Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spring Showers Bring...Road Trips

Once the great Turnip Green disaster of 2012 was averted, I thought for sure my garden was on its way. Seedlings were popping up, squash and cucumber vines began sending out their first runners, and my pumpkins appeared to have been set into pure fertilizer. Visions of fresh vegetables danced through my head at night, and on Sunday mornings I couldn't wait to be on the road to measure the week's progress. Then - another crisis.

From Mother's Day until Father's Day, I was out of town. Not for business, not for fun, but for family issues. First, my 92 year old mother lives with my brother and his family. My sister-in-law was getting a well deserved break and would be gone for two weeks. Since my brother has odd hours (he's a doctor), my sister and I decided to split the assignment between the two of us. So for ten day I 'baby sat' my mother. It was wonderful.

I had always been a Daddy's girl,. My mother and I get along, but I'm a strange child (it says so in my baby book). Only when my dad died early did Mother and I finally come to a mutual place from which to base our adult relationship. When she could no longer drive herself around, my brother moved her into his house in South Carolina. It was the best thing (did I mention she is 92?) and we all agreed it was time, but afterward I discovered it hurt.

Spending ten days sitting with my mom, talking, working crossword puzzles, watching every game show on television, fixing her meals - it was glorious. For really the first time in my adult life we related and bonded and discussed past history which cannot be undone. When Memorial Day weekend rolled around and it was time to go home, I was so sad I didn't even listen to the radio the entire three hour drive. I wanted to just savor the moment.

Well, the next day I returned to my little slice of vegetable heaven, only to discover nothing had been done in 10 days. Okay, in gardening terms, ten days is an entire season. The weeds were taking over. I lost my carrots, my lettuce, my peppers, everything that wasn't a squash, pumpkin, cucumber or beans had simply been overwhelmed. For five hours I pulled and grunted and cursed (again) my city-slicker hubby, but as the sun began to sink over the horizon there was a semblance of order in my plot.

Then, less than a week later, my aunt died. Back out of town I go, knowing that when I returned there would be more weeds to wrangle, plus they were cutting hay that week. I prayed no one would run over the pumpkins, which by this time had already started to bloom. Returning six days later, I raced up the expressway only to discover - more zucchini and summer squash than Carter has Little Pills (obscure 60's reference - look it up!).

When I say zucchini, I mean green blimps! These monsters were at least 7 pounds a piece and as long as my arm. Nothing close to the grocery store zucchini. My first thought was: did I plant the wrong seeds? But then I looked at summer squash and they were enormous yellow pillows! You think I am kidding? One summer squash made a casserole that fed three people for four days! My hubby asked if I bought the seeds from some mutant source. They were huge and they didn't stop coming for weeks. Even my usually eager town friends were saying no thanks, we've had enough.

Harvesting everything that was ready took two extra large storage tubs from Wal Mart. After some more weeding (those turnip greens were stubborn little twits), I left knowing that upcoming weekend I would again be out of town - this time for a family wedding in Ohio!

Well, the gardening fun didn't stop there. Next time, we will discuss who knows more: my city boy husband, or me?

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