The Albemarle County Almanac

At last a good rain! And by good, I mean we didn’t have to water this weekend, but also nothing got flooded. Just in the sweet spot.

Consequently, everything in the garden is hitting its growth spurt.  The winter squash got huge over night, and the mystery squash is blooming – *spooky ghost voice* oooooo, myysssterrry squaaashhh.  Here’s the story with the mystery squash. Elise and I are at the garden generally five days a week and keep good track of how its doing. That being said, we don’t have the place wired with video cameras (*cough* DAD *cough*) and sometimes things surprise us. Like when we show up to the garden, and suddenly there are four new and unaccounted for squash plants scattered about the garden. We figure we might as well let them grow because obviously someone wanted them there. We’ll take ’em.

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The Winter Squash
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MYSTERY SQUASH!

Also, the baby muskmelons are starting the peek their heads up since we planted them last week.  Is it weird that I have the same affection for baby seedlings and puppies?  They’re just so cute and small and full of hope and promise and good things and look at them!

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Look at those baby muskmelons

We’re reaching peak fruit season here in Virginia as well. As I’m writing this, I’ve got a blueberry pie in the oven, made with some fresh blueberries I bought at the Meade Park Farmer’s Market a few days ago.  In the garden, the figs are starting to take shape, and the juneberries – which I know very little about and for which I am very excited – are coming in.  Right now, they look a lot like blackberries, and the thorns are treacherous. Hopefully they’re worth it.

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Figs!
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Juneberries coming in

My new book this past week is A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold, which is a dramatic turn from the last book I read.  Written in the 1940s in the tradition of Thoreau and Emerson, it’s essentially one man’s love story to the natural world of America’s midwestern states.  What’s immediately apparent is that Leopold has a completely different world view than most people. He sees things, values things, and understands things that most people don’t even realize exist.  But I don’t think that ignorance is a conscious choice.

Part of loving nature and her processes is really understanding patience.  Flowers bloom once a year, asparagus, strawberries, and fruit trees take a good three years to even produce, and trees evolve over decades.  You can’t have access to all the wonderful pieces of the natural world at any time you want.  It’s not the internet. You have to yield to time, accepting birth, and death, and the space in-between, and learn to revel in all three.  It’s a whole other world than the one most people are born into nowadays.

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The herbs are huge

Now, I’m still getting used to Virginia, and Albemarle County. I didn’t grow up here.  I grew up 13 hours southwest of here, where everything about the timing of nature and local flora and fauna is just different enough to completely throw me off.  But I’m becoming more appreciative of this part of the US as the summer goes on.  For one thing, we don’t have bald eagles back home.

At the farm last Thursday, we were driving out to go pull more carrots when we were stopped by a bald eagle hanging out in the middle of the road. I didn’t recognize it at first, because although it was MASSIVE, well, it wasn’t bald. Michelle said it must have been a juvenile bird, which has a mottled brown and white coloring all over, and won’t go bald for a couple of more years. I had no idea. Apparently a nesting pair of bald eagles lives around the farm, and this guy was their chick, setting up camp near his parents’ territory. I wonder how many people have seen a thing like that. He flew off with a killer wingspan, off into the woods.  Now all I wonder is: What else am I missing?

I’ll never figure out every answer to that question, but I’m sure as hell keeping my eyes open from now on.

Greetings from the garden and the illustrious Lulu!

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Lulu, garden dog extraordinaire

-Grace

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One thought on “The Albemarle County Almanac

  1. Love Jonson

    o m g!!! Did you ever figure out the story of the mystery squash?!

    I’m starting to figure out who’s writing before getting to the end 🙂 You guys, these blog posts are great! I’m so happy you’re seeing value in the scholarship component of the internship.

    The last bit about the eagle was beautiful – never stop asking what you’re missing!

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