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April 9, 2014




9 April 2014



When the well breaks down in the middle of a heat wave in the third year of a notorious drought, you get attentioned rapidly. After the dull shock wore off, I walked the field as an executioner, the Robespierre of Mira Monte, deciding who would live and who would die. Yes to the Kale and Celery, no to the Violet Cauliflower and the onions we planted in the lower field. Sorry Green Onions, it’s been fun, and if the well gets fixed or it rains ( hah-hah) hopefully you’ll still be out here, waiting for the windows of heaven to swing wide. But you Garbanzo, and you Zucchini, you may live. You I will spare from the dry rigors of death. The Zuke stays because he is my big early gamble. 2000 linear feet that says Early Summer to waiting Pilgrims hungering for that which is not leaf. Harvest squash by May Day and they’ll put your picture in Wikipedia on the genius page.

Garbanzo is a Go because she is miserly, a dry-land cropper who needs just a little boost up into the saddle of the season because she will ride the summer bareback, subsisting on the paltry, rather distrustful of puddles and downpours. But you gotta guard against the squirrel. Squirrel likes nothing better than to murder the garbanzo. If you are a trapper, by the way, bait them with garbanzo for excellent harvests of Spermophilus beecheyi, a truly evil critter, resourceful, plague infested, and resplendently proliferating.

Wandering around on 12 acres with two mighty four gallon per minute garden hoses pouring forth their miracle, I played Mr. Stingy with fennel and green cabbage and furtively lavished an extra half hour of precious liquid on my red beets and chard. Of course the Chard! God Save The Chard! The abundant giver of thousands of desirable bunches in a scant 1000 linear feet. The chard is my own selected variety of Rainbow Chard called  “ Dinero”.

With the lettuce, we just winged it. It was to term ( 7500 heads). Gina Fontana bailed us out with a couple dozen boxes to Ojai Valley School and we even sent some to Vegas. We revamped our Panic Sales Program. Nitana became the Rancho Del Pueblo Account Vice President for Help of Ojai, and was so impressive on her first foray into the Meals On Wheels Commissary that Lilly The Cook decided she would try to convince her daughter to name the imminent grandbaby Nitana.

Panic. Ha! Rhymes with manic. Now that the pipes are empty, now that high pressure bears down making you dingy with the dizzy, now that your wittle bitty wettuce is keeling over under the blast, now you notice every leak. Now you see every needless length of line watering the stupid Shepherds Purse. Now you wonder Oh Gee, why am I so thirsty? Because you don’t have any water, chump, and you used to have seven faucets to sip from.

Now you’ll fix that hose. Now you won’t blow off that washer until tomorrow. Now you can hardly wait to get out there in the noonday sun and sink a nice long cheater on that crappy two inch ball valve on Number Three Riser, you know the one that always leaks when you’re running it? Off she goes!  The one where all the frogs live and the coyotes go to at night to drink from? Where the plantain is four feet high and humming birds zip in there when no one is looking? Yeah that one, you wastrel, you water unconscious ding bat. Plug all those leaks and fix all those pipes so that God will know you really, really want it to rain again. Then it will be clear you really appreciate it. Up until now, surveillance has proven you could care a lot more.

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