Soon to be renowned!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

So Crazy It Just Might Work

In the ground? Whaaaaa ... ?
I can't tell you how pleased this makes me. Nay—giddy! Giddier than my daughter during the opening theme of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood; giddier than my daughter ... during the opening theme of Curious George. Or Octonauts—okay, we really need to introduce some new sources of unbridled joy into our parenting repertoire. Well, in any case, giddier than any grown man ought to be. 

But, come on ... those are happy potatoes in that there photo. The first we've ever had at Fencebroke. All hilled-up and everything. I feel like a farmer. 

So what did it take, you ask? Oh ... you don't? Well I'll tell you anyway. It took a radical departure. A scheme so brilliant, preposterous, and contrary to standard procedure that it could only come from the warped mind of a once-in-a-generation mad genius. 

Good thing I happened to marry her. 

You see, for the last several years, in my own dogged pursuit of space-saving, yield-maximizing solutions for the suburban garden, I have stubbornly erected a crude cedar tower to house our potatoes. And while this structure represents my single greatest achievement in carpentry to date (narrowly edging out the stick I whittled last Summer—and that was pretty darn sharp), it has repeatedly failed to fulfill its spudly potential. 

The idea is to start with a low frame and then build the tower taller and fill it in as the potato plants get taller. Lots of soil volume in a small area=lots of potatoes in a small area (someone check my math there, please). Really what happens is the potato plants get more and more pitiful as the Summer goes on and the soil gets deeper. I felt like a parent whose small children can't fathom why they are being made to suffer. I feel like that much of the time anyway ... but, you get the picture. Oh, you don't? Well for—come on, people! Meet me halfway here!

It wasn't working! That's all you need to know. We never managed to pull more than a handful of lonely potatoes scarcely larger than the seed spuds which begat them out of that cursed box.

So early this Spring, as I despondently dragged out the lumber to once again stack my fool's tower, the aforementioned mad-genius-who-also-happens-to-be-my-wife comes out and asks—like it's no big deal, mind you—she asks, like she's not shattering every urban-agricultural precept in my big thick head:

"Why don't we just plant them in the ground this year?"


<Mind exploding> Why don't we just plant them in the ground this year?

So I tried it, all the while feeling the naughty thrill of a disobedient child. Potatoes in the ground? What if someone catches us? What will people think? What will people say?

Look at the picture. I think they'll say, hey man, nice potatoes, can I have some? 

And now, of course, I'm eager to hear whatever other crazy gardening ideas my wife might come up with. Hey baby, what about cabbage moths? Peach leaf-curl? What could we do to get better germination from our carrot seeds? What should I do when the soil is dry? 

Okay—I know, I know, sorry, you can't rush genius. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

National Holidays

Does this girl look like she needs shortcake?

"Today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day!" my daughter Daisy was told this week by the friendly local produce man. It was a delightful claim and call to celebration, if a bit suspicious. First of all, Daisy just happened to be wearing her strawberry-print dress, a "coincidence" I find too unlikely to signify anything but an opportunistic fib the likes of which sales-driven cogs in the produce industry are taught in order to capitalize on the prevalence of fruit-themed childrens' clothing; and secondly, I had already been told by the butcher that very same day that we should all pick up a package of beef because today was National Ground Chuck Day. Which one is it, fellas? Strawberry shortcake or ground beef? IT CAN'T BE BOTH!

But since the audacious fruit "holiday" did in fact coincide with the year's first decent harvest of strawberries here at Fencebroke, and since I didn't have the heart to tell my 3-year-old she was being played like a fiddle by a global cabal of shadowy, produce-peddling oligarchs, I let her believe. Like in Santa Clause. I am a very good father. So, after only a brief 40-minute cautionary lecture about the pitfalls of Corporate Fruit, I let her pick and eat strawberries from our own garden. But no shortcake. As a lesson ... or something—I don't know, maybe I didn't feel like making shortcake. I am a very good father, but also lazy.

And then I made tacos, because dangit if I'm not a sucker for ground chuck. I mean it was, after all, a National Holiday.