It has been a pretty interesting year so far and it’s a long way from being over.
Now that summer has come, it seems that a lot of people are really getting into gardening. There are people who have been doing it for years and some who are taking a stab at it for the first time. The stores that sell gardening supplies, were starting to run out of dirt, fertilizer and manure. And then they did.
A Facebook post declared that the stores are out of manure. I hope everyone knows that manure is a polite way of saying s- – -. And that would make a great news headline. Yellowknife Has Run Out of S _ _ _. Unfortunately, some people might be offended or take it the wrong way.
The stores also ran out of seed potatoes and people were searching for them everywhere. So, due to several people’s efforts and a potato farmer from Alberta, tons of seed potatoes arrived in town. Thousands of pounds of potatoes. I have no idea how many potatoes that works out to but tens of thousands sounds about right.
So, all over town people are trying to chit their potatoes and then digging holes, to bury them in. That is a whole lot of holes and digging. Humans are competing for burying space with the red squirrels who want to bury their caches of spruce cones. It is a springtime habit they have. Humans burying potatoes and squirrels, or fairy diddles, burying spruce cones. Red squirrels are sometimes called Fairy Diddles and I quite like the name because they are far more devious than most people think.
I am sure the other woodland critters see both humans and fairy diddles burying things and wonder what we are all up to. However, the similarities go a whole lot farther than that. Humans will often trim plants and trees in order to increase their yield. Fairy diddles do the same thing when they bite off the new growth of spruce trees in the spring. It makes the tree grow tall and thin and produce a lot more cones, because the tree thinks it is dying. Not sure how the diddles learned to do this, but it is quite clever. It works and they will do this to several trees in their territory.
Now, I was once out working with a tree hugger who was also a vegan. He told me he quite liked the cute little herbivore squirrels. He then lectured me one day that cutting a branch off of a living tree was a form of torture and cutting one down was murder and a sin. I tried to explain to him it was all a part of nature, which it is. I even explained about the fairy diddles trimming trees, surely, he would be against that. He was horrified at the thought, so I thought it best not to point out squirrels will kill and consume small critters or describe in graphic detail the terror vegans put vegetables through. Nature is a whole lot messier than most people think.
Now getting back to the potatoes. If the seed potatoes being planted each produce five or 10 spuds, Yellowknife and the North is going to be awash in potatoes come fall harvest. They will have to be dug up, washed, and stored for the winter. They will be competing for the space currently taken up by toilet paper, Kraft Dinner and other foodstuffs people have hoarded.
If you ate nothing but potatoes, you would have to eat three to four kilograms a day to survive. I thought I should point out that they can be used for making vodka. Judging by the number of empty vodka bottles I find when picking up litter, it must be one of the most popular drinks in the North. Apparently, it takes around 18.5 pounds of potatoes to make a 750 ml bottle of vodka. People could even make a gourmet brand of lingonberry flavored vodka.
This could be the start of a whole new Northern industry.