It was a simple enough idea. Buy a long piece of galvanized hog-wire fencing and bend it into an arch between vegetable beds; train squash plants on it. It will get the squashes off the ground and look super cool too. Vertical gardening is an excellent use of available space even for those of us without a lot of verticality. I assume I will be able to reach any vegetables on the arch, but if not, I do live with a reacher-person, a navigator of tall shelves. I call him my Extend-A-Dave.
I was all set. I you-tubed the straightforward method of achieving an arch. The only hangup was the matter of getting a sixteen-foot length of stout fencing home.
My friend Margo said I could use her truck. But in the middle of the night I visualized getting it scratched up. Or plowing it into something scrapey. I dithered. Then it occurred to me: our old Ford 150 is still around the corner. It can’t get any scratcheder. I gave it to our neighbor Steve for free in exchange for being able to use it once or twice a year. It’s been three years and I’ve borrowed it once. I felt like I still had some credit on my account.
The Ford is 36 years old but it never once aspired to the gravitas of our ‘69 Cornbinder. “Gravitas” is from the Latin for “one more ton of gravel than you have any business driving home.” That was one giant lead-bellied armadillo of a truck.
Anyway, Steve said sure, I could take the Ford. He’d replaced the starter and it works pretty good most of the time now. Sure enough, it started, reluctantly, but then drove like a champ once it got going. Which is good, because the one time I did borrow it, it stranded me cold in the bowels of the city dump and ten underpaid laborers had to push it uphill to get it out of their way.
The PTSD from that incident kicked in pretty strong but after about fifteen miles during which nothing awful happened I began to ease up my grip on the steering wheel. It was a ways out to the farm store that I’d called the week before, when they said they have “lots” of these so-called 16-foot cattle panels. Which I imagine they did, then. On this day, they had none.
So I’d used up all of my gumption and trepidation and done nothing but run through twenty bucks of gas.
Maybe next year, I said to myself, defeated. But the next morning I called around and found another farm store that claimed to have cattle panels right now. I drove all the way out and they totally did.
These stores are marvelous. I wanted to walk through every aisle. There had to be gobs of things I didn’t know I needed in there. Straw, tools, bondage supplies. The little girl at the checkout counter was knowledgable. “I’d like to get a cattle panel,” I told her, fairly chuffed about knowing the terminology, “and four T…four T…four T-thingies.”
“T-posts?” she said, smiling. She is used to people coming up to the counter and saying “I’ll take twenty cattle panels, eighty T-posts, a box of connectors and wire clips, a castrating plier, fifty pounds of beet pulp pellets, a kid puller, and, oh, throw in a bag of them insemination sheaths—unslit,” and she’s got it all totted up pronto. “Will there be anything else?” she said, still smiling.
I looked around the store longingly. She knew I didn’t have anything in mind but my thought balloon was saying “maybe a box of tiny chickies?”
“That’ll do it,” I said.
I pulled the truck around to the spot where they promised someone else would load up the panel. Someone did. “Should it be tied in?” I asked. “Probably a good idea,” the young man said. “You got anything to tie with?”
I do. “I’m not good with knots, though,” I said, working the old-lady angle as hard as I could.
“Basic square knot should do ya,” he said, slapping the side of the truck and walking away.
Should’ve used the titties angle.
Where is the sexism when ya really need it?
Well, she said the dude was a “young man.” guys aren’t taught little courtesies anymore, mainly because women back in the day said “Whoa, there! We can do it ourselves!” Even when it came to stuff like opening doors for other people (which I do, whether the person is male or female, old or young. You don’t just breeze through a door when someone is standing right behind you, without at least holding it open for them!) It’s not about sexism. It’s about courtesy. But kids aren’t taught that anymore. My husband works in a restaurant. Young people don’t even know how to set a table. Hell, they either eat on the run in their car, or over the sink, so they don’t have to clean a plate. Women stopped teaching their progeny to cook, because they “didn’t want their daughters chained to a stove.” Well, here’s a radical thought: teach your daughters to cook…AND your sons! Everyone needs certain skills to make it on their own, and buying and preparing basic food should be one of them. A steady diet of take-out will quickly make a person unhealthy and fat. Just watch Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me.
Yes, i got off on a tangent. As I am wont to do.
