The X-Country Road and Farm Adventure Fun(d) Drive is booming! We're twelve days deep, here in pledge central, i.e. in my cluttered little bedroom-slash-office, and we've already crossed the half-way mark, thanks to about 25 generous donors. The tech guru behind Flying Object converted my "tank you" postcard sketch into an Adobe Illustrator file yesterday, and so, in about ten days, that sucker will fly back to Flying Object as a couple tacky polymer plates. They'll literally be tacky so that we can stick them onto the Vandercook letterpress, print them with red and black inks on yellow postcard stock paper, and load them into my X-Country station wagon. I'm compiling addresses and planning my route, but it's not all pledge-logistics around here. Sure, the floor sweeping robot, Dennis, is still zooming around the switchboard, using his little hose attachment to clean the lights, and sure the odious business of being forced to fire Mike Velasquez for "sleeping" on the job is still a wound that smarts, but there's more to life than all of this. There's a mini farm to be taken care of, and it's the balancing act between taking care of a farm and taking care of one's letters that's behind this whole trip anyway. This is peak seed-saving season! Well, it's about to be, anyway.
Pretty soon, drying seed heads like these will drape from the walls of my apartment. During seed-saving season, plates and jars abound, all sorts of plates with all sorts of seeds on them and all the little jars I can get my mitts on. I cannot eat enough mustard throughout the year to meet my mini container need. Warning! I'm about to rip a page straight out of the Martha Stewart Lesson Book on How To Be a Cheese-Ball Blogger, but here goes anyway: last year I realized that I could solve my jar shortage problem by making attractive garlands. Above are last year's zinnias. Among all the other grandma sh** that dots my apartment, there is a giant tackle box of a sewing kit, and in that tackle box are some heavy-duty needles and heavy-duty thread, which is exactly what you need to make garlands.
If I had to label myself, I would put a sticker on me that says, "seed-saver, exercise caution." Last year something happened. On my walks around town I started to covet certain plants I'd see. I'd pass by in July, mind the progress of some giant red zinnias, and make a mental note to swoop by in another month to snip off a flower head or two. And that's exactly what you see above. The red ones on the left are from the corner of Union and Parsons; the pink ones on the right, I snatched those from some public street-plantings in downtown Holland, Michigan. Fortunately, in addition to my mom, my sister and my sweetie, I was with my proud-to-be-a-seed-geek brother-in-law, and so nobody minded too much when I whipped out my key-chain pocket knife and started snatching flower heads in broad daylight. Hell, I'd just be dragged through Talbot's! I had to do something to make the afternoon shopping excursion pay.
Here is a VERY STAGED photograph of Seed Saver Central, 2011. When I was home last winter for Christmas, which is something I absolutely dread, I picked up the Hooiser cabinet that has been in our family, hailing from my dad's side, since the Depression. All my life, it's been a junk storage area in one basement or another. (It also happened to be the area where my brother would hide his "friend's Playboys.") It's much happier in its new home, performing its frugal function, being Seed-Saver-Central. I was talking to it the other day, and it told me that it feels like it's back in the Depression again. "Ah, the Depression," it said. "There weren't any bionic legs back then." That's right, Hoosier Cabinet; it's hard times for everyone. Click the gas can to spread the love. Yrs,