06 The Big Move 8/28/02
Well, the county health inspector made a routine stop at Misc's Cigar Ranch yesterday morning. After a quick look around, he told me that my entire herd of cigarinos was standing on a surface that was too hard. "Y'all can't just plant 'em on rock, like that, ya know -- it's not healthy!", he drawled.
"But I thought they liked the minerals in ash", I said, weakly.
"Son", he began "do ya know what the main ingredient in cee-ment is?" He looked steadily into my blank face, "it's ash, son."
"So, uh... baby cigars don't like cee-ment?"
He gave me a hearty slap on the back and said "now you've got it! Look how it's stunted their growth -- not to mention that there's nowhere for the wastes to drain off..." Turns out it's hard on their tender little hooves, too.
Well, I had to admit that the little herfers were pretty stunted looking, and they do poop almost as much as jackalopes, and that didn't seem sanitary. So I headed to the local feed & not-dirt store and bought me a pickup-truck load of "soil-less seed starter" (that's "very fine mulch" to you city-folk.) Then began the careful surgery of extracting the little cigarino feet from their cement prison and placing them gently onto their new soil-less and dirt-free home. One thing about being a rancher is that you've practically got to be a vet, too.
(Odd thing: if you get soil-less stuff on your hands, it looks a lot like dirt. And if you track it on the carpet, there's not much anything the misses can yell at you for except getting the carpet "dirty." Yet, there you have it -- 100% pure dirt-free ...uh... dirt. With a few small sticks; toss those out.)
So, with the 3# sledge and a small chisel, I carefully chipped around the seedlings then, when I had a small enough clump, I dropped it -- with the plant -- into a shot glass full of vodka (at least it LOOKED like vodka!) to dissolve the remaining cemen... er, ash. I then fished it out with the smallest branding iron I had (*NOT* hot!) and carefully laid it in its new home.
Repeat 108 times (approximately 9 each of 12 varieties. It is my hope to have 3-4 healty plants of each, by the time this is over.)
I gave the little baby cigarinos the day off, and they even got breakfast in bed. I figure they've been through a lot and could use a little morale boost. But tomorrow, it's back to the grindstone, or whatever it is those things put their noses against, and then we'll start a strict regimen of fattening them up for slaughter.