Thursday, July 12

Wild Mondarda

For the past two days I haven't gotten out into the garden at all. This morning when I walked out to the car I noticed a lavender blur in a place I wasn't expecting one.

It was wild monarda, harvested from a field behind the Subway off I35 in Moose Lake two or three years ago, thought dead and gone lo these many years. I don't understand it, but I like it! I'm racking my brains to think if I've had other, more recent, Monarda adventures. This was growing in my brush pile, so it hasn't been watered all year. One tough plant! I'm going to transplant it to the front slope, which gets hot afternoon sun.

On a related topic: this is the first year we've had more raspberries than we can eat. I should harvest some. Right after the rhubarb, which should have been cut months ago. And I should really fertilize the roses, they should have been fertilized twice already.

This reminds me of a wonderful essay by T. B. White. I'll see if I can scan it and post it here. It's a long list of "I should" chores for his farm, with all the accompanying "but before that I need to" and "and as long as I'm doing that I should. . . " It ends "but now it's 4:00 in the afternoon so I think I'll finish this essay and go have supper."

Dale and Jim Ed read it on the Morning Program years ago for Labor Day (Labor=work=chores.) You could hear their voices grow embarassed as the essay went on and on, sounding longer to them than it had in their estimation, and I think they probably consider it one of their less successful moments. I loved it and went on a leisurely search for it that involved skimming many of White's books over the course of 5-8 years.

I finally found it while subbing in the Central Minneapolis Public Library ("downtown") Literature and Language Department with the help of a very experienced and wonderful librarian and a paper card catalog! The card catalog was no longer being maintained even at the time, and I don't know if it made the transition to the new building. On-line cataloging has improved and if the book were to be cataloged today it might, repeat might, have a list of all the essays. It's a good possibility. But of course, the book won't be re-cataloged, and in most libraries it wouldn't even still be held. In fact, it might have been weeded in the Minneapolis system, too. I copied the essay and I don't know if I even noted the name of the book. One small look at the inner workings, and trade-offs, of deciding what to keep and how to access it.

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