Garden Pic #2

Garden Materials

Garden Materials

Gardening is messy work requiring lots of tools and reference materials and things that can get lost, misplaced or stepped on! Here you can see the basic materials laid out in anticipation of being applied in gardeny kinds of ways. The Countryside Produce farm stand on Munson Road between Lodi and Interlaken really came through for us and you can see the flats of peppers among other things here.


Garden Pic #1

This year we decided to triple our garden adventures and what does that mean? Why triple the work, of course! I think I’m *just* starting to recover now.

We had a lot of great successes but instead of going into great descriptive detail about them I’m going to post a series of photos of our recent gardening odyssey.

First up: the trip up to the Countryside Produce Amish Market for our seedlings.

Plants in the trunk on thier way to thier new life in our garden in Lodi

Plants in the trunk on their way to their new life in our garden in Lodi

Putting in the Garden

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Well, it’s Victoria Day weekend here in Canada and that means many things. For those of us hoping to have fresh produce on our tables later in the summer it means that it’s time to put in the garden!

In *theory* and by general rule of thumb, the “risk of last frost” is the Victoria Day weekend.

So I’m about to make the trek down to Lodi (where they of course don’t celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday. Will someone remind me why we still do that in Canada?) for our first really big gardening weekend of the season.

We will have our work cut out for us.

We’ll need to fence up the new garden plots if we want our produce to be anything other than a woodchuck buffet.

We’ll need to head up to the Amish markets to buy our healthy little plants and then do the stoop labour of planting them in their tidy little rows.

This year we have some handy-dandy plant stakes that I will painstakingly and lovingly craft and apply in the appropriate areas.

I also have the feeling that there will be some prodigious weeding to do.

Things I will endeavour to do:
-wear sunscreen and a sun hat at all times
-not lose my gardening gloves 1.5 hours into the experience
-look better in the gardening process photos
-not get into monumental arguments about what we plant and where we plant it
-not be too hard on ourselves if we can’t get *everything* done this weekend

Amish Country

Photo: Rosemary Covert

Photo: Rosemary Covert

Lodi is situated in an area populated quite heavily by people of the Amish and Mennonite faith. Ever since I can remember it was a common occurrence to pass a horse and buggy on the country highways around Lodi.

In recent years there has been an influx of even more Amish and Mennonite families to the area and so the chances are very good that you will need to make a wide pass around a buggy carrying a couple, sometimes with curious little ones peering out the back window, their young faces framed by the traditional bob haircut and black-banded straw hat.

This increase in the Amish population of our area has meant nothing but a boon to local food and gardening aficionados. Among many different kinds of businesses that serve the Amish and non-Amish populations there are several excellent produce sellers that grow a lot of their own fruits and vegetables in greenhouses powered without use of electricity.

We’ve been buying fresh produce from our local Amish produce stand for many years but last year we also relied on them heavily for the plants that started our garden. In addition to having excellent quality produce and plants their prices are often the most reasonable you’ll find in comparison to grocery stores and farmers markets.

Last year we were thrilled when our garden tomato patch was spared the blight that was sweeping the countryside. Many of our friends and neighbors had their tomatoes wiped out completely but our tomatoes were blissfully unaware of any of that nasty blight business.

The story we heard was that the blight affected plants that went through the industrial food chain and were purchased at places like grocery stores and Wal-Marts. Since ours came from small independent greenhouses we were in the clear and enjoyed many pounds of tomatoes. (It actually wasn’t the best year for tomatoes blight or no blight, but that’s beside the point).

The population of Amish fits the rural farming landscape perfectly. Teams of six to eight Clydesdale horses farm on properties adjacent to those farmed by the most technologically advanced farming equipment. Seeing them at work in the fields gives us a glimpse at how perhaps our ancestors lived on and worked this land.

Running on Country Roads

The Lake Road in Winter and Carolyn's Cottage

The Lake Road in Winter and Carolyn's Cottage

I’m a runner. Not a very fast or athletic runner, but I run consistently and frequently participate in running events. So it will take quite a bit for me to miss one of my thrice-weekly runs. I often bring my running gear with me on trips to Lodi.

There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to running trails that I have discovered so far around Lodi, though I’m sure there are some hidden gems. When we stay at the cottage, I run along the lake road which is rough, gravel in parts and also one lane wide in certain areas. However, it is a great advantage to be able to jump right in the lake at the end of hot run.

When we are staying up in town I typically choose to run along the two lane highway that runs through Lodi, Route 414. This is not the world’s best running route for a number of reasons. It is a highway: cars, trucks, motorcycles, farm machinery and tractor-trailors all pass by at an alarming rate for a small little human chugging along on the shoulder. I often feel like I take my life in my hands when I take off on my country highway runs.

Another aspect of running along the highway route is the fact that I pass by farmers fields. I certainly get a unique perspective on the crops and livestock as I pass by. I see chickens, sheep, horses and sometimes wave at the farmers at work in the fields. Sometimes the more curious animals will even come down to the fence by the road to get a better look at me. I try to say hello but rarely get a response.

An Amish Carriage

An Amish Carriage

Which brings me to the most interesting and potentially dangerous aspect of my running along this route. There has always been a population of Amish and Mennonite in our area of the Finger Lakes, but it has been growing in recent years. It’s a common occurrance to see members of those communities at work in thier fields using Clydesales or families riding along the shoulder in thier horse-drawn carriages.

Every time I set out on a run I wonder if this will be the day that I meet one of these carriages up close and personal, unable to hear them approaching because I’m listening to my iPod while running. Will I see the shadow of the carriage bearing down on me? Will I feel the horses’ breath on the back of my neck? Will I be able to get out the way in time?!

I expect this will never happen and that I will have plenty of warning should a horse-drawn carriage ever approach. But it certainly does add a level of excitement to my regular running routine!