The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Vicki Sternfeld-Rossi
the Times 

A tree grows in Waitsburg (maybe)


April 30, 2020

We planted trees today, three apple and one Chinese persimmon. More flora and fauna to impatiently watch and wait, along with my vegetables and herbs. As I mentioned last week, I am my father’s daughter, no patience! From my mother, I inherited her stellar sense of direction, her need to have a fully stocked pantry with backups for everything and unfortunately, her “black thumb.” So, not only am I impatient, I am not very optimistic about a large bounty.

About two weeks ago we started planting an array of seeds and starter plants. Every morning I go out and wander through the planters, to see if there are any sprouts, and if the starts are still alive. Since the first batch of basil didn’t make it, new basil has been planted, but I have some on my windowsill as potential replacement plants (Mom’s backup mentality). I think I see some swiss chard sprouts, but they could be weeds, so I’m keeping a close eye on them. I did see some radish sprouts. The seed packet said to “thin them out,” but I can’t bring myself to pull any out, I know I’ll pull the one with the best potential and I’ll wind up with none.

We planted 45-day cabbage! Is there a guarantee? I marked on my calendar when I can expect to be making coleslaw, it’s supposedly May 1. Not looking promising right now.

I was recently gifted at least one ton of daylilies (thank you Kate), I have planted some in the front yard and at least ½ of the ton in the backyard. In order to plant in the back, I had to clear weeds and various other scrap buried in the dirt patch. I found so many rusty tools, nails, wood, tiles and shingles, we can probably build another house. In one hole, I found a Styrofoam cooler (whole), huge metal chain, beer bottles, plastic bags from Costco size paper towels and toilet paper, baby bottles, diaper bags—I started getting worried, for sure I thought I’d be calling the coroner’s office.

Being the klutz that I am, I tripped and fell over the long winding roots of the crab grass numerous times. But I did find that there is a benefit to being clumsy, I am always up to date on my tetanus shots. Each emergency room trip, they give me another shot, whether I need it or not. For me, it’s preventative, I will never have lockjaw!

I was gifted a treasure trove of seeds from my neighbor Deb, both vegetables and flowers. The plan is to plant the flowers in the front yard, which will require me to again dig out long strands of crab grass and see what other treasure lie beneath the dirt and deep roots.

I am getting to be a professional at wielding a pickax. If Daniel and I break up again, maybe I will go on My profile will read: Corporate insurance broker, loves tennis, running, wine, opera, Motown, Bluegrass and can wield a pickax with the best!

While on my dog-walk outing today, I realized my neighbor’s apple tree is filled with an enormous amount of the most beautiful blossoms. I picked a small branch and brought it back to our new trees (3’ sticks right now). I’m hoping it’s an inspiration, and our trees will actually produce an apple before I’m too old to eat it, or it has to be made into applesauce for me.

The irony is, my plants are growing slowly, yet my grey hairs seems to be growing faster than ever. Nature has a sense of humor for sure!


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