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The Theoretical Farmer's Almanack

TRF Cullers head shotBroadway, Virginia–December 19th –Sunny and 39 degrees.

They that study much ought not to eat so much as those what work hard; their digestion being not so good. – Benjamin Franklin, from Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1742

Spent awhile looking over the weeds in the garden. They’re dried up now, sort of like snake skins all brittle and crackly. Weeds don’t look so bad in the winter; nothing is growing anyway, so they fit in with the general brownness of everything else. Only the mint and the strawberry plants insist on staying green. Seems like they’re waging a personal war on drabness and decay. I love the sturdiness and steadfastness of herbs. They eventually become dormant, of course – wait underground as patient as pupas until it’s time to push their way up through the stubborn sod. They perform this natural miracle every year with no coaxing, pampering or assistance from me or from my theoretical gardening.

Guess the seed catalogues will soon be filling the mailbox. Long about the middle of January those glossy pictures tantalize me into spending ‘way more money than my budget allows. If I would plan ahead, I could possibly get somebody to fill my stocking with a few of these heirloom treasures. But forward thinking and theoretical farming don’t usually coexist, especially in my little brain.

Speaking of stockings and gifts, I guess I should be picking up some last minute trinkets today instead of waxing philosophical about weeds and seeds. Edna Smith invited me over for coffee this morning, and you could hardly walk through her living room for the piles of presents stacked in every corner. She buys everybody over at the Farm Bureau a fancy treat; rumor has it she even takes a box of stuff over to the men who have been working on the Kingsley bridge for the past two years. (Why it’s taking twelve men two years to replace a couple of broken slats is beyond me!) At any rate, she has a generous, if nosey, spirit. She tried her best to pry some gossip out of me this morning – something about the town librarian shooting squirrels illegally – but I remained tight-lipped as usual. You’d think she would soon give up and stop trying to pull bits of information from my stubborn head. Just between you and me, I think the scholarly Miss Caraway might have blasted a few grey squirrels yesterday, but the varmints insisted on raiding her bird feeders. She kept trying to get Marve down at the hardware store to order some live traps for her, but he just laughed. Told her that nobody in their right mind traps squirrels alive. Guess she just got fed up with the whole situation. But who am I to judge or gossip? I have enough to do just fighting the weeds in my own garden.

Well, I must stop this scribbling for now. I hear the church bells clanging the noon hour. I’ll catch up with you next week. Until then, keep the tractors oiled and the weeds under control.