Turned On Their Platoon

We had another freeze last night, and when I looked at our temps while driving to office, it registered 25 degrees. I’m sure nearly all the bugs got zapped with our freeze, so hopefully those nasty jiggers won’t be bothering me anymore.

I spent a good three hours getting some real estate work done, and after I had my calls made, emails sent and docs reviewed, I changed my clothes and headed out for good long day of working out doors. I did dress warm enough, but by the time the sun had risen high, I had to take my jacket off because I was getting over-heated.

The first order of my day, was to get a number of garbage bags filled with remnants of those many hours of week-end work on a nasty project, loaded in a pick-up and then delivered to our landfill. I very much hate going, and mostly because of the stench that fills the air, and no matter how short a time I’m there, the smell seems to soak into my clothing. Oh well, I got it all where it needed to be, and feeling all the better it’s gone for good.

My second little project, was to get the German garlic planted I ordered months ago which came in the mail this week, and this time around I made sure I had the soil properly prepared, along with closely following the planting instructions.

A number of years ago, I had friends who lived in Manly, and every year they’d have the most stunning garden that was nearly the size of a town lot. What I admired the most about their gardening was the year-over-year garlic crop they’d have which was quite remarkable. Unfortunately, I never asked them how they managed to do it, and since they’re both long-deceased, their secret was buried with them.

Since I do like to use garlic when cooking, I did some research on the various types, along with ways in which it’s planted and harvested, and since I felt pretty confident I’d get it right this time, I went ahead and ordered a pound of the German variety, so today was the beginning of my journey.

After getting the soil prepped, I planted each clove at the prescribed depth, and then covered them with dirt. I then topped the row with some dried grass I’d been saving, and then spread over that grass, some finely ground mulch I also was saving from a deciduous stump that was ground, just so that dried grass would stay in place over the winter. After getting a good look at what I’d done, I dare say I couldn’t have followed those instructions more carefully. The garlic appeared very healthy, so I’m going to be looking forward to all sixty of them surviving and supplying me with some really big stiff-necked bulbs.

If I’d known those cloves were going to be so large, I would’ve ordered two pounds instead of one because my plan was to have two rows, but only ended up with one. Oh well, my garlic growing is a virgin voyage this year, so if they do well, I’ll be prepared for the following year. You can be sure I’ll be gifting a few bulbs of garlic next year because I couldn’t possibly consume that many cloves.

What really prompted me to plant garlic this Fall, was knowing over 80% of the garlic that’s being sold world-wide, is grown in China, and Heaven only knows what types of soil contaminates their garlic is being grown in. When looking at the bulbs I received, and comparing them with what I purchase in the store, there’s definitely a huge difference. Now I know why the garlic being sold in farmers markets is so much more expensive. MY taste-testing after they’re harvested, will definitely be my confirmation of home-grown garlic over store-bought.

After getting my garlic in the ground, I headed out to start gathering more walnuts that were free for the taking. I’d say the time spent out there was more like a vacation from the hustle and bustle of the City, than that time-consuming foraging for nuts in the grass. By the time I was finished, I looked at the numbers and said to myself, “I’m gonna have way more nuts to crack this year than last.” Of course once I get started cracking them whenever my time permits, it’s really not that much of a daunting task, and especially now that I have my special way of getting them fully cracked without all that waste people are left with, and mostly due to the way in which most attack them. Since the owner wasn’t home, I sent him a text message telling him I’d been there, along with a big “Thank You!” If I have time tomorrow, I’ll work on getting them shelled, washed and laid-out with the rest of them which are now drying.

Upon return to office, I changed my clothes, checked for messages, and then sat down at my piano and practiced tomorrow’s hymns for about a half hour, along with two semi-difficult pieces I’m working on getting cracked. I did mention to a colleague of mine who also plays an instrument, my having found my sight-reading skills getting noticeably better. Of course his knee-jerk response was, “Has anyone ever told you that practice makes perfect?” Yes, he’s one of those dark-humored chaps who likes to over-state the obvious. We all know the type. Right?

I happened to hear that there was a mass shooting at one of those Russian training camps near Ukraine’s border where two conscripts turned on their platoon and started shooting. I’m sure that little incident is going to resonate all over the news feeds. They must’ve been so fearful of being killed by the Ukrainians, that they decided to take their dirt naps more sooner than later. Yes, it’s regrettable, but in the end, all Putin’s doing.

Tonight’s One-liner is: Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.

Joe Chodur

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