October 2010



My end of season haiku…ahem…

Yesterday was it

The gardens have been torn down

Choking a sniffle

I wonder why I’m so emotional about wrapping up the back gardens. Methinks several reasons. When the beds are so buried in snow that you would never have known they were even there, will I have a purpose? I mean, sure, my life has purpose, but I’ve had such focus for the last several months that it has become routine and, routine is well, comfortable. I actually liked coming in sore in the afternoons – that means I worked – toward something. Why is it so different than any other year? We’ve had gardens for years, what’s the difference? Well, they are bigger this year, that’s for sure. We also had a goal in mind with them – to produce as much food for the two of us for the present and to store for the Winter. Is that it? Now that we have done what we can to reach that goal and there’s nothing else we can do, I’m at a bit of a loss. I know I can plan for next year, we’re definitely going to make a lot of changes in what we plant, where and when.  I guess I just need to redirect my focus toward another goal. I’ll work on that.

 Meanwhile, technically, we didn’t tear down all the gardens, just the back gardens next to the greenhouse. We have a small surprise happening in the Kitchen Garden. You see, it’s all about zagging. Huh? Follow me on this…We had a small snafoo with the greenhouse. We ran out of greenhouse plastic when putting it on, so used cheap-ass plastic and it ended up getting sort of crispy in the sun this Summer. So, the good plastic goes over the top, we have fiberglass weatherproof board and a door on the back of the greenhouse and, well, nothing on the front. It was that cheap-ass plastic which has since ripped off/been torn down. Since we don’t have a truck to get more fiberglass, we’re waiting until BFF Roy can spare a day to come help (guy works a lot, bless him. If you need a Harley, we can put you in touch with him!) Meanwhile, it is mid-October and I should have the greenhouse plants planted by now. But, with no front to the greenhouse, that wasn’t going to happen. So, instead of zigging, we had to zag. (Did I mention learning lessons this Summer?)

I ordered some items from Gardener’s Supply (again, they’re not sponsoring me!) and have planned some low tunnels for the Kitchen Garden. The boxes arrived and sat in the kitchen for several days. Once Keith discovered my master plan, he took it upon himself and put it all together for me.

Mesclun mix (before)

Hoops are in.

With the frost cover

 

1 1 /2 beds done!

Hooray! So, since we weren’t able to plant Winter greens in the greenhouse, we’re going to try them like this. Technically, the Frost Blankets make it to 28 degrees, so I’m being realistic, but I bet we’ll b e able to extend the season a little bit anyway. But, we’ll mostly just be harvesting, there won’t be much weeding or planting. So, back to my purpose for the Winter…It needs to be something challenging, realistic and gives me the feeling of accomplishment. Maybe I’ll knit my first sweater.
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My end of tomato season haiku…ahem…

Tomatoes are done

We learned a lot this season

Mostly about blight


My I’m In Pain haiku…ahem…

Why don’t I wear gloves?

My left hand got stuck with thorns

My right hand got stung.

Now go get a hot chocolate and when you come back, curl up at my feet and I’ll tell you the story of the sunny October day your old Aunt Jenn got her first bee sting after 27 years.

First, we need to start at the beginning, where all good stories start. When she was 12, your Aunt Jenn’s big brother was given a plane ride for his birthday. Being the youngest of three, and a little spoiled to say the least, she wasn’t too thrilled about spending a Summer afternoon in a dusty country airport field. She forgot a book to read and so entertained herself by playing balance-beam on some planks that were laid across stumps in a makeshift seating area. Up and down she walked. Up and down, up and down. The minutes seemed like hours. “How boring,” she cried, and kept walking up and down the planks. The hours dragged and she, like all little pouty, bored girls do when no one is paying attention to them, started to stomp. Stomp, stomp, stomp.

Little did she know, she stirred up a bees’ nest and they were mad. AT HER! What do you think happened next? That’s right, she got stung.

She ended up in the emergency room where a mean, nasty doctor with red eyes and fangs took out the longest needle he had and held it up to the light where it gleamed like a sword (or maybe it was a sword. It probably was, the bastard). He used that needle to pick every one of the 17 stingers that were left behind in your Aunt Jenn by those big, mad bees. She’s been terrified of needles, and bees, ever since (I’m sure you can imagine!)

Well, you would think your Aunt Jenn would have learned her lesson about gardening without gloves after she picked hot peppers and wiped her nose, but apparently, she’s not that bright (we do still have hopes for her though). One bright, Sunny October Sunday, 27 years after that fateful day, she was weeding and pulling everything out of the ground that was within reach. Without looking, she reached out her left hand and it brushed a thorny weed. Now, this was not the type of thorny weed that only has a few thorns like a rose bush. This was the type that was covered top to bottom with skinny, hairy thorns that get into your skin and are invisible so it’s real hard to get them out.  All the thorns were in the top of her fingers, from her knuckles to the nail. She stopped weeding for a while and tried to pick them out, but a lot were just stuck…and sting-y.

