Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Breaking the Land
This is how our North Toronto backyard looked a few weeks ago and how it looks now.
Yesterday, I worked the land as a clodbanger.
What is a clodbanger, you ask? A clodbanger
1) picks up gobs of just-tilled sod
2) bangs it ruthlessly on the ground to shake out precious topsoil and wormy-things
3) whips the ragged clump into the wheelbarrow
If the idea of clodbanging gets you excited, too, hurry and call the YoungUrbanFarmers and maybe they can till you come clods. The group is taking over our back yard and converting it into a veggie garden. The harvest from their pool of gardens will be split among shareholders in the CSA -- the community-shared agriculture project. I volunteer as much I want to. I get a share. I get a pretty, luscious garden rich in vitamins and minerals!
Wait. A confession: I've been nervous about giving the YoungUrbanFarmers run of our backyard. My husband swallowed and kept his mouth shut, except for an off-handed justification about less lawn mowing this summer. But are the YoungUrbanFarmers more naive and greener than a spring onion? Veggie gardening is grueling. My parents grew a bountiful plot where I grew up in Perth County and I know what's involved. Will our backyard soon become a scrawl of abandoned, half-tilled earth when the YoungUrbanFarmers realize what in God's name they've taken on and make a run for Starbucks?
At least I like clodbanging, especially with the volunteer I worked with yesterday, a woman from Australia who's also a writer. Between wheelbarrow trips to the compost pile, she told me about joining the Three Day Novel Contest, a challenge more daunting than a vegetable garden. You don't really get to know a person until you bang clods together.
After the rototiller quieted and the last shovel was tossed into the shed late yesterday afternoon, I surveyed the luscious rectangle of clawed earth. I don't think it was just because of the freak warmth of the day, or the thanks my muscles were sending for not clodbanging anymore. My fears were forgotten and I felt like Maria, twirling on the Swiss Alps. My garden is alive.