Few things are as pleasant to me come spring of the year as the smell of plowed ground. It usually means that if winter isn’t over, it’s about to be.
Usually, I am out and about nearly every day from late February until it’s time to start planting main crops in early May. Never a week goes by during that time frame that someone has not been out plowing the ground for one agricultural purpose or another. I can usually smell the evidence before I see it and the scent, at least to my nose, is as pleasing as that of a field full of flowers.
This year, however, health conditions and COVID-19 have essentially kept me holed up, hunkered down and homebound since late February. I’m pretty sure that I caught whiffs of my neighbor, Billy Hale, 200 yards down the road, plowing in late February and my nose suggested that he has stirred his garden up a couple or three times since then.
In the meantime, by April 1, the prospects of raising a garden at my place were becoming bleaker and bleaker as the purple top nettle grew thicker every day. My brother, Andy, and I, due to COVID-19 considerations, had decided we would wait until early May to reevaluate the situation. My level of frustrated depression was also growing exponentially every day.
Then, on the morning of Saturday, April 4, a fellow I didn’t know pulled into the driveway riding a big Massey Ferguson tractor with dual turning plows on the back. I never got his name at the time but he said he was a neighbor from a couple or three miles up the road and offered to plow our garden for free! Less than 20 minutes later we had over 7,000 square feet of garden turned under and he hollered that he’d be back to disc it, weather permitting, in a couple or three days.
I never even got off porch before he was gone but the sight and smell of that plowed ground made for the best new lease on life that I’ve experienced in many months. Loretta figured out that he was the husband of Judy Begley, one of her acquaintances, and I quickly tracked Judy down to find out that his name was Thomas.
Two days later, their son-in-law, Jimmy Cox, showed up with a disk harrow before I was even out of bed and left us with a garden that is ‘taters, peas, onions and lettuce ready.
Andy and I are trying to figure out how we can best accommodate gardening and stay true to the COVID-19 rules but I am confident that we can pull it off much sooner than we had intended. Still, it absolutely would not be possible had it not been for the amazing kindness of my neighbors, Thomas Begley and Jimmy Cox. If the garden produces, they will be way more than welcome to anything we manage to grow.
In the meantime, here’s another holed up and hunkered down reading recommendation. I’ve been a fan of Scotland Yard mysteries for most of my reading life, but did not get hooked on Ngaio (nigh-oh) Marsh until about 20 years ago.
The first title, A Man Lay Dead, was written in 1934 and still feels as fresh to me as if it was a recent best seller. It is the first title in a 32 novels series featuring gentleman Inspector Roderick Alleyn of the London Metropolitan Police. May I suggest you google the author’s name and print out a list of the titles that started in 1934 and ended in 1982. The last book was published after Ms. Marsh died in early 1982.
I doubt than any series of books has ever had me as deeply “gut hooked” as this one and they will be far more relevant and entertaining if you read the books in the chronological order they were written.
If you are a fan of whodunit murder mysteries, I will gladly share more of my favorites here. I’ve probably read at least a thousand. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ike Adams is a native of Blair Branch in Letcher County now living in the Garrard County community of Paint Lick.