Grateful every day and extra today.

We say our “gratefuls” most every day. I’m sure we forget every so often. For months my youngest was always grateful for broccoli and cheese. I can’t really blame him.

For awhile my eldest couldn’t ever say what she was grateful for. She couldn’t choose. Sometimes we’d hold up what we we doing until she agreed to some thing from the day we knew she’d enjoyed. Eventually we just let her skip when she needed to.

I am grateful for thousands of potential future carrots.

For a few years, I posted daily on social media every day in November a few things I was randomly grateful for that day.

I quit social media a few years ago, unless you count this. I started up a new platform early-covid. I quit it in August. And then my mom asks a few days into December if I still do daily gratitudes in November and if I’d do them with her. I’d forgotten all about that aspect of this habit.

Sure, I said. And we didn’t get to every day. It’s been an odd month in our family, let alone “with everything that’s going on.” I do think that’ll be the catch phrase of this year. Is the safe gauge to ask someone how things are going “with everything that’s going on” and let them decide which pieces of that everything they’d like to talk about.

I think she forgot to do today’s and I think I did as well.

As my husband and I are teaching our children that thanksgiving is a day to practice gratitude like we do most every day, but that in our family it is to be particularly aware of and grateful for having enough food to eat and share that we spend time making, sharing, and eating good food.

As we’re waiting another year or two to talk about what other people may be celebrating today, or why there are pilgrim hats on turkeys everywhere, they’ll forget to be grateful for broccoli and cheese (as they are busy being grateful for pumpkin pie and homemade challah and mashed potatoes.

It doesn’t feel like thanksgiving to me until it smells like challah in my home.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this year the things that are small are easier to be aware of and grateful for than the past. The slowing down is to thank. The daily life differences between Too Much Corporate and Never Too Much Playtime. The effort and the lack of other efforts.

I’m grateful for the hope I feel when I see the first curls hinting at cabbage heads. Or broccoli bunches. Or cauliflower.

Cauliflower’s dreaming of snowballs.

Refresh. Refresh.

One of the gardens, mostly refreshed.

But also, my screen time on my phone is up over last week by more than 60% on average and it’s only Friday morning. You don’t want to know the hard numbers from Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some things don’t need to be neat and tidy. I like the dandelions in the soil around the Brussels sprouts with a carrot laying on top.

Their roots come out eventually, going into a saved glass jar to wait for a future glass of tea. The greens go in my eggs if they’re just my eggs. If the eggs are for sharing, they feed the compost just as well.

Other things need to be immaculate or immaculately accurate. Surgeries. Library shelves. Counting rooms.

I do hope that, eventually, people stop imagining dandelions where there are none. I do hope, eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later, this country can refresh itself. Removing the noxious and watching the beneficial move into the open space left behind.

I do hope. Still.

Can’t catch ‘‘em all

A missed sweet potato showing its hands next to the winter brassicas.

It’s been a decent sweet potato year. I tested yield differences between ones left to creep and crawl and ones given climbing options.

Both varieties gave noticeably higher yields under trellis, the purple Japanese variety really pulling out all the stops in a combined test of second year growth (volunteer list from last year) and shared trellis with a melon. I got maybe 30 lbs from that one spot.

I kept going for a good while after taking a progress photo.

I am not sure between Vardaman and Yellow Jewel how yields were, as they got eaten quickly and I hadn’t labeled the spots, mistakenly thinking I’d be able to tell them apart upon harvest. Both were creamy and tasty, and much less floral than the purple ones (the only way I can think to describe it, it’s not a bad thing.)

The purple ones are also more starchy and fibrous, but the yields on them are impressive in the second year. In the first year they mostly vine and send down a web of roots, seemingly to prepare for next year. No wonder I’ve yet to see slips for them for sale. (These I started in my pantry from organic ones from the grocery store.)

I imagine future sowings will depend heavily on future location climate more so than preference. If I were staying put another year, I wouldn’t add any more purple ones, as I’m sure I left some in the ground already, but would likely triple my creamier varieties to 36 plants, all trellised, and see if I couldn’t get a proper scale.

Delicious, nutritious, purple snowflakes.

She can spot ‘em

Green lacewing eggs

She flits and flies, tornadoeing or tiptoeing, most everywhere with a wave of insistent energy. Screeching to a halt (at times complete with sound effects) to alert the world of the wonders she’s found.

Whether these eggs have become more prevalent due to our watering and planting, or I simply am made aware of their existence more than I’d go looking myself, she finds them everywhere, all the time, and always with delight.

A caterpillar hunter turned green lacewing observer, who thankfully will still help squish harlequin beetles, is growing and growing all around me (as she often is running in circles.)

I just will.

Hello.

It’s been awhile.

A full while.

A raucous while at times. A sobering while sometimes. A monotonous or wild while on occasion.

I won’t try to catch up all at once or fully ever.

I’ll just say hello. I’ve been thinking of you.

I call him Stinky Sherbert. (I’m open to knowing the actual name.)

Offerings.

Jade green beans offering future pods. To the neighboring plot’s Bermuda grass? To the rabbits outside the fence? Or perhaps, to me. Or the birds if I’m gone.

Every so often someone tells me they don’t have a green thumb. Sometimes my thumb cracks and splits in its brown stained skin, but rarely is it green. Those rare times are paired with a green index finger because I’ve been squashing harlequin beetles and their drunken juices of plant blood paints my skin for a time.

Recently a woman I know said the same as an excuse for not knowing what a corn ear worm was. It reminded me of something I read less recently about how common it is now to preface a statement with a qualifier of a group one belongs to. “As an X person, I think Y.” Or, as a person with A experience, my perspective on this is B.”

The piece went on to discuss how such a qualifier seems to negate the ability to enter into discourse. I cannot begin to disagree with Y or B, without it being taken as an affront to the person’s experience as a person of X or A.

And so this woman qualified her lack of knowledge in the tamest way, and while it isn’t the same line of thinking as the piece I read, it does remind me how somehow, often women, provide an excuse for their curiosity or lack of knowledge. Why is that? What conditioning created that habit and why does it persist?

Anyway. Double digressions entwined in a mess.

I don’t feel as though I have a green thumb. I feel as though I offer seeds to the soil and watch them burst, wobble, or waiver. If I think I start to know better, nature will usually bop me for my arrogance. Then follow the bop with an offering of her own in the form of new knowledge of how she works, or when to step back, or simply a beautiful “weed.”

Like this dandelion wisher joining the melon blossom and onion seed head in a trio of round smiles.

A respite attempt ruined at the start but made in the end.

We climbed in the hammock

awash in flies

the hammock

not she, nor I.

She squimpered. I grusked.

She’d spent the whole day frumping,

I figured she must

have found the next thing

that pissed off her fancy.

I softened then when

I saw what she’d spied

a puddle of gnats

who’d yet to have flied

or perhaps had alit

to our colorful place

to create such a fit

from supposed sugar and lace.