My first love is and always will be painting, but in college, I realized I could do something even more spectacular than putting oil to canvas. I could paint the earth! I could paint fabulous colors with flowers and trees. I could paint interesting textures with fruits and vegetables. Gardening and landscape architecture gave me this chance, and it gave me skills to grow and provide for my family that are, perhaps, outside of a day-to-day skill set.
Yesterday, I took on corn. Growing corn is a challenge for every gardener. Every aspect must be done correctly or you wind up with big stalks full of nothing. Tradition states that corn must be planted when the leaves of a dogwood tree are the size of a squirrel’s ear. You think you know about what size that is, but you’d be wrong.
With seed packet in hand and a weather forecast of heavy rain, I started hunting for a squirrel and a dogwood tree. Here’s how the rest of my afternoon played out:
2:30 PM: Dogwood tree acquired. Leaf size assessed. Now, to find the squirrel. The little twerps have been bonking around in my attic all winter, so you’d think they’d be mauling my back yard in the sunshine. Advance and declare yourself!
2: 40 PM: Not so much. Okay. Where have all the little … gone?
2:47 PM: Ah. Furball detected. “Brother Squirrel. Oh, Brother Squirrel! Please turn around so I can complete the circle of life by looking at your ear and not your butt. That’s good, no, wait, that’s not…okay now, that’s….no, no, no…yeah, o-…. Look, just let me….Jerk.”
2:48 PM: Forget tradition, I’m planting the corn before I die waiting to examine a rodent’s ear.
2:53 PM: The Squirrel has developed a sudden interest in what I’m doing. “Brother Squirrel, clear off. I’m planting this for my family, not yours. Oh no, you didn’t just steal that seed. Get outta here before I make a change purse outta you. Go complete the circle of life in someone else’s yard.
2:54 PM: Ah! A rock! Here goes nothing!
2:54 and 3/4 PM: Alright, maybe I have been painting too long and my aim isn’t so hot.
2:56 PM: Where are my faithful hounds? Brother Dogs are sunning themselves after breakfast. “Awake Brother Dogs! Do your duty! Protect the fort! Leap, leap into action! Don’t just amble over here and no, you can’t eat the corn seeds either.”
It looks like the circle of life is going to be thin on the ground this year.