Sunday, December 5, 2010
Over the River and Through the Wood
Over the river, and through the wood,
To Cara and Mika’s house I go;
The Tacoma almost knows the way
Through the flakes of showering snow.
Over the river, and through the wood—
Oh, how the wind blows hard!
It shakes my truck and makes me slow,
As I drive on to deliver the chard.
As I looked at our Swiss chard this morning, I noted that many of the larger leaves were beginning to wilt from the consistent, mid-20s nighttime temperatures. The three-day forecast calls for continuing strong winds with highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s.
So I decided to cut chard this morning. Niece Cara had asked for some so she can try a new recipe, so I cut her the best of the remaining crop, enough to fill a plastic shopping bag.
Chard this year has been a garden stand out. The seed was Burpee’s Ruby Red Swiss Chard. It grew vigorously after early spring planting, right through our extra-hot summer, and past our hard fall frosts. Leaves are large, a deep bronze-green with bright-red stems. I cut enough for a side dish for our Thanksgiving feast, and it continues to grow slowly into December.
But one early morning soon, as the temperature dips to 20 or below, the ten plants will succumb, so better to cut it now, I decided, than to lose all. If the plants survive until Christmas, perhaps I’ll be able to cut enough for another mess.
As I got out of my cab and grabbed the bag of chard, I saw three-year-old Liam smiling through a nearby window. Before I got to the door, he and twin brother, Beck, had it open and were shouting a duet, “Uncle Bob, Uncle Bob, Uncle Bob.”
“Lucky boys,” I said. “I’ve brought you some chard for supper.”
The boys are tolerant of their great-uncle, but seemed unimpressed.
“We’ve just come inside,” said their dad. “What were we playing outside, Liam—with sticks?”
“Lacrosse?” I teased these Canadian-Americans.
“Hock-key,” Liam answered.
Ho, ho, ho, I felt like shouting, as I handed over the sack of green and red chard.
Over the river, and through the wood … maybe this is the last of the chard.