By David M. Masumoto
A lyrical, sensuous and carefully engrossing memoir of 1 serious yr within the lifetime of an natural peach farmer, Epitaph for a Peach is "a pleasant narrative . . . with poetic aptitude and a feeling of humor" (Library Journal).
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Extra info for Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm
I kill Bermuda by disking it again and again and again and alternate that with days where the 100-degree heat does the work for me, cooking the nasty weed. Bermuda poisons a farm. I read that it was allelopathic, like chickweed, literally carrying a noxious poison as it spreads, killing competitors in its path. Bermuda grows as a thick mat, and once it is rooted you can barely cut it with a shovel. Even then, you will probably miss a portion that will lie dormant underground until life-giving water comes along and presto, the green will return with new sprouts and shoots.
My farming creates work. 24 / Epitaph for a Peach MY WORKERS COME from many places in Mexico and live in small towns scattered throughout the valley. Del Rey, where many of them stay, is the nearest town to my farm. The estimated population is about 1,500, but during the summer harvest the town swells to twice that size. The workers live in rented rooms, small cramped boardinghouses, or hidden bungalows in converted garages and toolsheds. I visit one of these apartments. The workers live in a small outbuilding behind my foreman’s house.
As nature takes over my farm, everything grows voraciously. New insect life swarms in my fields. Aphids coat sow thistle like pulsating black paint. Normally aphids aren’t a problem for grapevines and peach trees, they would rather suck on sow thistle. But they are denied that meal because of the thousands of lady beetles that invade my fields for spring feasting. I wonder what other invisible life thrives in the natural grasses, what pathogens and parasites join my farm. I can’t measure their presence but I feel secure, and the grapes and peaches still look fine.