Friday, August 15, 2008

Buried Treasure

Well, in my post 'True sign of spring,' I told you to head out in early August in western MN to taste wild plums. Scratch that, reverse it -- because this spring was a month later than normal, everything is ripening at least two weeks later than normal. The plums are still green. Some are just starting to turn, but it will be awhile before they're pink and squishy.

My tomatoes are still green, too. Last year at this time I had a dozen quarts of spaghetti sauce already in my pantry. This year I've had just two ripe tomatoes from my twenty-seven plants. If the universe is kind, our first frost won't hit til mid-October. But since this is Minnesota, we're looking at mid-September.

My boys helped me harvest a couple of ice-cream buckets of potatoes the other day. Digging potatoes is like looking for buried treasure. Coincidentally, we were digging up Yukon Gold potatoes. Owen and Graham hovering next to me as I plunge the pitchfork into the soil. Whose turn is it to jump on the tines? It's Graham's turn. I hold the wooden handle steady, he climbs onto the tines and begins to jump. The pitchfork barely moves. I help it a bit with my right foot. It sinks deeper, deep enough through the straw into the dark dirt.

Graham steps off; it's Owen's turn to pull down on the end of the handle, levering the tines above the ground. We see a large potato, then another one. The boys race to see who can grab them first. Digging down into the hole with our fingers, we uncover two more. The potatoes get thrown onto a pile, and the pitchfork is lifted again for another search.

The boys and I will dig some more potatoes tomorrow. Maybe I'll make eye-patches for all of us and teach the boys some pirate talk. Harr! Tharr be buried treasure in the garrden!

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