The great white bump

I’ve been spending a lot of time contemplating my great white bump.

I’ve been spending a lot of time contemplating my great white bump.

Located midpoint between the backdoor and my newly levelled garden spot, the snow covered hump conceals 15 yards of garden soil deposited back in early October. Plenty early enough to get it all spread and ready for my new vegetable plot in the spring, right?

Wrong.

Mere days after the delivery and with two more loads set to follow, winter came early to the Peace Country burying the pile of dirt and all hope of any fall gardening projects or future deliveries with it.

If my mind could move mountains that pile of dirt would have long since scattered itself across the scraped gumbo patch I optimistically refer to as my new vegetable garden. As it is, I can only eye the frozen mound and think about the frantic foot race to come when the Great White Bump finally gives way to a pile of thawing dirt a few months from now.

We say we have four seasons, but it isn’t true. We really just have two. What we generously refer to as spring and fall barely register on the landscape. Last year fall came and went so fast the leaves didn’t even get a chance to change colour. They just went from green to a flash frozen brown. Spring comes and goes with the same warp speed. Or maybe that should be warm speed.

One day everything is white and frozen and the next the landscape is awash in beautiful green. Blink and it’s all too easy to miss out on the entire season.

I love the runoff. The meltwater roaring down the ditch is something I look forward to all winter long. When we get a crazy amount of snow, I comfort myself with the fact that the higher the snowdrifts the better the runoff will be.

One year I went to town early in the morning with snow still on the ground and by the time I returned that evening only a couple washed up roots and water marks told the story of the flood that had coursed across our driveway while I had been away. I was gone for one day when spring came and went. After a long winter’s wait I missed the whole thing.

So for all intents and purposes, our only two seasons are summer and winter, with the latter going on for far longer than necessary. It is more than a little frustrating having all this extra time in the winter but to not be able to get out there and do anything with it, especially knowing how little time there will be in the so-called spring. I have visions of flames shooting out from my wheelbarrow tire as I skid back and forth between the pile of dirt and the new plot.

I have decided that what I need is a plan and to this end I have been furiously burning through the grid paper laying out the vegetable garden in both its old location and — with visions of that flaming wheelbarrow tire — in its new.

As I sit at the table with my winter garden tools in hand — ruler, pencil, eraser and highlighters — I try to look like I’m working, but it’s impossible. Truth is the mapping out of my garden makes me feel like an elephant turned loose in a peanut factory. It’s all I can do to keep myself from trumpeting around the table in joy.

Wait a minute — that’s no good. I don’t like the elephant analogy. Now I have an image of me lumbering around the kitchen trampling chairs and no doubt poor little dimwitted Cosmo in my wake while shooting my arm up and down in the air. Let’s just say that mapping out my garden makes feel very happy. In fact, sometimes I suspect that I might even like planning my garden more than I do the actual gardening.

There are no weeds, drought or slugs on my grid paper garden.

Everything erupts on schedule and hangs heavy with harvest when it says it will. If the tomato seed packet says 62 days, then that means 62 days after the seeds hit the soil I am in my kitchen canning tomato paste, ketchup and spaghetti sauce. No frost, no blight and no moose with the munchies.

And above all, no great white bump.

To link up to Shannon’s new garden blog or to read past columns visit www.shannonmckinnon.com

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