Unexpected Joy

I was going to be very sad to announce that due to the uncertainty of my husband's employment situation, we have abandoned our extensive and interesting landscaping plans for this year. No raised beds for me :(

BUT then something unexpectedly lovely happened!

Preparing for the worst, which I enjoy in a odd way, involves being ready to move at the drop of a hat. THAT has happened to me before and its not pretty. So, I'm preparing to move. Just in case. At worst, my house will be VERY organized and clutter-free.

That means finding a good home for all those seeds and plants that I let the children order! And, let me tell you, they picked some real doozies! Yugoslavian Finger Squash. African Horned Cucumber. Ancient french cantalopes. Giant pumpkins and watermelons. Minature pumpkins and watermelons.Yellow cucumbers. Red okra. White carrots. Heirloom tomatos in 48 different varieties! Minature bell peppers in 4 colors. White bell peppers. Green and Yellow squashes shaped like billard balls. Red, Yellow, Orange, White watermelons. Every variety of radish known to man. Ok. Maybe not EVERY radish. But it seems like it.

And thats just the stuff that readily comes to mind. There's actually more than that.

It all goes back to when I was a little girl. The catalogs were SO pretty. I absolutely loved looking at them. It would keep me occupied for hours and hours and hours. All the "exotics" were so full of possibilities.

But we never ordered any of them. Living on a farm with hundreds of acres, we never ordered any of them. Seriously, acres and acres of garden, and we never ordered any of them. No. Instead WE planted five acres of one kind of watermelon. The kind my mother declared was the "best kind". Crimson Sweet. Admittedly, Crimson Sweet is an absolutely delightful watermelon. Possibily the "best". BUT, I've never understood how that precluded planting even the smallest hill of any other kind!

Same thing with green beans. And cucumbers. And corn. See how this goes?

Sometimes, my dad would let me plant a couple of different kinds of radishes. But nothing too extreme! Afterall, extreme plants weren't practical.

We lived on the opposite end of the farm from my dad's parents. They were "retired" but still farming, and my dad worked in a lab in town. Its not like money was a problem. And its not like they were bitter frugal people. For a long time I didn't understand. But they had lived through The Depression. They had been fine, but they saw things that change a person. And being impractical was almost a sin. Don't get me wrong. My grandparents had a quick laugh and played games with the children and grandchildren all day on Sunday. But they never ... threw caution to the wind. And they ingrained that caution in my dad, although I sometimes wonder if my grandmother didn't regret it. Maybe there's something about grandchildren that gives you perspective. I think grandchildren have changed my dad. He's both more relaxed about some things, and more tense about other things. And I think its appropriate things!

Back on topic, I had to find a good home for the plants. Remember? The wildly exciting plants I talked about earlier? Anyway ... I talked to my brother and my dad, who live on opposite ends of the farm now, explaining to them that plants and seeds would begin arriving and that they should prepare for the onslaught. And that I didn't want the plants abandoned in some field, but rather they better be in the yard where my five year old nephew can "baby" them.

This announcement was met with hestitation and pause. Not that it matters. You know how I am. OK. The important thing is that THEY know how I am. And, so ...

My brother has plans for raised beds in his backyard. And some containers on the patio. His wife and son are onboard. He has no hope of slacking.

I had my dad out counting the flower pots and inspecting the raised beds. He's going to need some more. With an injured shoulder, he won't be able to manage prep alone so I'm taking the kids there for "Spring Break". They'll be able to help. For example, I'll need a lot of dirt sifted for the carrots. And for the radishes. I know its a little early to plant them, BUT I'm going to prep the giant flower-pots and then cover them. All my dad will have to do is remove the cover and plant! He doesn't actually KNOW what I'm going to do yet, he just knows I'm coming. (Cue the music for Jaws ... )

Now, for the UNEXPECTED JOY!

When I sent my dad the Baker Creek heirloom catalog, he decided to order a few new and exciting things. So. He ordered a few tomatoes. All of them red and "normal" looking. When I told him weeks ago what I was ordering, I could almost see him shaking his head in disbelief. Gloom. "Those won't grow worth anything." "They won't sell at the market." "People don't like those." And now all those doomed varieties are on their way to his farm! No avoiding it. No responsibility for it!

I talked to him this morning about onions. Then, out of the blue, he CONFESSED!

Yesterday, the weather was nice, so he was going to run a harrow over the lower garden. instead, in a fit of passion, he hooked up the plow and went at it! Not to mention my mother caught him burrowing in the raised beds in the yard. For the first time in 25 years, he's setting up a cold-frame!

He is absolutely GIDDY at the prospect of the exciting plants and seeds arriving! And thats really SUPER nice to see :)

Practically worth the fact that I'll have to wait until next year to plant stuff. Of course, next year most of the seeds will be free. I bought my brother the definative book on seed-saving (which he wanted) so he's thrilled!

And we're getting my nephew garden-equipment for his birthday next week :p

That's a lot of unexpected joy!

Make Waves

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