The young folks in this town (35 miles NE of SF) too are very well-mannered. I hold doors for people out of courtesy, except as regards my wife — for her I hold the door and let her go through first, because I have learned that if she’s not ahead of me where I can see her, I can, at any moment, turn around and be unable to find her at all. But really, that was years ago. Now we’re both so slow that neither can get out of the other’s sight in a reasonable interval.
My own observation is that the kids (that’s everyone from about 15-50) today are in really great shape. Superb young people who have a lot to teach me and are so courteous that my only objection is I feel horribly vulgar in comparison. Maybe that’s just Portland? (This store was in Vancouver WA! Where Portland Republicans go to escape property taxes.)
Portland certainly seems vastly different than Delaware.
I plan on making similar arches to protect my vegetables if they decide to sprout and grow, but mine need protection from possums, so I’ll be using a smaller mesh size.
Yeah, these don’t protect anything from anything. I just like the way arches look.
I dropped out of college in ’81 and went to work in a lumberyard for 6 years (before my dentist convinced me to quit & finish school). But customers with trucks were treated like VIPs! You wouldn’t believe the dipshits that pulled up in something like a Chevy Vega asking for a trunkful of Sakrete or Z-Brick, and 10 sheets of paneling tied down to their roof! We secured every load, I cannot imagine leaving it up to the customer. Different times!
Do comments need approval before they appear? Mine isn’t showing. Has Murr made this a womens-only site? Fine, I’ll begin commenting using my female profile, Margot Kidding!
Love it! No, they do not need approval. And two of yours showed up. You had more?
My favorite line…“Gravitas” is from the Latin for “one more ton of gravel than you have any business driving home.”
I stand by that. Or, in the case of the Cornbinder, a little removed from that.
“the titties angle” — Isn’t that the only thing in the hardware store that’s worse than an underwire?
No. The worst thing in a hardware store (I’m thinkin’ Home Depot or Lowes) is the fact that they are SO HUGE, and my knee fucking hurts from arthritis, that I just look around for a taxi. I’d much rather go to a local, smaller hardware store (we currently have TWO in our area) even if it costs more, just so I don’t have to walk across the ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE STORE!! (Yes, I am having a Lewis Black moment.)
Why don’t whitey tighties have an underwire?
For my money, the things a tightly whitey underwire would lift and support I’d rather have tucked away from damaging events. However, I have seen (not experienced) situations where “lift and support” enhancements offer valued advertisements.
Well, guys LIKE to look at tits that are “uplifted” with an underwire bra under a low V-neck top. But WHO are these guys who send pictures of their dicks to women??? Do they actually think we like to look at those things? Personally, I’m like… yeah, that’s part of your anatomy all right. I think women tend to OVERLOOK guys’ dicks rather than actually LOOK at them. Basically, the cock is just an oversized clitoris: something that guys tend to overlook in women.
How did we get from farm equipment to sex? Ah… who cares? If you have a dirty mind, any topic is more fun.
I just read (in Vagina Obscura, thank you Linder!) that what most people call the clitoris is just the teeny tip of a much larger organ that wraps around a lot of the pelvic area and might very well be bigger than a penis, if less showy.
Ok, first of all, don’t take me into a farm store unless you want to be there for a while, unless I’m in a hurry, and damn, then everyone get out of my way.
Second, I’ve seen folks get freaking nasty at the folks who try to help tie down cattle/hog/fencing panels. I wouldn’t help, either. Not worth the attitude nor the liability risk. They’ve always been really nice about tying mine down for me.
Third-ish, these panels DO offer some protection in the garden from gnawing little critters. None of my cucumbers, pumpkins, nor cantaloupes growing up these ever get gnawed on, compared to the ones at soil-level, even in raised beds.
That’s your morning farm report. Yer welcome.
I cannot go into or even think of a farm store without thinking of you, Kat. Actually that was one of the things I was hoping for with the arch, now that I think of it–that the squirrels would leave those squashes alone, even though they could still reach them easily enough. I noticed that the squashes on the ground get divoted a lot faster than the ones that hang off the raised bed. Huh. I couldn’t imagine getting huffy about someone helping me tie down a load and then I realized–THOSE people have shiny expensive trucks with bedliners! Those are the people who used to borrow OUR truck if they actually needed to haul anything!
THOSE people. Exactly 🙂