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Slice of Life - Snowstorms, gardens and camping

One of these things doesn't belong

Up in our neck of the woods the Maylong weekend has traditionally beenset aside by gardeners for planting, while nongardeners choose to hook up their boats andRV's and set off on their inaugural camp ofthe year. Pity the fools. As you may havegleaned, I am a gardener. And I probablywatched too much Mr. T growing up.

This year, with the May long weekend onthe horizon, I was feeling pretty good aboutwhat I had managed to get done around theplace. I already had most of my old vegetablegarden planted and was making greatstrides on my new one.

As I have mentioned in the past, last fall,only two days after getting a load of gardensoil dumped on the edge of my new gardenspot, winter arrived and weighed in with aload of her own. Since it was still earlyOctober I impatiently waited for the snow tomelt so I could carry on with getting the soilspread over my new vegetable garden. ByNovember I had to accept that winter washere to stay. Between October and April Ispent way too much time staring out thewindow at my pile of garden soil, which Ibegan to refer to as my "Great WhiteBump." I must have moved the dirt fromthe bump to my garden a thousand timesbefore winter finally faded.

While I waited for the Great White Bumpto thaw I began hoeing up my old gardenjust for the sheer pleasure of playing in thesoil. And then, since the old garden wasalready worked up, I planted it. "I'll use theold spot this year and take my time gettingthe new spot ready for next year," I toldmyself as I marched balls of pea seed up anddown the rows.

When the Great White Bump finallythawed I began moving it a wheel barrowload at a time to its new home. And everytime I finished a new bed it occurred to methat I had some extra seed left over andthere was no reason to waste a perfectlygood garden bed. A few more grid papersessions and trips to the garden centrerevealed much to my amazement - that Idesperately needed both garden spots if Iwas going to have any hope at all of growingall the essential things I had to plant.With the long weekend only days away, Irushed my wheelbarrow back and forth fromthe bump to my garden spot like a honeybeeon steroids. And then on Friday nightof the May long weekend calamity struck. Itstruck quietly and softly, but it struck, nonetheless.

I had the wheelbarrow, I had the soil, Ieven had the seeds but when I went outsideon Saturday morning I could see straight offsomething wasn't right. They say a pictureis worth a thousand words. Sometimes apicture is worth a thousand screams. Alas,the Great White Bump had returned. Onlyafter all my beelike efforts it was more of aMedium White Bump.

There is something topsy turvy aboutknee deep snow when the leaves are greenon the trees. Even nature, though responsible,knows this isn't the natural order ofthings. Trees weighted down with theunseasonal burden of snow on their leavescrashed to the ground across roof tops,roads and power lines. Chaos ensued.People were left without power for days andalmost everyone had to do without for atleast a few hours.

The only ones unaffected by the poweroutages were the campers in their self containedRV's. Looking out the window at mymarooned wheelbarrow stuck in the snow, itwas all too easy to picture the campers sittingaround the table in their RV's playingcards and laughing at the gardeners whochose to stay behind. I could just hear themsaying, "Pity the fools."

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnistfrom the Peace River country. You canread past columns by visiting