It has been a great week weather-wise here at Snaggletooth Farm. Low fifties and sunny with a stiff breeze; our garlic have been loving it! All creatures great and small are starting to find their way to our fields to enjoy spring's gift of sprouting grass. There isn't much yet, but it does beckon. There have been up to eight deer out after dark most nights, and yes they have found their way to our garlic as you can see by the tops being unceremoniously chewed off. Luckily, deer figure out quickly that the garlic is not tasty, and move on to greener pastures. We only lose a little to the deer, and most plants will bounce back. It would have been fun to see the expression on the deer's face when the fresh garlic taste permeated their mouth; the look of surprise would have been priceless. Other creatures that have paid visits have been porcupines and most notably turkeys. The porcupine just ambled like a drunken sailor along the edge of the field; find nothing of interest gastronomically, he kept going until he found his way into the back woods. The turkeys are something else altogether; they don't bother garlic much, but I have seen them pull up the tender shoots and strew them all over the field. The least they could do is eat what they disrupt! Well, last night our flock of fifteen turkeys made an appearance at dusk. They remind me of little kids who know they shouldn't be somewhere, but intend on getting there all the same. They slowly walk up the field, stooping to nibble this or that, never looking directly at our planted areas, but slowly, methodically moving toward them all the same. We watch them with amusement, but are on guard to leave the house to "encourage" them to go elsewhere. They are nervous birds, and it takes a few noises usually to make them disappear. Did I mention they are like little kids? Just as we think they are going to leave the garlic alone, one brave hen does a ninety degree pivot and plants herself in the midst of the furthest row. I get out of my chair, step over two tired, slumbering dogs, rip open the door and step out and do my best Scooby Doo voice. The crew of fifteen scatter, but don't leave. They realize that old Scoob is too far away to really be a bother to them. Next thing I know Henry and Stella arrive, and Stella being my trained turkey chaser is after them in a flash. Now they move, and move quickly. It reminded us of the movie Jurassic Park, how they ran like a pack of Velociraptors, but away from prey not toward it. Stella dutifully stops at the edge of the field, knowing she can't catch the turkeys, turns and makes her way home. When I had my glass of wine later with some Beemster cheese from our local shop, I made sure Stella had a generous piece on a cracker. Yes, Henry received one too. I think maybe our dogs are spoiled.
After fits and starts, our garlic is finally underway. The weather has been crazy, but really what else is new? Every year it is something it seems. Our long term forecast is for warmer nights, and that bodes well for our garlic. Before we know it we will be out there weeding; hard to believe that I am anxiously looking forward to it. It will be hours/days of backbreaking work; however the peace and quiet that goes with it is priceless. We live on the side of a hill, which is always the beneficiary of a breeze, and just two neighbors beyond us on our road. These two factors ensure that most of Maine's pesky black flies and mosquitos are kept at bay, while at the same time there is no road noise to disturb our tranquil work. Peace and quiet, blue sky interspersed with puffy clouds, straw covered soil, garlic, and weeds. The weeds will be removed one by one, and though it may be difficult to stand by the end of the day, we will give thanks that we were able to tend to our little piece of heaven. This is still a few weeks away however, so while Alicia tends to all things house related today, methinks that I had better finish my coffee, stroll to the bottom of the field, and get busy with another backbreaking yet necessary chore; stacking our woodpile. Henry and Stella will be only too happy to supervise....