93 million miles away. The perfect distance. A little closer and we'd be on fire. A little farther away and we'd be frozen. It always causes my mind to expand and contract in a semi - convulsory loop (feels good) when I think that to some distant galaxy, our sun appears as a star… a tiny silver dot of light in the celestial heavens.
The sun is of course a star, we just happen to be close to it. So, it's starlight which warms our planet, grows our plants and brightens our emotional state. It's a basic scientific fact we've all come to know since the 3rd grade, but to think that which we commonly refer to as sunlight is by another definition starlight, is cool. You follow… its not a difficult concept.
The concept however allows you to thus view stars in the night sky in an entirely different light, pun purely intended. You get a better idea of their raging heat and violence, as all the while they look tranquil, almost icy, sometimes liquid in their assigned position.
Funny how fire is like water and water is like fire, elementally speaking… following much the same patterns, rhythms , cascades and curls. Have a look at this NASA computer composite of exceptionally severe solar flares which occurred just a few weeks ago, in the middle of May. Some say such flares make folks behave bonkers or bring chapters of life to culmination or conclusion as the case may be. Maybe so. Those flares have probably been raging a lot longer than we've been ascribing them causative power. That however doesn’t mean they don’t affect us.
Where has Mitt Romney been in recent months ? Nary a public appearance in many moons. Some say he is held up on Gilligans Island:
Its June. The finest month of the year in my humble opinion. Maximum daylight, optimum temperature and the world in bloom. The days are filled with misty morns, warm afternoons, picnics under shade trees, walks through the tall grass of a meadow or beneath a shady canopy of trees. How about the scent of fresh mown grass, or awakening to the sound of birds singing in the trees ? A fine June day is just about as good as it gets.
What about June nights ? Perhaps this is how they made you feel once upon a time….
They're usually called cover tunes… a well known song by a particular artist "covered" by other musicians who attempt to hit the same highs and lows in tribute, or put their own twist on a particular piece of work. Have a listen to Hayseed Dixie's twist on "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith. It's a hoot.
Its time to grow Tomatoes. In fact they should be well on their way by now. My plants are about 2 and a half feet high, already tied to stakes. I have 6 plants in several different varieties which should produce more produce than I can eat. I have A Jet Star seed strain, a couple of Big Boys, Big Girl, Sweet Millions (salad tomatoes) and a Roma (paste tomato). The plant professor in this video clip (below) gives us some ideas and insight on how to grow prizewinners for the advanced gardener, but if you just want a decent sized, good tasting tomato, try this:
Make sure your soil is well amended. That is to say, buy a bag of composted cow manure or two and till it into the earth. Fresh manure as long as its not still steaming is even better. Temper it with a bag of humble topsoil. You want your soil somewhere between the color of chocolate cake and coffee grounds. Rich. If you really want to impress your friends and infuriate your critics, put about a dry cup of granular 10 - 10 - 10 fertilizer in the soil and mix it in. Buy well established plants in 3 to 4 inch individual pots. Make sure they look healthy and well tended. Little 6 pack plants are fine, but it's just about June and you want tomatoes sometime soon.
Now, here is the trick of tricks. Buy a bag of powdered limestone, and a small bag of bone meal. Dig the hole to plant the tomato, and dust the hole with a handful of lime, then a handful of bone meal. Mix it up, plant firmly and water. Give the plant about 2 weeks and fertilize again surrounding the stem. Use the bone meal or the 10 - 10 - 10, maybe a little of both. Trust me.