Friday, June 1, 2012

The Garlic Chronicles

This Memorial Day weekend we went to Charleston, WV for the the Vandalia Gathering, a festival devoted to the traditional arts and music of West Virginia, and West Virginia only.

The Bing Brothers, Mike, Tim, and Dave, received the Vandalia Award...a lifelong achievement award given to someone in the Traditional Arts every year. The boys deserve the recognition, and seemed as unconcerned with the attention as a Hog on Ice. They just play good music and  always have. I'm sure you can get 'em on You Tube. Guess it's the Arish in 'em. Good to see them awarded something... and all of them still able to accept it.

We spent the weekend with the ever entertaining John Blissard and his wife Pat. Just did what we wanted, aided and abetted by John and Pat, who got us passes and parking permits...and fed us, and fed us.

After a great weekend of music, food, frivolity, and seeing folks, we went Lexington, Ky, to pick up Thomas the Great, ie. Defender, Degrader, and Avenger of the Universe. Prime Mover, Rouge Gallery Front Runner, Arch Angel, 5 year old Destructovator and Calvin impersonator.

The trip home was entertaining,. Thomas managed to talk and wiggle all the way from Kentucky to Georgia, a journey of some 450 miles. He fell into a deep coma 3/4 of a mile from the house before I could  get the mail out of the mail box. The coma lasted until about 11:00 PM. Thomas awoke in true T Rex about 11:00 PM, ROARING for food and a movie...Babe Goes to the City. Good thing Grandma like to stay up till all hours! He was up at 7:00. Grandma was, too! I feigned lifeless slumber.

A wise woman said: " We should have stayed home and harvested garlic". Yeah, probably.

This year all schedules and plans have gone awry...and I've never been much for planning what nature does. some of the garlic cloved up, some didn't, and I opted to wait...a mistake, I'm finding.  A lot can happen during four seasons to abort the best laid plans of mice and men. We need the rain! The garlic doesn't. It's compromised, visually. Not the prettiest I ever grew, but the biggest. The warm and rain did the trick this winter.

I bribed the grandchildren, and solicited other family members from "down the country" to help harvest this year. Amazing what a promise of money will do to interrupt sleep patterns of teenagers. First day we all worked until noon and had a great lunch provided by Janice Faye Catering, the best in the business. The Atlanta crowd drove away leaving me and my field hands, Michael and Jacob to do the bulk of the work for the next 4 days or so. Many hands do make short work of harvesting garlic. Young muscles are the best! We managed to get five 150 foot rows dug and hung so far...only 17 more to go.

So,  It's raining again this morning, as I write. The grand boys are snoring, the garlic is still nestled in the ground with a canopy of winter mulch to protect it from most of the rain. We got 3/4 inch of rain last night. Everyone except garlic farmers, and folks that make hay, are happy. Harvest will begin as soon as I can get the boys awake. It's only 11:00 AM.

You know what? It'll all work out. The boys are making a buck doing something useful for me, and are sorta' interested in becoming limited partners. That would tickle me to death to have some family members vested in the system. Be a good crop for a couple school boys. and the investment is already made. They both seem to enjoy it and each others company...and it's not hard work.

 I will suffer some loss to weather, and my own inattention. I don't have a government crop subsidy to cover my losses. That ain't the Cowboy Way. We'll manage...and for the most part I'm happy with the crop. I have some beautiful seed stock for next year and I'll bet somebody will eat some great garlic!

 The garlic has spoken for the year! I wasn't listening as I should have been.

Dope Slap!

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