“I was sitting on the deck of my house when I noticed the branches of one of my fruit trees was shaking,” Reede Brown said. ”Pretty soon I saw four long black legs beneath it. Then the moose came around the tree showing his huge antlers. He ambled over to my plum tree and ate some of them. He tried another tree then drank from the bucket of water I have for my dog.” Brown said the moose moseyed on and disappeared over the horizon.
Now, wait a minute, you mean he didn’t even say “Hi” or “Thank you”? You’d think he could at least leave a tip. Obviously this moose had been eating at this rural restaurant for some time. Let’s hope he doesn’t bring along his cousins next time.
Brown has been gardening all his life. This year’s garden is 70 by 190 feet. “I try to keep up with it,” he said. He hoes down a long row and looks back only to find the morning glory weed has popped up again where he has just hoed. Ah yes, the morning glory, the scourge of all gardeners. Who is the culprit that brought it to America? Was it the birds?
Brown grows lots of flowers. The dahlias assume their importance over the smaller flowers. Brown says he has to deadhead them every day or they will quit blooming. They do well until the frost comes. He used to grow them when he lived in Olympia but they actually do better here. Brown has always liked to grow gladiolas. Guess how many bulbs he started this year? Five hundred. But, he said the cold wet spring slowed everything down.
Brown likes to grow two kinds of corn that will ripen at different times. At least that’s what they’re supposed to do. With the weather we had Brown’s corn all ripened at the same time because of the heat. Then the birds stripped the cobs. How about his pear trees? He garnered a whopping two dozen pears from two trees. Oh well, he said it was a good year for pumpkins and squash. He said the squash kept putting out more vines and he had to keep chopping them back. The Hubbard squash, a large variety for winter use, outdid itself by growing 3 feet long. Hoping to get some lima beans Brown planted two rows and he said, “Not one single bean came up.” The same thing happened with the zucchini. Is he discouraged? No. He said, “Next spring I’ll get the urge to plant again.”
Brown displayed his produce at a farmer’s market in Spokane. Next to him was a lady who had 40 vases of flowers. Brown said to her, “How did you arrange all these flowers? “ She said, “Hours and hours and hours!”
Every year Brown shares his potato bounty with his family. He decided this year to change the rules a bit. He told them, “We’re going to have a spud digging party.” Everybody got a shovel and dug their own potatoes. Way to go, Reede. Now, if you can domesticate that hungry moose maybe he can use his antlers to dig the morning glory weeds from your garden.
Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.