After finishing weeding in the backyard, she went to help Uncle Keith pick Husk Cherries, a sweet little fruit that falls to the ground when it’s ripe. It’s one of Aunt Jenn’s favorites. Uncle Keith went into the basement to grab his leaf blower while Aunt Jenn stayed outside, picking the little husk-covered fruits from the ground and putting them in her bowl. Bending and picking, bending and picking. Reaching down with her right hand to get a particularly large morsel, she felt the electric-jolt and sharp stabby pain that can only be described as…what do you think she felt? That’s right? A bee sting.

She didn’t see what it was, but she knew…OWIE OWIE OWIE, oh oh OWIE OWIE OWIE! was all she could say. She didn’t cry, she’s a trooper, but she did make a LOT of noise and then ran inside to get Uncle Keith.

Aunt Jenn: Keith! KEITH!

Uncle Keith (from the basement): What?

AJ: I GOT STUNG!

UK: Okay

AJ: Oh, oh, oh, owie owie owie, oh (while using her thorny and now rashy left hand to get baking soda out of the cabinet).

She mixed the baking soda together with some water to make a paste, like she knows you’re supposed to do, and packed it on top of the sting, which, by this time, was just a little white lump with a small hole in the middle, right on top of her right ring finger.

UK: You ok?

AJ: Owie. Owie, it stings, I didn’t see it. I just reached down and it got me. Oh, owie. (Really, “Owie” was the word.)

UK: Are you allergic, do you need to go to the hospital?

AJ: I don’t know, the last time I got stung was by a lot of them, so I ended up in the hospital with a weird reaction, so I always thought I was allergic, but I don’t know if I’m allergic, what if I’m allergic, what’ll happen I’m probably not allergic, oh owie maybe I should take some benadryl, do we have benadryl, yeah, I’ll take some benadry owie I can’t believe I got stung, I’ve done so well avoiding bees, I can’t believe it oh, owie, god it hurts, what the hell? owie where’s the benadryl, didn’t we buy some for Daisy in case she got stung I can’t find it, have you seen it I thought it was in Daisy’s drawer, but I don’t see it owie, god, it’s throbbing.

UK: Did you see a stinger?

AJ: Oh, I don’t know (looks) nope, no stinger, just a hole look at it (she makes Uncle Keith look at it) he left a freeking hole in me owie, ow ow, dammit it hurts WHERE’S THE GODDAMN BENADRYL?!?

UK (calmly): I’m not sure if we have some, do you want me to get you some?

AJ: No I’m fine, I’ll just put some more baking soda on it. Owie, ow, crap it stings.

UK: Are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital?

AJ: No, but if my throat closes up, I’ll be PISSED. Ok, I have more baking soda on it, I have to sit down.

UK: Jenn, don’t panic, you’ll be fne.

AJ: It’s been forever since I’ve been stung, I can’t believe I got stung owie, it still hurts, what the hell?

UK: Well, I’m going to go back outside, I’ll need you to hold the ladder in a little bit, do you mind?

AJ: No, I’ll be fine, I think it’s calming down. Ooh, ow, still stings, but I’ll be fine. Sure I’ll help.

And so kids, that’s the story of Aunt Jenn’s first bee sting in over 25 years. What do you think? Do you think your Aunt Jenn wore her gloves after that? That’s right. She sure did. Ok, nighty night, don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Ed note: It still hurts.


My October rain haiku…ahem…

Picking in cold rain

Not very much fun, but I

Wanted a damn farm

A long time ago, someone I knew (Ok, ok, she was my Mary Kay Director, I sold Mary Kay cosmetics for a while, what of it!?!) was trying to instill the value of hard work into me. (Now let’s stop right here. I WAS a hard worker. I just realized that accosting a woman at a grocery store, “Hi, that is a lovely shade of lipstick, you’re wearing. You look so nice in it. I sell Mary Kay and I’d love to give you a free makeover” was not my thing and so my sales were slowing down. Also, right around this time, my marriage to Paul was failing too… which is a pretty good excuse.)

Here’s what she said, “You still gotta milk the cows. Grandma dies? You milk the cows, THEN you go to the funeral.” Them’s powerful words right there. It has been 14 years and they still stick with me. Responsibility. So it is raining (dumping, really) outside and I can see red tomatoes and mature carrot and parsnip tops from the window. So, I’m going to finish this post, put on my mucks and hoodie raincoat and go outside pick veggies. Yet, all I want to do is stay in my jammies, grab my knitting bag (thank you @eweknitwits, I love it!) and curl up on the couch to watch back episodes of Project Runway (Oh, Tim. You know how to make it work!)

(Keith walks in)

Me: Mornin’ sweetie!

Keith: Want to go to Betty’s Kitchen for breakfast?

Me: Sure! Let me go shower.

***

Don’t judge. Betty’s makes a mean pumpkin pancake.