Five times! Five times it rained over my house this season. On a few occasions I literally watched it rain all around me like I was trapped in some bizarre weather vortex, the glorious liquid sunshine just beyond the reach of my thirsty plants. My trusty well held steady (sometimes at the expense of personal hygiene) and my drip irrigation system earned its stripes. But given the Sahara-like conditions this past summer, at my place, if you were not a blueberry plant, you had no water allotment. My grass was brown, my flowers died and my garden was pathetic – but my blueberry plants grew back. There was even a smattering of blue goodness sprinkled throughout my field. But it was a hard race against the birds to harvest the precious berries. I didn’t get the netting infrastructure built. By the time I finished cutting back all the winter kill, my clay fire-baked ground was virtually impenetrable. Next spring I guess.
I just finished planting an additional 300 plants of two new varieties. After a few particularly laborious days I moaned to my son Colin that I was getting too old for this. “You were too old for it two years before you started”, he quipped back to me. Without any further ado I posted an add on Kijiji.
“Need strong, physically fit individual to help plant blueberries on a blueberry farm. Hard work! $15.00 an hour cash. Room provided if needed“.
Travis responded back that afternoon. He was a strong, physically fit 35 year old electrician who was travelling across the country. I hired him on the phone and he drove to my place from Sudbury that night, pitched a tent and started work the next morning. I plied him with an abundance of food and we worked well together. However, after the first few days his work became slow and sporadic until he presented me with his wrists, vein side facing up. I stared at them in confusion. They are sore and swollen, he stated. That afternoon Travis moved on and I was back in the trenches planting solo again.
I am moving forward with plans for a soft opening next summer. By then I will have been at this crazy venture for six years and it will be time to earn my first dollar. One way or another, with a palpitating heart full of promise and the fervent hope that I will actually have some blueberries for sale, I will be open for business next season come rain, drought, hail or snow. Well, maybe not snow. Please, not snow.