Friday, August 17, 2001
Carlisle Comments: Foss Farming It
I can't wear a watch right now. The poison ivy on my wrist rubs right at the watch buckle and drives me batty. I think I got poison ivy when I was pulling tall weeds from the perimeter of our garden plot at Foss Farm. The weeds had started to embarrass me because my neighbors' gardens are so neat. The garden on the left side contains salt marsh hay, which smothers anything not wanted, and across the center path is Clovis's well-organized garden, which has been religiously hoed until no sprouting weed dare show its face. And most of the gardens have their borders neatly mowed. Not ours, which is why I was yanking out the tall weeds and immersing myself in poison ivy. Up and down the row of gardens the zucchinis are turning into baseball bats, the sunflowers are competing with the corn and the beans are attracting those squishy, annoying beetles that eat the leaves until the long slender pods are exposed to the elements.
Gardening at Foss Farm is a family affair, and I don't need my watch to tell me how long to spend at our plot. We arrive in a cloud of dust, and pour out of the van as if the two children were a crowd of ten. We drag out hoes, watering cans, snacks, gloves and kneeling pads and set to work. My children are excited and proud of their efforts. The garden allows them to understand the cause and effect of planting a seed, watering, weeding and harvesting the food that springs from their work. They may not actually eat the zucchini, but they understand its life cycle, which includes wilting and getting blossom-end rot. My husband and the kids love to tour the other gardens, commenting on the height of the corn, the abundance of ripening tomatoes and the great scarecrow and other decorations.
Anything that can be harvested Rose eats on the spot, and Lucas digs pits to make mud pools After most of the harvested vegetables are sampled, and the mud pools begin to lose their appeal and the bugs are chasing Rose, it is clearly time to leave. Besides, we might want to let the neighboring gardeners work with a little peace for the rest of the morning. Without my watch to limit us, we have spent a longer time enjoying the wide-open space that Foss Farm offers us. But I can tell by the itch that it's time to renew the calamine lotion, so we head home. A little bit of poison ivy is a small price to pay for the family time our harvest brings.
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