A Different Lens . . . Now Playing
June 03, 2011
I bet you’re wondering what’s playing at the Rainbeau Ridge Cineplex this month. Of course, we have our usual full range of comedy and drama, but if you like horror films we’re featuring a story about some fierce creatures making their presence felt with a vengeance.
Grubs, mealy bugs and bean aphids are on the attack. The title of their blockbuster smash is, “Seek and Destroy.” As spring unfolds these over-wintered alien monsters rear their ugly heads and zero in on almost everything that has been transplanted or direct seeded on the farm. They’re on a mission from hell to decimate everything they land on. These nasty little creatures are equal opportunity bullies -- they don’t care what plants they mess with. They love the 6 varieties of cabbage we planted. They’re obsessed with the Napa, broccoli, purple and cheddar cauliflower we’re growing. And literally, right before my eyes, I witnessed a throng of beetles razing whole plant beds; it was like a David Copperfield disappearing act.
Oh, and we got quite a scare from the potential reappearance of Late Blight. As you may remember, when LB touched down on the East Coast 2 years ago, it took down all the tomatoes in the North East. Talk about having a freak out, we had over 300 tomato plants, 75 of which were to be transplanted and the rest made available for the farm’s annual plant sale. It was the same fungus that brought down Ireland during the Great Potato Famine. That episode sent me into a full-on panic attack until we reached out to one of the legendary farmers I’ve been so lucky to be in contact because of Lisa’s wonderful connections. The legend that is Annie Farrell (she co-designed a great deal of the farm for Lisa) suggested a remedy that saved all 22 tomato varieties just in the nick of time before they were to be transplanted into the pool garden (drilled holes and filled with soil when the farm was started), while the balance of tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and eggplant were also rescued so they could be sold at the sale this week as well (I'm so proud that we had over 20 varieties of healthy tomato plants to offer, along with more than 13 peppers and tons of eggplants). Good thing these horror films have happy endings.
To be honest, I was struck by my obsession with all these creatures. Where did it come from? Why was I losing sleep thinking about bugs and their impact on everything we do here? Then it hit me. Under my adult peace/love and all things natural veneer I realized what a terror I was as a little girl. I loved killing bugs with potions I created in the kitchen. I took great pleasure in burning them to a crisp with micro-fine glass. It’s the stuff therapy is made of and while I can’t change the past… it has fueled a different kind of obsession these days.
As an adult, my interest in these creepy crawly characters demanded that I hit the farm library and read anything and everything I could find about bugs, fungus and diseases. And if it wasn’t in the library I spent nights on the internet trying to Google as much information as possible. The farm has made me a different person. I’ve said on more than one occasion how what a wonderful opportunity this has been to date, but this was bugging me (sorry, I couldn’t resist). I was reading everything I possibly could. If there was something I didn’t know, I would call the organic insecticide companies and talk to their experts for further clarity and education. If there’s such a thing as a healthy OCD, I had it now. No joke.
If I was still unclear about something I’d reach out to Jerry, my contact at the Cornell Garden Extension Program for our county. I’ve been having bi-monthly phone conversations with him since Isaac left, and Jerry’s finally making it to the farm this week. Upon Lisa’s suggestion we’ve invited him to join our weekly garden co-op meetings. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted Jerry to myself to answer my laundry list of questions, but that would take hours, if not days. And my true egalitarian nature is to share, so I’ll abandon any selfish thoughts for the benefit of us all, because Jerry’s wealth of knowledge has to be shared.
What we experience here is a Close Encounter of the Extraordinary Kind, where horror stories and alien visits morph into incredible learning experiences that help us all grow. Yes, life here at Rainbeau Ridge can be other-worldly. Just like the movies… only here we don’t have to suspend our disbelief… what happens in our farm Cineplex is real. It’s visual. Emotional. Thrilling. Scary. Heartwarming. Sustaining. And just plain amazing!