Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More on Gardening, and Metaphorically on Friendship

It turns out that when you round up half the parents (mostly mothers, but the occasional father) of preschool-aged children in a very small town, you get a very motley group.  I did not previously know any full-time waitresses.  Nor magazine editors from the Southernmost Swamp by way of Movieland, USA.  And now I do!  I choose to find it fantastic and delightful instead of really, really surreal.

A friend gave us some spare plants for our garden, and said they were squash, but they turn out to be zucchini instead.  Here, everyone we know: have the gift of zucchini.  We have nine plants of it.
Right of the trellises: Only part of the zucchini.  The trellises are 4 feet tall. Oh, dear.
Someone I know here, probably one of the people I like best, happened to show me her family's prepper stash the other week, including more weapons and ammo than I have seen outside a large gun store.*   NOT what I was expecting.

We drew up a plan for our garden, but some of the plants died, and then there was an incident with tomato plant buying in which we failed to consult each other (there are about 30 now... maybe 40), and then the corn got eaten by crows and we put in more cucumbers, which was probably ill-advised.  And also two of us are pregnant and so the squash patch ended up a little haphazard, and the bunnies ate a couple of them, plus we didn't label which ones were butternut and which ones were cantaloupe.**  Besides - that patty pan squash totally said it was bush-type on the packet, and yet, it is vining up a trellis as we speak.

The bed that is mine, all mine.  Patty pan squash trellis in front. The obsessive block system is in NO WAY reflective of my personality, y'hear?
The person who owns the garden is not someone I would have thought I had a lot in common with.  She's my opposite in terms of personality - and also a warm, loving, generous person who also likes to garden. Sometimes things that aren't what I planned turn out okay!  Sometimes people's lives intersect at strange places and it's still an interesting relationship.

(Sometimes your despair at someone else's strawberry patch leads you to suggest that on Sunday, you could get together, dig up the whole thing, and replant the crowns the RIGHT way.  I swear, it'll grow better this way.  Fertilize!  And add lime, the soil here is CLAY!)

I am now extremely grateful for my slightly desperate, boredom-inspired chatting up of every random stranger in town. My life here growing, although I hope  less like the zucchini (why is it so big?  why did I plant so many?  what was I thinking? I don't even like zucchini!) and more like the cucumbers (in an orderly and directed, yet still organic, fashion).

This last year has been awful in so many different ways and - unexpected bonus child aside - I'm still holding out hope that it's starting to get better.

* The question perhaps arises, how many gun stores have I been in?  Well, they sell guns at Walmart down here.  Plus, a lot of good hiking/camping gear at gun shops.  And if you want a decent pocketknife - yes, I carry that around; yes, it's legal - your local huntin' an' fishin' store is the best bet. 
** When they set fruit I am sure we will be able to tell the difference, so...


  1. I went to an outdoor store in a different state and was basically shocked (and certainly very surprised) they have guns. Here, it's almost like Europe - no guns in the outdoor store and wine in the supermarket. If only there was real cheese at affordable prices...
    I have a distant memory of zucchini gardening, and they do seem to grow in amazing numbers and sizes. Also, you can grate them, roast them with pine nuts and raisins and serve over pasta - I found it surprisingly good and rather non-typical.

    1. Ha! I grew up in the South- I think I'd be more shocked to NOT find guns in an outdoor store. Rifles and bows, mainly; handguns do not need to be near the camping gear. There's an epic huntin/fishin store near my parents, called Green Top. You might faint dead away. They have a shocking variety of weapons of all persuasions.

      Will have to try the roasting, etc.- sounds tasty, plus my kids will eat practically anything on pasta! I grated the last one into mac&cheese. Fortunately my spouse will *also* eat anything.

  2. The first year Rachael and I shared a 20'x20' community garden plot, I planted 4 zucchini seeds. I got FOUR plants. They each grew 10' long and produced bags and bags of zucchini. By mid-July, I couldn't take it anymore and pulled up two of the plants. But I did learn to cook zucchini in lots of fun, interesting ways. Have you tried taking the extra-large ones, peeling and seeding, slicing them thinly and making mock-apple crisp? You cook the thin slices in a pan in sugar and lemon juice, add cinnamon, then your favorite crisp topping and bake. It's remarkably good. Even better than the zucchini-filled chocolate cake.

    I rather miss those zucchini-filled days, I haven't had much luck with them these past few years. Luckily, they're easy to find at the farmer's market.

    I am very happy things are starting to feel more comfortable for you! Friends are wonderful. I find it helpful if my friends have dissimilar personalities, they challenge me to examine myself. Or, at least have different talents they can teach me, like organizing a pantry, or foraging for wild fruit.


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