Sunday, April 19, 2015

Among the Pea-sticks

I can't remember which Victorian novel I was listening to--it may have been Trollope's "The Small House at Allington," which I eventually gave up on because, despite the occasional witty observations of the narrator, I lost interest in the characters and their extremely sedate lives.  These types of novels, read in a soothing male British voice, are what I've been listening to when I can't fall asleep at night. Then I drift in and out of sleep to the modulated sound of a narrator, which is better than no sleep at all. And I can sort-of say I've read the classic book. If I'm interested enough, I'll go back several chapters to where I remember something in the morning and listen, this time for real, in the car. In any case, at some point while listening to one of these novels I distinctly heard these words describing the widowed mother of a family, that she "had been so reduced as to be found 'among the pea-sticks.'"

So, when I needed to put in some kind of support along the side of my newly dug garden bed for the peas, beans and cucumbers to climb, I remembered that phrase, "pea-sticks".

I'd looked at the bundles of stakes and bamboo poles at Walmart. But there is something in me that balks at paying for a stick. A stick just seems to me to be something one should be able to find for free on the ground. And what did people do before they could go to Walmart or the local hardware store, after all? I've seen various constructions on pinterest of metal poles and nylon mesh or fencing. While they may be functional and long-wearing, I just can't get over the thought that they are so ugly looking for a place as green and natural as a garden. I have also seen lovely cedar raised beds with a built-in wall of support that likely cost a few hundred dollars each to build: Out of the question.

So here's my attempt at pea-sticks. The overgrown shrubs from the neglected rental house adjoining our backyard yielded plenty of sticks for my need. Maybe I will run a few lines of twine back and forth through them for additional oomph. We'll see how it works out.