Absolutely shocking!

Helen Row Toews

This spring, farmers busily tilled, seeded and tended the land. Now they watch and wait as their fields take on lush shades of green, and fill out with the promise of a bountiful yield.

During harvest last year, most farmers were already beginning to calculate what crops would be sown the next season. After careful consideration, they chose from the many seed options available, much the same as when we select from all possible varieties for the garden.

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My garden, such as it is, is growing steadily among the weeds. I always admire people with thriving, productive gardens. It’s on my bucket list to grow one before I die, but sadly the item most likely to go with me to the grave unfulfilled. Sigh. My loving son Chris was over with his family last fall for a visit, and peered thoughtfully out the kitchen window at my flourishing vegetable plot.

“You gonna bale that?” he asked unkindly, with a backward smirk toward his mother. After dealing out a well-deserved blow for insubordination, I stood beside him to gaze at the mass of tall, tangled quack grass and assorted thistles, rustling in the afternoon breeze. He was right; it could be baled. I hate when he’s right.

One summer a few years ago, I resolved to make my dream come true and set aside time each evening to spend on my hands and knees praying for help – wait, no – I meant to say, pulling weeds. Remarkably, by the end of July, I almost had the place looking like a snapshot from Butchart Gardens. Diligence was really paying off until I lost ground one muggy day when my husband Tom decided to put horses on the lawn to, “graze it down a little.” Carefully he strung electric fence just inside the garden perimeter and assured me he would only let them into the area under strict supervision.

Spluttering with indignation, I crept beside a row of green beans, angrily plucking stinkweed from the soil and tossing it in a heap. Slowly I worked my way to the south end. A gentle rain had begun to fall and I glanced up to push hair from my eyes and glare at the huge clomping creatures tearing at grass three feet away. That move, a sizzling sound and the smell of burning hair were the last things I remembered when I woke up some time later – face down in the radishes.

I’d forgotten the damnable fence! Crawling weakly from the flattened vegetation, I lay on the lawn to recover and comforted myself by imagining the various forms of revenge I could take against my beloved. However, that would require energy and wits. Having recently been electrocuted, I had neither.

At this time of year it certainly does a heart good to know another growing season is upon us. As for my dream, Butchart Gardens may be a nice place to visit, but I’ll be content with a little fresh produce and less threat of electric shock therapy. And by the way — no horses allowed!

To order Helen’s books or write her, please go to myprairiewool.com or PO Box 55 Marshall, SK. S0M 1R0

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