A thick mist hangs in the trees this morning. If you didn’t know better, you’d think the ocean was just on the other side of the woods. The early morning sounds of birds and the paper delivery car turning in the driveway are reflected back by the fog and the sounds are somehow closer and more intimate than on a sunny morning. All that is missing is the sound of a bell buoy or a distant foghorn. Is it possible that I brought this home with me with the hay?
At about this time each year, the tomatoes need to be mulched to prevent the wonderfully named “Blossom End Rot” which is purportedly caused by uneven soil moisture. Mulching the plants is supposed to even this out and prevent the loss of any of the precious green orbs that are soon to become precious crimson (or yellow or whatever) orbs. If you use horse hay, you end up planting multitudes of weeds for now and forever, amen. This is part of the cycle of gardening that needs no augmentation from the likes of me.
I went to a meeting on the seacoast this week and decided to look for salt marsh hay, having always read that this was the optimum in mulch. I turned at the hand lettered sign and followed the long driveway to the side yard of a white two-story farm house. I might have been on the prairie of the Midwest. There were pots of petunias around the back door, one of them a concrete swan. The farmer drove in just then on his tractor. He took off his cap to wipe his forehead with the back of his hand revealing a classic white forehead above ruddy cheeks. I bought a bale and drove home breathing the sweet smell of hay, the ocean mists following along behind to appear this morning to surprise us.