by Mimi Hedl

The temperature would drop. The cold would nip the bok choy, mizuna , arugula, chard and German winter lettuce ─ my fall garden ─ if I didn’t cover the cold frame. I had stored all the glass behind the stock tank, by the wood shed, or 300 feet away from the cold frame. I forgot to ask Jeremy to help me when he stopped by the other day. As I thought about how to move that 6’ long 3’ wide piece of glass, I loaded a glass half that size in the wheel barrow and hauled it out to the parsley in the culinary garden. I won’t do that again. I almost lost it, twice, going over the rough ground, the glass vibrating out of the wheel barrow.

As I laid the glass over the lush Italian flat parsley, I remembered how we used to haul hay to the cows and donkeys in winter. We made a sled out of a 5’ length of corrugated tin that everyone uses on out buildings here in the rural Ozarks. We could haul 2, sometimes 3 bales of hay over the frozen ground with that sled. Hmmmm…I wonder if that would work with the glass.

Walking back to the wood shed, sun lowering in the west, birds flew up and out as I passed by. How well we know each other, sharing this piece of earth, all these years, in quiet collaboration. The suet feeders, the bird feeders, the bird baths, all operating as I pay the birds back for all the help they’ve given over the growing season.

Carefully, I lifted the glass out and laid it on the sled, pulling it up a foot, over the upper edge of the sled, after seeing it would slide off without that adjustment. Then I took off with my load. Slowly, taking the path of least resistance, where I’d have few corners to take, no shrubs to interfere with my load, winding myself to the second ¼ acre, where the fall garden grows.

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Wow! It worked. I did it. By myself. Without calling a neighbor. My garden protected from the cold. My confidence increased. My independence affirmed. . I remember how Thirsty would victoriously shout, after moving something we thought we never could move, “Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and I’ll move the earth.” Good ol’ Archimedes surely would have something to say about “give me a problem, and with enough day light, I’ll solve it.” So I shouted too, as I love to do, in the middle of nowhere, with no one to complain, my voice reverberating in the crisp air.

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