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.

Travel companions.

We’re looking at dates now. Perhaps we leave in a month. Perhaps longer. In all the planning there is, planning which plants to try and bring, which to give away, and who, if anyone, is eager to garden-sit… is quite overwhelming.

The three blackberries will go to a friend. The potted plum to my in-laws. Perhaps they’d like the blueberries, too.

Do you think this giant chard would mind two weeks in damp newspapers if I gave it a severe haircut first?

Napoleon will come with us. He first made the voyage here with us seventeen years ago as a little 1” specimen.

I’m tempted to harvest tomatoes green and wrap them in paper. A book I’ve just received discusses the method as a winter storage option. Surely it’s possible for any green tomatoes you might need to pick early.

The onions started falling over, so I’m starting their curing in batches. Trying this, learning that, one group of toppled tops at a time.

And then there are the carrots to pickle and the cucumbers to… pickle. Perhaps some dry beans will dry in time.

But I believe these are the last of my seeds I’ll sow for awhile. And I’ll never eat the sweet potatoes, okra, or melon on their way. I hope the popcorn finish as we’re ready to pack them in, and that the sweet corn make a delicious farewell feast appearance.

I’ll not count the gardens I’ve started and said goodbye to. I’ll remember this one as the best yet and the breeding ground for making home-farm dreams seem achievable. And I’ll miss it dearly, idyllically, forgetting the summer’s blasting heat coming and the bare earth during planting’s “winter” in the dead of July and August.

A hundred, or ninety.

I thought I’d wait 100 days. Back on February 10th, I thought that. It was a rainy day. A day the rain reminds you of a marina. Damp and grey in ways inland rains aren’t always.

I don’t eat potatoes often. I love them. In butter and salt. Roasted in oil and salt. Sliced and baked with cheese and butter. Mashed with heavy cream. Soup with cheddar and bacon. Gnocchi. I’m not sure there’s a way you can cook potatoes that I don’t salivate at.

There are a lot of things I love to eat that I don’t often. My body doesn’t love everything that I do, and I try my best to listen and respect its wishes.

But it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow. And mothering is a *thing*. So I’m indulging and will deal with the fallout in the days or weeks that follow.

And so, in the spirit of rebellion, of the personal and pensive sort, I dug potatoes. At ninety days. Any other heft they may have in ten days more I wouldn’t need, as more to eat would simply be prolonged temptation.

…I think this is fair to call prolonged temptation as it is.

I didn’t finish harvesting. The bucket was full.

I hope, today, tomorrow, and every day, your bucket is full. Full of fulfillment and hope. Full of rebellion and peace. Full of serenity and glee and so much in between. Fill up your bucket, however you need, but fill up your bucket indeed.

Not a boa constrictor.

Oh, gee, it’s nibbling my knee.

Oh, my, it’s up to my thigh.

Oh, fiddle, it’s up to my middle.

Oh, heck… it’s past my neck.

The sweet corn is taller than I am and tasseling.

Is tasseling a verb?

The words are all a-jumble most of the day most days right now. When they arrange into a harmonic pattern, I listen and grab a pencil before the mirage shifts into sands again. Or something. You know. You know?

My youngest and I tested the size of the fingerlings last weekend. Adorable. Another week to this weekend and whatever size they are they’re coming out for Mother’s Day.

And would y’all tell the onions to hurry up? I don’t need the space but now I’m just worried they’ll cook or rot or dehydrate before the tops topple. (Toppling is definitely a verb.)

The popcorn is still shorter. It had a later start. It’s shading carrots and black-eyed peas.

The cherry tomatoes have started, the green beans have had their third harvest and we’re on about an every-other-day harvest there. No squash is making it larger than a pinky. It is pretty shady there… the cucumbers, too.

The Tiger Eye dry beans are setting but the mystery ones aren’t blooming yet.

Did you know you can eat cilantro flowers? They aren’t bitter like the leaves after the bolt. A little citrusy maybe.

I’m rambling. The calendula bloomed again. I’m drying the blossom. Maybe for tea. Along with the stevia, mint, and mullein for tea.

Ok ok. Back to your regularly scheduled scrolling.

Bye bye, Brussels.

Four “trees” in a row.

I saw the harlequin beetles starting months ago. An abandoned plot there with an overgrown radish. Another ignored plot that way with some once-beautiful brassica. I sprayed them with the hose.

They didn’t bat an eye. Or a wing, either, seeing as I’m not sure if they have eyelids.

They multiplied.

Eventually the left-alone plots were cleared out or cleaned up. Eventually the beetles were repeatedly carried with the best of delayed intentions to the compost box.

Eventually they went looking for fresher, living, brassicas.

Like my kale. I didn’t count the squirts and squishes today as I ended each beetle‘s attempted relocation plan. I did count the bucketfuls of kale lost to them (2.)

I took these Brussels home and we processed them in the front yard. I’m not sure how far they can fly in search of food, or how many stowaways I had left after the clear and present danger of my thumbs, but processing the trees in the front yard at least gave my back yard a chance to avoid transference.

Until next year, Harlequin. Or perhaps you don’t populate where I’ll be in a year’s time and whatever I’ve encountered will make me miss you. As you are, at least, kind enough to be easily spotted.