We’ve been in a rainy cycle. I’m not going to take a position on whether this is a good or a bad thing, it just is what it is. It does mean certain things, however.
It means the ground is saturated, so whenever it begins to rain again it runs off into the creeks and bottoms and makes little flash floods. In spite of all the warnings from the media and signs at the low water crossings, people still think they can drive their vehicle through a low water crossing that has more than 5 inches of water flowing across it, and then they are surprised when they have to be rescued from their car which is now hood deep (or more) in swiftly flowing water several hundred yards (more or less) from the actual roadway. Sometimes these people drown.
It also means that you really can’t mow your lawn until things dry out a bit. But the grass is made very happy by being watered thoroughly on a regular basis, and so it continues to grow. Quickly. Our Fair City has, in its infinite wisdom, passed an ordinance that requires people to keep their grass mowed. They get all hot under the collar if you allow the grass on your property to get longer than 8 inches. They actually have a compliance officer who is paid to drive around looking for lawns that are too long and places that have too much trash and junk accumulated. Warnings are issued, summons delivered, hearings had. Miscreants have their property mowed by the city crews and the bill (extremely huge, by the way) tacked onto their property tax bills. This is a cause of heartburn for property owners who have tenants who are “supposed” to be taking care of the lawn at the place they occupy, but aren’t.
The city is inclined to be lenient when it has rained for a long period of time, but the threat is still there. If you are one of those hapless people who don’t have a powerful lawn mower, when the rain stops long enough for things to dry out so they can be mowed, your lawn mower may be insufficient for the task. This provides work for all the poor souls who have been laid off from their jobs and are driving around with their mowing equipment in the back of their truck hoping to make enough money to be able to pay their truck and house payments.
It also means that the fields, which look all verdant and lush, are actually seas of mud with an icing of waving grass.
Yesterday, we attended the Baker Creek Planting Festival. Baker Creek fills a niche in the market supplying heirloom seeds from open-pollinated stock to people who no longer wish to fill the coffers of Monsanto and Cargill, or who just don’t really want to raise food from genetically modified organisms. Every spring, Baker Creek holds a planting festival, where local organic growers can bring seedlings grown from these stocks of heirloom seeds and sell them to the general public, thereby undercutting the markets at Walmart, Lowes, and the other big box stores.
You would not believe the quantity and variety of tomatoes available at the Festival. Yesterday we purchased Pink Brandywine, San Marzano, Principe Borghese (you can get a lot of amusement standing around the vendor and listening to people try to pronounce THAT one), German Johnson, Cherokee Purple, Thai Pink Egg, Sioux, and Paul Robeson tomatoes yesterday. That was a small percentage of the varieties available. The only one of those listed above you will find at a Big Box store would be the Brandywine.
Baker Creek does not have a lot of customers the rest of the year, so their dedicated parking lot is rather small. For the planting festival, when hundreds of people descend on them for two days, they generally use their big hay field in the bottom by the creek as a parking area. Usually this works wonderfully well. Yesterday it wasn’t so functional.
I mean, you could drive down onto the field and park just fine; it was leaving that was the issue. See, once everyone had parked in neat rows as directed by the parking crews, if you wanted to drive out you had to drive between the cars that were parked, in the established aisles. Up hill. The first car had no real difficulty, nor did the second or third. It was the fourth or fifth car, with rather bald tires, perhaps a heavy model from the late 70s made of steel, which began the difficulties. As it spun its wheels in the attempt to climb the slight slope up to the actual road, the verdant icing of grass became churned into a morass of slick clay mud. This made it increasingly difficult for other cars to ascend to the exit without also churning mud.
The proprietors of Baker Creek were aware of the potential, and so they had their nice big John Deere tractors fired up and ready to provide towing services. Tractors tend to churn mud beautifully, by the way.
Well, we arrived at the festival in the middle of a gentle rain, put on our muck boots, did our shopping and decided to get the heck out of there. It wasn’t that pleasant tromping around through the mud churned up by hundreds of people walking from booth to booth, and we weren’t really interested in apple funnel cakes for lunch.
Luckily, we made this decision before too many people had churned the mud in our particular part of the parking lot, so we were able to sort of float up the slope and onto the road in our fabulous Prius. This was particularly piquant because what we floated past was a white one-ton dually Dodge pickup truck with four wheel drive which had churned itself axle deep in the mud and was awaiting its turn with the tractor.
We did not laugh all the way back to town. Just almost.