Friday, October 21, 2016

Garlic - A New Start

For the past 20 years or so we've planted garlic at my parent's place, in the garden patch west of the 1760s saltbox that we grew up in. Each October Dad disced the field, added composted manure, staked out the rows with a metal post and baling twine, and brought several bales of straw from a local farmer. Mom helped break up the garlic bulbs and some years helped with the planting. In recent years she watched us from a chair at the end of the rows.

Last October Dad did not join us in the garlic planting. At age 93, his once strong body and mind was failing him. A month after we planted that garlic he passed away peacefully during the night. He was in his own home and bed, in the parlor that looked out onto the garlic garden.

This past year was dry, especially dry in South Amherst where the garlic grew. By the time we harvested the crop in July, Mom had passed away and the garlic patch was dusty. The crop was much reduced in number and size. Without Mom and Dad there we visited rarely and without their presence it seemed fitting somehow that the garlic would succumb too. We rent the saltbox now and visit rarely, so the garlic patch is now barren.

This October I'm starting anew with a garlic planting in our New Hampshire garden. I ordered new seed from Fedco in Maine: Russian Red and German X-Hardy. On a beautiful fall morning this week I planted 265 cloves in 5 rows. It was bittersweet doing it on my own, without Dad's straight rows and Mom's observant eye on the activities. In November I will spread some of their ashes on the garlic bed. Then I'll feel that the transition to a new garlic tradition is complete.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Stunning Fall Colors

Who said the drought would cause autumn colors to be subdued this year? Not true.

We hiked to the top of Mt. Chocorua today via the Champney Falls Trail. Maples and birches were brilliant in oranges, yellows, and reds set amongst the dark green of spruce and fir. Mountain ash was stunning as were the alpine flowers and shrubs along the trail. A few pictures highlight our hike, although wish I could make a gift box of the clear air, balsam smells, scenic vistas, and hiking experience and send to friends and family, especially those in India.
View of Chocorua from Middle Sister