Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Mountain Man's Magic Beans

It's been pretty mild here in my part of the world this week, and naturally a young (Talk about poetic license!) girl's heart turns to spring fancies...
Every spring, the Mountain Man plants a vegetable garden. It's mostly for fun. (His gardening sustains us in the vegetable department about as much as his hunting keeps us in meat---He has all the right toys, but in the long run, it's more about the fun than reaping the proceeds!)

Anyway, his garden usually just consists of a bunch of tomato plants and zucchini and cucumbers. But I am (was?) a city girl, and I wanted to learn to garden proper.
The first thing Mountain Man did was buy me a cute little pair of gardening gloves and a pair of work boots. He knows the way to my heart is through my feet (mainly by buying me shoes!), however, the word WORK boots should have been an omen!

Now, the Mountain Man wasn't just a weekend gardener. It should be stated here that his family had hugely sustainable produce and livestock farms right here in our neighborhood since the late 1600's. And we have sheds full of all that (ahem) modern day equipment.

In the yard where our dogs now romp, once grazed cattle, pigs, horses, and chickens. And where there are animals, one can always find animal poop. And after generations of such composting, our soil is perfect for producing the proverbial shit load of produce!

I, who have never grown anything other than a few kids (and the final results still aren't in on THEM!!), was totally ready to do the Ma Ingalls gardening thing. Except, of course, with better foot wear.

Our first planting season together (sounds like we were trying to make a baby---trust me--NOT), anyway, that first spring, the Mountain Man goes down to the local feed store (read-AGWAY) and comes home with packets of seeds.

Just as I am ready to sprinkle them about while whistling "Ring Around The Rosey", he comes out of the shed dragging a contraption that looks akin to something you should hitch a covered wagon up to. "This," he proclaims rather proudly, "is the rototiller". Apparently, before you plant seeds, someone must till the roto, which must be an ancient term for hard as a fucking rock dirt. And that soMEone, was, yup, you guessed it. Me.

I get behind (and NOT in a good way!) this dinosaur of a farm implement, and proceed to push, goad, shove, and curse forward....up and down a huge patch of land. Up one row, turn while trying not to fall on my ass, and up the next row. I may have looked like Ma Ingalls on a bad day, but there's no way in hell I sounded anything like her, as I grunted, sweat, and made up entirely new curse words made just for farming. And my cheerful whistling had taken on a strangely low baritone key as I sung "Swing low, sweet chariot..."

After what seemed like eternity (read - ten minutes), my loving Mountain Man comes to my rescue and shows me that the hunk of metal on the side of my Roto-Rooting-Tiller-O-Matic is what they apparently call on more modern farms, quite simply, a motor. Guess how many new curse words I came up with especially for him!

Well, once we entered the 19th century, the planting and sowing moved right along. We watered, and weeded and watched as our little patch of once hard as a fucking rock dirt became a garden.

Never having produced anything other than the occasional story on a keyboard before, I was awed more and more each day as our seeds became seedlings, then plants, and lo and behold, fruit was born, or borne? Or did we bear fruit? Or maybe bore it, by talking too much? Anyway, frigging fruit was just there one day.

We had ears of corn growing, and while we planted enough corn to bear/bore/boar? 200 ears of corn, no one was more proud than I of the measly six that DID grow.

Zucchini and tomatoes were so plentiful, that our friends would pretend they weren't home if we showed up with a plastic bag bearing (baring?) our fruits. And let me tell you, it's not just during the harvesting season that my Mountain Man likes to come baring his fruits!

One evening, during our daily sojourn through the wilds of our little garden, I noticed that we even had little cantaloupes growing to about the size of a peach. I was simply amazed at how fast things grew out there, and I said as much to the Mountain Man...He, who had helped me to create this little miracle garden....a little symbol of our love, if I may be just a tad uncharacteristically mushy.

The very next night, we tiptoed through our tomato plants with our youngest farm hand (read-unpaid child labor). When we came upon the cantaloupe section, kind of like the sections in the market, except without the air conditioning and WITH lots of bugs, anyway, we came to the cantaloupes, and NOW they were about 7 or 8 inches around!

I marveled my amazement at the growth rate of our garden--think My Cousin Vinny and the magic grits that cooked faster on a stove where the laws of physics do not apply!---

I turned to see one small farm hand and one supposedly loving partner/gardener doubled over with laughter. It seems the two of them had made a few trips to the market, replacing my growth stunted cantaloupes with hearty fresh bought sugar babies.
Yep, one even still had the PAID sticker on the damned thing. They had even tied several ears of corn to the stalks I had supposedly sweat over and nurtured from seeds!!!


I will say this, though, those store bought sugar baby cantaloupe were delicious. And the deformed ones I grew? Let's just say The Mountain Man made for a good target!

1 comment:

Christine said...

I love this! And if I were your neighbor I would welcome your bare fruits, or your bearing fruit, or... oh whever, I'd like some free veggies.

Oh and your word verification this time is "bingeda" is your blog talking smack about my father?