Thursday, July 31, 2008

On Gardening

It's not really a lot of fun. I mean, it IS, but then again, it ISN'T. (how generic a statement is that?!!??!) (p.s. using italics to demonstrate a certain (sarcastic and almost witty) tone of voice in one's blog IS fun!)(try it!) (see?!)

Ok, where were we? Ah yes, weed-en-ing - AKA: gardening. So we picked potatoes yesterday, me following husband and toddler on the tractor. I think I had the short end of the stick. Holding the bucket, I'd follow behind the tractor as he dug up the potatoes. I found: LOTS of rocks, that look painfully similar to potatoes. Then there was the baby snake which ruined the entire ambiance of the earthy, farm-girl picking potato experience. *shudder* And I found ONE bucket full of potatoes. (about 10 lbs.) I'm not so sure that all the hard work of tilling up the ground, then finishing with the rototiller and finally, planting the potatoes, picking off tthe thousands of bugs (worms, beetles, etc.) (trying to be "green" there, by not using pesticides!) (which didn't work anyways) and fertilizing and watering was even worth it!!

Now I have a big patch of dirt to put something else in. I'm thinking I've got 90 days to Oct. 31st which is pumpkin time, and seeing as how the average Jack-O-Lantern takes about 100 days to mature, I might can speed up the process with a bit of Miracle-Grow, or the likes (read: goat, rabbit, pig, and chicken manure).

Somehow, potatoes just don't seem so appetizing at this point. I'm hoping (and praying) that the sweet potatoes turn out better. They look great, the plants are enormous and beautiful. (fieldmouse mental note: sweet potato plant makes a beautiful addition to landscape)

I've been up to my ears in zuccchini and butterstick squash - irritating all my friends and neighbors with bags of them after I've shredded and frozen all I care to annoy my husband with throughout the winter. (shredded zucchini makes excellent zucchini bread (aka: CAKE) and mixed with the squash it's a fabulous way to sneak vegetables into lasagne (voila! one dish meal!) and other casseroles.

Cucumbers? haha. I call them sneaky cucumbers. One day they're 2 inches long and puny looking and 36 hours later they're HUGE! Making it difficult to produce pickles with them, simply given the size of the suddenly seemingly miniature jars I picked up JUST for this occasion. (another fieldmouse mental note: check for sneaky cucumbers at LEAST 12 times a day)

Let's discuss green beans. One simple rule; don't wait to long to pick them. Evidenced by the jerky-like consistency I experienced a few days ago. Here's how it went; 1. go out to garden to pick green beans. Return to garage to get bucket. Chide oneself for not wearing long sleeves and *normal* shoes as bugs bite mercilessly. Traipse out to green-bean-rows and peer in. Go back inside and turn the air conditioner on. When husband comes home from work beg him to rototill in between green-bean-rows and express grave concern for snakes. Relieved of bean picking duties for at least 20 hours, proceed to do other meaningless and trivial things. Like deadhead flowers. And water everything just because it's fun to play with the hose.

(meanwhile, husband rototills in between green-bean-rows)

Put long sleeve shirt on and put bug spray on *non-normal albeit preferred farmhouse footwear of flip-flops* and remember bucket. Traipse again out to garden and start picking beans. Mutter to oneself about how this is back-breaking work. Who decided to plant 1/2-runners anyways? (mental fieldmouse note: plant POLEBEANS next year so as to avoid back-breaking work) Pick beans. Eat some. Pick some more. Decide I don't like green beans as much as I thought after all.

Sigh. Gardening is hard work!!

I cut off the ends, and tried to get as much of the 'strings' off and then cut them in 2" pieces. Blanched them. Cooled them. Stuck them in freezer quart bags and froze them. I think I'll save them for when we don't have company.

Cantaloupes, watermelons, butternut squash are doing well. I love the gigantic leaves of melon plants.

The tomatoes are completely out of control. I'm in love. There's just something totally romantic about picking a vine-ripened tomato from the garden and taking a big, juicy bite. No pesticides, or wax, or gas, or artificial coloring. Truth. All in the taste of a tomato. Hope.

(as an aside: Kathy and her sister Sheila came over Tues and brought Eric, toddlers hero, and they stayed the night. Kathy made a tomato salad that was to die for!!! FRESH tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, garlic, basil, dill, salt, pepper - a bit of EVOO (extravirginoliveoil for you non-Rachael Ray folks) and a few dashes of balsamic vinegar. I'm telling you, this could quite possibly be next in line for semi-famous Hope Farms foods. I'm thinking the Hope Farms Banana Bread will always be at the top, but this has got to be the next runner-up. Never fear that we are highly culinarily accomplished though, because Kathy brought a "bake it yourself" pizza from Costco and with the help of a wee bit of red wine, we proceeded to burn the daylights out of it in my lovely (gag) oven....Good times people. Good times.)

Corn? I can't talk about the corn. (i'm becoming verclempt - talk amongst yourselves, I'll give you a topic: Barbara Streisands legs are like butter) We'll have to (quietly) talk about corn later. M-kay? M-KAY.

Sigh. I fear I've tired of garden talk for now. Must go pick corn.

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