Tuesday, June 2, 2009

greenhorn to green thumb

While city people flocked to pubs with patio seating for the Memorial Day holiday, I headed south for off-patio SEEDing.

Here, Memorial Day is first about fallen soldiers. But second, it's about planting lettuce, radishes and pretty maids all in a row. 

Since I hail from the land of canned corn and mashed potatoes in a box, I thought I'd give this homegrown produce a try. 

Every year, Cowboy's grandmother, Grandma D, tills a garden with more square footage than my one-bedroom apartment. The garden is so big, all the deer in LaMoure AND Dickey counties die of obesity, rather than starvation. And she still feeds the neighboring Army and half the homeless population in China.

One thing my mom never taught me about gardens was HOW MUCH FUN THEY ARE.

We used to un-pot plants into the backyard and transplant them into my former swingset/sandbox play area.

I, surely still mourning the loss of my monkey bars, would get so upset when mom asked me to water, she may have well crumbled my first published newspaper article and used it to smear dog poo on my pillow. THAT'S HOW MUCH I HATED IT.

So when Cowboy summoned me to off my shoes and stick my toes in dirt, I looked at him like he'd asked to borrow a Britney Spears CD. 

Hop in, he said.

So I did, but not before waving goodbye to my professionally polished nails.

And P.S., loosened dirt soils your feet like the attire of your local goth... dark and greasy. And it chips the paint off your toes and snuggles deep into your cuticles too.

But I didn't care.

In fact, I didn't care so much that I hopped on all fours and stuck my FINGERS in the dirt too. Pretty soon I'd muddied my feet, hands, jeans and even wound up with soot on my face and IN MY HAIR. 

My garden tasks ranged from watering to hoeing (of the cultivator sort) but I liked earth-moving the best. Grandma D dropped the seeds, while I manufactured a quaint little townhouse for them... albeit dark, damp and dirty.

Gardening was so much fun, I even saw a CRICKET once and I didn't even scream (very loud.)

So even though I took to the gardening like a dandelion in a front lawn, I still had some learning to do.

For example, when Grandma D told me to bury cabbage a quarter-inch deep, I asked where she kept her ruler.

And when Cowboy told me to find loose bark so he could break wind, I just thought he had bad gas.

So while that may have been true, IT WASN'T WHAT HE MEANT.

Mortified, I drafted a letter to Marian High School demanding it TRADE IN all my knowledge of the meteor's significance in "The Scarlet Letter" and REFUND ME for any memories of chemical compound nomenclature. Instead, I insist it teach me something relevant... like how to use chicken wire for something BESIDES a kangaroo float for the Marian High School Field Day Parade. 

I make no guarantees about the quality of the produce germinating in that garden, but I will tell you this:

The neighboring gophers, hedgehogs and prairie dogs admired my handiwork so much, I caught them taking notes and preparing questions for the final exam in TILLING 101. 

Most country people would take their guns and shoot 'em. And while they may have deserved it, firearms aren't my style.

Me, I grabbed a guitar, a fire and sang kum-ba-yah... a practice which, when used effectively, is almost as deadly.


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