“You foll’a how the petcocks work?” the Bearded One says. “Yes,” I say, through gritted teeth. “I foll’a.” Do I? Vaguely. They turn. I had just stomped into the house after FOUR trips back and forth to the faucet, trying to turn on the bleeping hose. This week was the week to uncoil my own personal garden nemesis and become reacquainted. Righty-tighty. Lefty-loosey.
Synchronizing the on/off valves, called petcocks around here (motorcycle lingo), screwing together several hoses to reach distant spots, and lassoing the twisty things so they will spiral down all flat and in place could bring Mother Teresa to her knees.
First, petcock confusion. A task that should be mindless — turning on the water faucet and expecting water to be available at the unseen end of the hose — suddenly becomes a thinking and remembering thing. Which direction is the petcock cocked, and am I examining the correct petcock? There’s one at the end of the hose, and two at the start. Plus a handle. I’m not spacial. Is the faucet cranked all the way right or left? Odds are high I get something wrong.
The Bearded One says that infinity for him is a computer or a guitar. Endless possibilities. For me it seems to be two hoses screwed together. The more hoses you add to the queue, the crazier it gets. I speak from experience. We attached FOUR highly individual and idiosyncratic hoses end-to-end from the faucet to the goat barn before we finished the 350 foot long trench. It was like trying to hook Tunisia to Libya to Egypt. There were petcocks all over the place.
But even when dealing with just one humble hose, they are unpredictable. Something about twisting the pulled-out chunk of hose one full turn for every loop of hose you pull out? Huh? I planted a nice, neat little village of broccoli, cabbage, and onion starts in the Rings Garden this week, and sure enough, the hose flopped out of its logical trajectory — picture a hula hoop motion — and snapped off several broccolis.
Some smart folk install drip systems, which you lay down once and forget about. At least that’s what the commercial says.
Water is necessary for cement work, which is where we are this week with the hoop house. The entire hose gets filthy as I drag it from the Rings Garden over to the Circle Garden — its been cold and cloudy and drippy all week — where the hoop house is taking shape.
My job is to mix the cement. This requires some petcock finesse, so I don’t like the Bearded One to watch.
More cement is needed, so I go to the barn where we also store the dry hoses for spraying snow off the barn roof should it become too heavy.
We finish the cement work for the hoop house, rinse out the wheelbarrow, and leave the hose lying out on the grass. I’ve handled a hose or two in my time, I think. They’re not THAT big a deal. Progress everywhere you look!
Inside we have a bowl of chicken soup, which I make every week with onion and rosemary and cabbage and carrots. It tastes good and keeps us healthy. I feel good, even before the Bearded One points out the “yella” sun in the newspaper weather forecast diagrams.
And so it g’hose.