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The Green Wheelbarrow (March 3 Garden Project)

April 8, 2010

Dateline:  April 8, 2010, in an Albany Park Alley

Wherein I did purchase and declare victory over a large pile of dirt.

Well, compost, really, but what’s the difference when it’s a large pile (did I mention that?) and it’s blocking the alley?

After much shoveling and wheelbarrowing, it is now in the garage in a neat pile, looking a little like I buried someone there.  Someone very tall.  Frankenstein, maybe.  But of course, as inert (and heavy, did I mention that?) as this pile of compost is, it is truly alive with nutrients and minerals and all kinds of healthy-soil-stuff that will feed us this year.

Speaking of wheelbarrows.  Have you read this famous poem by William Carlos Williams?

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

It was raining a little today.  Spitting snow at times, actually.  And the chickens were very nearby, clucking away in their brown and blackness.  No white chickens here.  And I did mightily depend on a little green wheelbarrow.  The thing is, this poem sounds so…gentle, so bucolic, so peaceful.  You know, pretty as a picture.  I did very much depend on my little wheelbarrow today.  But we did not have a peaceful day as this lovely little poem might suggest.  No, it was more of a grunting, work-horse kind of day.

As the president of a condo association, one of my main platforms has been to insist on a snow removal service.  I don’t shovel.  Hurts my back, and frankly, my all-wheel-drive car plows through anything so I really don’t value a cleared parking space.  But here I was shoveling today.  Two cubic yards of dirt in the alley is a very immediate and pressing thing.  Ya gotta move it.  Shovelful after tedious shovelful I kept trying to tell myself I now had something in common with rockstar farmers like Terra Brockman and Jenny Borchardt.  It may be early for me to claim that.

I also tried zen thinking, you know, being at one with shovel and dirt.  Mostly though, I looked forward to a hot bath later where I would close my eyes and dream of fresh veggies from our garden.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen Malloy permalink
    April 8, 2010 11:02 pm

    I am, frankly, shocked at how large the pile is. And shocked you moved it all so neatly. In my book, you attained rockstar status today. The future plants in the garden thank you.

  2. John Kessler - dad permalink
    April 9, 2010 12:28 pm

    “Gardening is not a rational act. What matters is the immersion of the hands in the earth…”
    – Margaret Atwood

  3. Melanie permalink
    April 9, 2010 8:35 pm

    I like Grandpa’s idea with the quote thing…so here goes!

    “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”

    – Anatole France

    There is this really cool website with a bunch of short videos that have quotes like these and little stories! I learned about it from my math teacher because he showed us this website this morning! This quote is the one from the short video he showed us!

    Here is the website-! It is super cool…definitely worth checking out! 🙂


  4. April 10, 2010 12:05 am

    Thanks guys! Today we staked out rows in the garden, turned the soil (way to go Marc!) and spread compost on the beds. Tomorrow we stir it together a little and PLANT STUFF! Yipee!

  5. Melanie permalink
    April 11, 2010 2:49 pm

    Yep! No problem!

    What all are you planting? Have you checked out that one website yet?


    • April 11, 2010 3:13 pm

      We’re planting kale, chard, arugula, spinach, mizuna, tatsoi, leeks, garlic, potatoes, peas, carrots, broccoli, fennel, sorrel, lots of lettuce greens and tons of things I can’t even remember right now! When it gets a little warmer, we’ll also plant tomatoes and peppers and eggplant. Yummy stuff! Watch for another post with fun pictures soon…but first I gotta go finish planting today!

  6. Melanie permalink
    April 11, 2010 6:08 pm

    Are you going to get any samples of any of the plants you helped, well, plant??


    • April 11, 2010 11:33 pm

      Melanie, I’ll get a lot more than samples. The idea is that it is a shared garden. It’s in Ellen’s backyard, but there are four of us farming it and we will each take equal shares of the produce.

  7. Melanie permalink
    April 12, 2010 1:15 am

    That’s awesome! I thought that you were just helping garden for Ellen…my bad!



  1. Let The Growing Commence! (March 3 Garden Project) « My Foodshed

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