Monday, March 1, 2010

Seed Time

"Mom," I said, "would you rather marry a pleasant pothead, or your first cousin on a tractor? Both are associate professors," I hastened to add. 
"You marry your pothead if you like, as long as you wait a while. Let's say two years....[but] I think that the Lord appreciates a man on a tractor more than a man smoking marijuana in his pajamas," Mom said earnestly. "I know I do."
-- Rhoda Janzen, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress 

This is the time of year I begin to make my neighbors nervous. Seed time. They get a look at all the peat pots and grow lights in the basement and I'm sure they draw untoward conclusions.

Relax. It's only basil...and heirloom tomatoes; a  little cilantro; a sprig of dill; chervil; tarragon. Plus a few seeds from an incredibly rare heirloom pepper plant I spotted at a birthday party overlooking the river last Fall and promptly pocketed (I told them I was taking it, so it's not really stealing... but I'm sure I didn't make it sound like I was asking permission either.) I am a Ruthless Gardener. I plunder.

I've hosted four birthday dinners so far this year -- the ones where the birthday boy or girl gets to select their own favorite menu, start to finish (and it's only February, so I'm starting to think they're making them up) -- and I have two more to do this week. At each and every one, all I can think of is what it would be like to step out to the deck and snip even a few chives or a little parsley -- much less the perfect grape-sized billygoat tomato that would explode on your tongue in an almost unholy, and definitely unseemly manner.

If you think you detect the hushed tones I'd normally reserve for say... Porn... you're correct. (The way the little jiffy peat-pot disks expand and grow when you add water really are half-porn, half-SeaMonkey...and magical in any case.)

I express love -- and Lust -- with food, and without The Goods, I feel like I'm not expressing myself accurately, or wholly. Once that last harvest dries up, a part of me shrivels and dies with it every year. I've said it before, I am not myself in the Winter. And last fall was already slim pickins in the garden here in the 'Wood.

Last spring, just as I got everything going, the yard man came and accidentally cut it all to the ground. But that's what brought Chef DaveO and Chef Tom and the others into my life -- when they came and replenished all my basil and tomato plants (it felt so Amish -- very much like that barn-raising scene in Witness, except I wasn't topless like Kelly McGillis).

As God is my witness: I am planting enough crops this year to withstand PestoPocalypse 2010 for all of us.

1 comment:

  1. I feel so behind with the peet pot-ness. Need to get on it. Remember the gazpacho FPF that was supposed to happen last year? Def this year.