Bricks and Potatoes

| 5/13/2013 4:43:00 PM

Tags: growing potatoes, local food, potato farming, Bethann Weick,

The dirt in our garden is amazing: black, moist, deep. The old 1800s-era Jessaman homesite is nearby – in fact, our garden borders the old cellar hole and wraps around the now-filled-in well hole.  We imagine that where we now grow our sustenance, the Jessaman’s, too, raised their crops, or perhaps their animals.  It’s the best explanation we have for this extraordinary pocket of fertile soil.

Preparing the potato bed for planting.

This spring, I’ve expanded the garden by a few additional beds with the goal of growing more potatoes. The chosen area served as the “landing zone” for our cabin construction last year, and has spent recent seasons covered with brambles, wild strawberry, and virgin’s bower.  Despite this, the weeding was fairly easy, a testament to the dirt beneath.

I graciously accepted this good fortune.  Garden fork in hand, and bucket of weeds by my side, I was pleased to be running my fingers through dirt – and no bugs yet to buzz about my head!  With a steady breeze and clouds racing overhead, it was with much contentment that my fingers searched out the roots that my eyes couldn’t see.  The weeds seemed to give way willingly to this new growing space.  Potatoes will do well here with ample depth to plunge their tubers.  I’m hopeful – this will be an important winter crop.

As I go along, I pull out pebbles occasionally, but only one large stone. Time and time again, however, my hands pry free the remnants of bricks. As late afternoon turns to early evening and my work for the day is nearing completion, a collection of the ruddy-colored artifacts is stacked to one side. The sight of them calls up something nostalgic in me, broken bits suggesting a history that is largely lost.

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