Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A barrel of frogs

 frog 'n' dog

big barrel

One day last week I was in my kitchen and heard my name being taken in vain outside. There was a tractor immediately outside the window, bearing a large armagnac barrel. To be clear: a large empty armagnac barrel.

Brent donated the barrel to my home-gardening effort. It’s a bit too big to manage on my terrace, so I’ve parked it by the gate, which has been waiting for something more decorative than the pile of junk I round up each month to go la déchetterie.

The bottom of the barrel has been lined with straw – there’s no particular value in filling it all up with soil unless a tree is going in. For now it’ll just be tomato plants and herbs. It takes a couple of days for me to collect sufficient rich manured soil from the corral. It’s only about 5 wheelbarrow loads, but I can’t stay outside too long without my eyes streaming. As I dug through the corral’s compost, I keep coming across what appear to be dead frogs – I’m not sure if they’ve recently expired or they’ve been preserved in the moist soil. I dropped the first one on the side of the wheelbarrow and resumed shovelling. Turning back to the barrow, it seemed that the frog had moved a little so I took it down to the pond and dropped it into the water. There was a moment when it just looked like the frog was going to sink into the pond’s murky shallowness and then it kicked into life and swam off. All the other frogs I found were similarly revived. I showed one to Munson but he was either completely uninterested or jealous of me playing in so much lovely dirt.

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