Décima 8/4/2020

blue windmill2

 

Day after day the clear well water flow,
Down through a pipe to old rusted tin trough.
That farms water pump cycles on and off,
As the windmill turns and prairie breeze blow.
Pumping cold water from steel shaft below,
That’s drilled two hundred feet through sand and rock,
Bringing precious water for farm and stock.
The windmill blades keep turning round and round,
Driving old gears whose iron teeth have been ground,
Rusted old bearings that sing round the clock.

©2020 cj holm

Words and image by CJ Holm
“Décima” (also known as Espinel)is a Spanish style or form of musical poetry that contains 10 lines of eight syllables. The style has a rhyming pattern of abbaaccddc. Sometimes you break the stanza up in abba/accddc. The abba/accddc requires either a period or semicolon after the fourth line break.

A Weed To Avoid!

parsnip

Wild Parsnip

In my recreated one-acre meadow, wildflowers grow. Unfortunately among them are a few wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) plants. Wild Parsnip is a non-native invasive plant, spreading in ditches now in Minnesota. It has clusters of small yellow flowers and grows between 4’ – 6’ tall.

It looks pretty from a distance but… According to the Ohio State University Extension Service; “Severe blistering can occur if chemicals in the plant juices (furanocoumarins (= furocoumarins)) come in contact with skin and the skin is then exposed to sunlight; specifically ultraviolet light. The effect is called phytophotodermatitis (a.k.a. Berloque dermatitis) and burn-like symptoms as well as skin discoloration may last for several months. Always wear gloves and protective clothing if you find yourself working around this weed!” Two years ago I had a friend that tangled with this plant and a day later blistering 3rd-degree burns spread up and down his arms.

I dispatched the weed with my nuclear weapon equivalent, a liberal application of Liberty Herbicide. Liberty is a fast action contact killer that, once dry, does not travel to other areas. It works best in the dry heat of July and August.

While I can tolerate some Water Hemp, Thistles, and even some Stinging Nettle, Wild Parsnip will not be welcome in my garden.

Season’s Best

As I begin the work of putting the vegetable garden to bed, I found one last red tomato hidden in the vines. While I have gathered dozens of Big Boys, Celebrities and Big Beef Tomatoes already this fall, this bonus straggler will be featured in my lunch today, for nothing tastes better than a tomato freshly picked from the garden.

The last tomato
clinging to a wilted vine
is season’s best pick

                     -cj holm

My Prairie Garden

This is the second year of my one acre prairie restoration project I have been working on in my yard. Last year’s step one was to cut down weeds and then break the soil to plant a Minnesota blend of prairie grass and wild flowers. This year will involve hand weeding and removing any noxious weeds (like ragweed and Canadian thistle) and allowing the grasses and wild flowers to gain a hold on the land.

So far I have noticed 4-5 different varieties of grasses along with some annual flowers that have sprouted. I am expecting some perennials and bi-annuals to begin showing up this fall for next year’s flowering.

I am expecting the garden to start maturing in 3-5 years.

Already I have noticed more birds and butterflies in the area along with a number of rabbits and critters to take advantage of the tall cover.

This fall I will add some small berry and honey suckle bushes to attract even more wildlife.

Below are a few pictures from my new prairie garden.

Prairie 2

7/2/2019 Wild Yarrow

7/2/2019 Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta)

7/2/2019 Black Eyed Susan

Prairie 6

7/2/2019 Native Grasses

Prairie 5

7/2/2019 Foxtail

Prairie 4

7/2/2019 Switchgrass

Prairie 3

7/2/2019 Foxtail

In The Orchard

Two years ago I planted a number of apple trees. During this last winter, a strong wind snapped off the top off one of the trees. This spring I noticed new growth coming from that broken sapling, just above the hybrid’s graft.

Grace Tanka

5/7/5 7/7

Damaged apple tree
Buds above the grower’s graft
Begins life again

Life gives some a second chance
When the sapling’s roots are strong

-CJ Holm