News from the Gentlemens' Club with the Kansas Farmer by Paul Nichol (Sept. 23, 2022)
It has been a good summer for the gardeners. Of course, mine always excels. I expect it’s because of my most diligent studies of the lunar system, the tides and the effects of the moon on a man’s mentality.
I contemplate, compare and often contradict the world’s greatest astrologers and scientists. I can tell you the exact minute when the bore tide reaches New Brunswick. I know when the tides at the Bay of Fundy are at their highest and lowest. And I know exactly when to plant my garden.
Now, you take that Marguerite Thomas. She’s always going on and on about her luscious tomatoes. (Marguerite was never one to hide her tomatoes under a bushel basket, if you get my drift). This May, she stops in to have a chin wag with my better half. She looks at me and says “My goodness you are awfully late planting the garden this year. Are you intending to let it lay fallow? It’s too late now for anything but buckwheat.”
I told her she should know more about the moon before criticizing my expertise. She says she’s never thought the world of me to begin with and if I don’t start showing my wife some more respect, she will personally help her file the divorce papers.
Anyway, here comes the perfect moment in June when the moon rays were striking the earth just right, and I planted my garden into the wee hours of the morning. Well, by July 12 , I had new potatoes as big as any head that Muzzy Lowe ever cut. But it was the cucumbers that were astonishing. The vines grew so fast they pulled the cucumbers over the ground and wore the skin off the bottoms. The only way to pick one was to spear them with a fishhook as they zoomed by.
One morning I heard a terrible bawling from Ross McCall’s barn. Seems the cucumber vines had wrapped themselves around a steer and were carrying it away. Fortunately, that young Peachey lad was there and gave the vine a couple of good clouts with an axe and saved that cattle beast. Good thing for me too, otherwise Ross might have started charging me for his snow blowing this winter.
I also had a bit of trouble with my sweet corn. The other day just when the sun started to warm things up, I heard a terrible rattle which I mistook for machine gun fire. Then I realized it was the sun popping the corn. That darn Mary Ann Thompson at the hardware store had sold me popping corn seeds instead of peaches and cream. I headed out immediately to warn the neighbours.
After the popcorn barrage, the windows had busted out of Audrey Cardiff’s house. Betty Cardiff’s silo was knocked over and Doug Hiller’s place looked like the Juno Beach on D-Day (but luckily the popcorn had missed them altogether).
Anyway, poor Marguerite shows up for supper the other night. All she had to bring was a few paltry handfuls of herbs and weeds. I didn’t wish to gloat, as it was a shot to her pride when her garden failed so miserably this year. But in the spirit of selfless mentorship, I had to remind the poor soul about paying attention to the phases of the moon. She says, “If you say one more word, I’ll show you some phases of a moon you’ll wish you had never seen!”
Sorry now folks, but I have to go harvest the pumpkins with a skid steer and a high-hoe crane.
The Kansas Farmer.