Beautiful Storms

The wind is screaming when I awake
Raging through the tiny holes of the
Window screen above my head and
Bursting cold against my skin
 
I close my eyes to the trickle of water
Splashing leaves, petals, dirt
Sigh and relax as the sound grows
To pouring, pounding and deafening
 
Later I am walking in dark blue haze
Toward a smiling face when
The sky flashes on its light and
Lightning stems across the heavens –
A firework.
 
We have had a couple of storms such as these this week on the farm, which thrills, saddens and awes me all at once. The thrill and awe comes from the beauty of it all – the way the world suddenly turns bright, and the grass lime green – but the distress comes from the knowledge that these rains will do us no good.

When Daddy sat us down early Monday morning for his weekly talk, in front of the chalkboard on which he had written down all of the jobs that needed to get done this week, he stressed that he hoped the soil would dry out so that he could get more seeds in the ground and tackle the ever-increasing weeds. “This week is crucial for weeding,” he explained seriously, “The Great Garlic Harvest is in a couple of weeks and during that time we won’t have any time to weed. This is the time of the year that weeds grow the fastest, so we need to tackle them now before it is too late.”
Rain pounded against the shed roof as he said this, though, a sore reminder of the obstacles we faced. Weeding is especially difficult in muddy or rainy conditions because mud sticks to fingers, hand hoes and clothes so that pulling out weeds takes expert precision and hard work. To make matters worse, if a weed is pulled but accidentally left in the bed, it might re-root because of the wet condition.

Later that afternoon, when a clear blue sky overtook the dark, furious one, we spent some gruesome, exhausting hours weeding the basil and carrot beds. The carrots were by far the worst – there were inch deep, lukewarm puddles in the aisles, and because I had forgotten, stupidly, to wear my rain boots and pants, I was in for some wet work. Finally, I decided to take off my shoes, socks, sombrero and long sleeved shirt so that I was working in a tank top, wading with bare feet. Still, my jeans were soaked and covered in heavy mud, and I had lost my hand hoe in the puddles by the time, hours and hours later, Val and I finally finished the bed.

With Tuesday came another raging storm and rains after the CSA harvest concluded. Thus, Wednesday morning had to be spent doing odds and ends in the greenhouses yet again, pulling the rest of the carrots for Market and mulching over where the aisles were now free of vegetables, so that the only rows left were lined with tomato, eggplant and pepper plants – and golden brown mulch covered the entirety of the greenhouses.

The exciting thing about the rains is that they have helped germinate all of the seeds from our most recent planting marathon – summer squash, watermelon, melon, cucumbers, winter squash, corn, beans, lettuce, beets, carrots and more are sprouting up here and there. But to that, too, is a downside – it is necessary now to thin and hoe these summer crops, but the muddy soil makes it impossible.

Though the summer storms are in all ways alluring and rains lulling, the Brockman clan and farm hands wish, again, for dry, clear-skied days.

Perhaps this calls for some anti-rain dances…

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