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You Probably Don’t Want Pictures of Dirt

May 31, 2008


So here’s a flower on my golden chain tree.

The aforementioned dirt is the vegetable garden, which is tremendously exciting but currently not much to look at. The sorry little rags of green are the beans, squash, and tomatoes, newly transplanted from their pots. They weren’t real happy about the transition and are currently sulking. To add insult to injury I planted a seed next to each plant just in case it croaks.
Four rows of corn and three of potatoes still look like plain dirt. Where’s the excitement? I pre-sprouted the corn seeds and let the potatoes develop leafy little eyes before planting. (That counts as excitement to me.)
I had near zero germination on my basil seeds. Four packets, four different types of basil (and not that weird cinnamon or lemon basil, or — heaven forbid — purple ruffles, but good green cooking basil) and I got two measly seedlings. We had to go to four different stores and nurseries today to find sufficient basil, and a sorry lot it was, probably because of the frost earlier this week.
Despite how grumpy this all sounds, I am thrilled. It’s not just that I’m nuts, although if you saw me printing out labels for each plant (Which font? That required thought. I chose Verdana because it sounds green.), cutting them out with a rotary cutter and ruler, and taping them onto the blank metal markers (with exactly six pieces of tape on each) you’d know that one of my oars is not fully in the water.
I’ve been trying to put my finger on what makes this garden so exciting and important to me, and it isn’t the garden. It’s that the whole family is working together on it. Although we all took a part in each task, my daughter and I did most of the planting, and my husband and son did the much of the grunt work on the fence.
And we all had fun with the tools. Red Green had it right:

If at first it doesn’t work, force it. If it still doesn’t work, switch to power tools.

You should have seen my son with the electric drill. He got to drill through metal, which made loud and horrible and terribly exciting sounds. I, in contrast, like hanging the tools on the pegboard in the garage, each in its own assigned space. My daughter and husband take a more practical approach: tools exist to get the job done. They don’t care if they’re excitingly sharp or noisy or otherwise of note, they just use them. Weird.

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