Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Tad too Late for Earth Day

Today was an agricultural day. In the wee morning hours Jim and I mixed peat moss, vermiculite and compost into potting soil.(And when I say "Jim and I" I mean mostly Jim.) The ground wriggled and squirmed, still moving because the compost was packed with red worms wondering why they had been dislodged from their bin. Then (and this is the easy part), we planted baby plants: lettuce, beans, three kinds of squash (butternut, crooked neck, and zucchini), green and red peppers, and tomatoes. Yum! The plants are so little and cute and the beds are all neat and tidy and weed and fungus free!

Then I went out to my family ranch where today they are picking avocados in preparation for Cinco de Mayo. It's so beautiful out there with the mountains, the flowers, and the rows of fruit trees. I loved seeing the big bins of fruit. This year the avocado trees are so heavy with fruit that Raul, who does most of the work on the land, had to put in many support boards in to keep the branches from dragging on the ground. Because there was so much fruit on every tree the avocados grew to only about 3/4 the size we normally see. Every farmer has a big crop, so the price will be really low. Great news for the consumer! Not so good for the rancher. My cousin, Bob, made me pick the avocados I brought home with me. The picking pole is about 15 feet long, and it takes a lot of strength and coordination to cut the fruit off. I wasn't even on a ladder and I was so terrible at it that Bob complained that he'd be broke if he had to depend on me to get the fruit off the trees! I, and my painful shoulders, felt a new sympathy for the men who were working in the groves.

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