Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New ground

Summer vacations on my grandparents farm in rural West Tennessee is all that heaven needs to be. If I have trouble sleeping, I place myself on my grandfather's 8N Ford tractor or shelling corn with the old crank sheller in the corn crib.

The lexicon of the farm was mysterious to a grade-school boy. I thought "ros'nears" was a type of delicious corn on the cob. I had no idea it was simply "roasting ears." We got "light bread" at the store, but it palled in comparison to "cracklin' bread." And always a big discussion was what to plant on the "new ground."

"New ground" could be 15 years old. It simply meant the latest piece of land to be cleared for planting. It was always the "new ground" until another plot was cleared. Clearing meant pulling stumps, tearing out surface roots and leveling the land so water wouldn't collect in low spots.

I finally have my "new ground." The cleared area in the foreground is where the food garden and berry patch will be. Going up the hill will be the orchard, a perfect north-facing slope. The line of 6 or so tall trees to the middle left are productive walnut trees. The area of the photo is about 2.5 acres.

It took 10 or so hours on the tractor to level the ground. I was hoping I wouldn't have to use a turning plow on the soil, but the ground is badly compacted. (Any neighbors out there volunteer their plow?) I finished the clearing just before the violent weather front came through today. It was nice to sit on the porch and watch the rain fall on the "new ground."

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