. Then I will just write it all down.
California is one of those places where a writer needs no imagination. You just look out the window and right it all down.
They say that the streets are paved with gold in California -- well, they used to say that.
1989. I would like to end this newsletter on a sour note. I just don't like living in the Skagit Valley half as much as I used to. I think it all went down hill after 1989. That was the year they tore down Fishtown. That was the year the Cascade Mall opened in Burlington -- when all the big box stores opened up and the pro-growth people won a resounding victory. All I have to say to the pro-growth people is "you won and I lost." I used to like the valley a lot better than I do now.
Because it used to seem so special. Now it seems a lot like every place else.
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