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C'mon Baby, Light My Fire

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sometimes I have to watch it or this blog starts to sound like this big ad for Bill Thompson. Every home should have one... But he has been doing some really nice things for me lately, and I appreciate it so much. When he torched our yard, I really plotzed. I've been wanting to burn this part of our yard for a long time. On this plot, we've had a variety of "meadows in a can," some more successful than others. One year it was spectacular--red Flanders field poppies, white daisies, blue flax...butterflies bouncing through. Those flowers don't persist, though, and we decided that going native was the thing to do. Enter our friend Bob Kehres at Ohio Prairie Nursery.
Bob is very cool, a man so full of life sparks fly from his eyes. He came down to visit, briefly, just before Easter, and he promised to set us up with just the right kind of seed for this forlorn patch of dry clay/loam. In gratitude, I sent him home with a few orchid babies, hoping it would be a reasonable trade. He recommended that we burn the patch first, pick a nice damp windless day and let 'er rip. Then, Bill should disc it lightly with the tractor, sow the seed, and run over it with the tires to make sure it was worked into the soil. And so, over the next couple of weeks, he did.
Now, it's a bit nervewracking, burning a meadow patch so close to one's house, but we hooked up the long hose and started really small. Soon it became apparent that the problem would be keeping it burning, not having it get away from us. We probably should have done this a little earlier in the season, before the goldenrod and Canada thistle got so well started. Bill was wreathed in smoke, raking away, trying not to let the fire die. This is a man who is dreaming of wildflowers, relighting a fire that wants only to smolder, and trying to make his wife smile.
Chet Baker supervised from a safe distance. He was a little leery of the whole undertaking. He sticks to me like glue when he's leery of something.

A couple of days later, Bill disced the patch, slicing furrows in the earth, and turning it shallowly.
We sowed the seed with a little whirlything.
And then Bill ran over it with the tractor, packing it into the soil. Liam climbed aboard, and I watched my two boys rumble around. And I smiled.


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