Not A Hoarder

Have you ever noticed how nobody lets you say you stink at something anymore?

Is it midwest nice? Has the ugly and pervasive habit some people have of saying they are bad at something just to hear others tell them that they aren’t seeped into our souls so we think it’s expected of us? Have we swung to such a stupidly positive culture that we can’t admit our faults anymore?

For instance. I am a bad housekeeper. However if I say this I am immediately met with claims that my house is in fact nice, tidy and clean. Since I can count the times I’ve washed the floor in this house on both legs and don’t believe in dusting these claims are ridiculous, uneducated and clearly false. My housekeeping has maxed out on the level of “not a hoarder”. And I am for better or worse totally fine with that.

Neither am I one of those who will claim to be poor at something just so that I can be praised. I’m not a huge fan of telling people my faults. I’d rather run with the idea that I can do anything, but of course I can’t, or in terms of house cleaning, won’t. So if I humble myself to admitting that I’m terrible at something don’t try to talk me out of it. That’s terrible for my ego and John still has to live with me.

In an effort to once and for all say, “I am a terrible housekeeper” without trying to be talked out of it I give you Exhibit A:

This tenacious little plant grew in my sink strainer under a large pile of clean dishes. Yes, I was home the whole time. (No, John was not, which is certainly a factor in its appearance.) Yes, it does have a root that goes down just as far as it is stretching up for light and yes I did transplant it into my greenhouse next to the other tomatoes. And yes, I can tell you, after raising many tomatoes from seed, a tomato plant doesn’t grow that fast overnight!

Now, next time you hear me say I stink at cleaning the house you can sympathize, you can tell me about your own plants you accidently grew, you can tell me it doesn’t bother you but please, for the love of sprouting tomatoes, don’t try to argue that I have a clean house!

Some Years Are Not For Gardening.

Some years are not for gardening.

This year my extended family needed me. My grandpa’s failing health has had me away from home all the days I can spare, and some that I probably could not. But given the choice of helping out family or digging in the dirt I turned my back on my gardens and left.

Not to say that I never touched a plant, I did pull a few weeds from the flower bed in front of the house every now and then.   I put six tomato plants in the ground, rather late, and ignored the rest of the perennial flower beds around the house.

The ignored beds did what patches of growing things do best. They grew. They grew many beautiful flowers, and at least two bouquets made it to our table. Had I taken the time to harvest them I would have had a bumper crop of weeds of all kinds. There are now even some small trees poking up between the lilies. The rose bed outside the backdoor was the most impressive of the ignored patches. A thick plot of extra prickly roses I’ve never really liked grew wild until, even when I had a chance, the thought of wading into the thorns was daunting enough I moved on to other jobs that clamored for attention and promised less blood loss. The bindweed covered those roses like a blanket and I gave it a secret wink, I really don’t like those roses… Then, late in the summer a vine started growing.. and growing… and only the lawnmower kept it confined to the “garden” it came from. The rosebushes now devoid of their sickly sweet scented flowers disappeared completely. For a while the vine produced unfamiliar white flowers that I admired and wondered at as I slammed in and out of the back door on my way to take care of the poultry in the orchard or let the never ending stream of dogs in and out.

These last weeks I’ve been away from the house every other day and I’ve given up on the gardens entirely. Spring will come again with it’s promise of new beginnings and fresh growth.  And I’ll wade through the mess of them then, happy to be outside. But now it’s fall and winter and freezing weather is fast approaching. Now I fly past the gardens to mow the orchard one last time, prepare the chicken house for winter and drain water lines.

Last night was the first frost of the year.

It was a light frost, many things were hardly touched, but the vine by the back door was blacked and withered by the end of the day. This evening, when letting the dogs out I glanced down in my neglected garden and saw it…

… I don’t know where the seeds came from, or what it’s supposed to be but this 15 pound gourd grew just 8 inches from the back door. Covered and hidden until now, it was a surprise that made us laugh out loud when we saw what we missed. And it was a reminder that life goes on even if we aren’t watching.  My gardens will still be there in the spring and maybe they’ll have more surprises in store for me once I take the time to look again.

This is a story of my garden, and the things seen and unseen. But while missing the growing life outside my backdoor I’ve been living it at my childhood home. Helping my parents run the property, laughing over crosswords with my Granny and telling Grandpa about it all. Life goes on, even if we aren’t watching. All we have to do is decide where to look.