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.

Abundance.

Poppyseed prevalence.

Gardeners chatting yesterday more than most days. A yellow mask. A blue. A cherry blossom and Robin covered one. Kombucha. Peppers. Birds and onions.

“Now, about sourdough starters…” she said.

“Would you like some?” I offered.

She pointed to her plot, we coordinated a time (ish.) I fed my starter and put hers into a washed old peanut butter jar.

The dew this morning is so thick it reaches to the sky. I hope she finds the jar with the note still dry enough to read.

“It’s just survival”

“Do you want to get away to the garden for a bit?“

It’s a kind question. An offer. The answer is yes (always, always, always yes.) I extract myself from limbs, ceding my space as headrest, blanket, octopus, to him.

I take the dog, who is missing his ‘brother,’ and am ‘caught’ by the dog catcher for not having him on leash before he attempts to elevate his lead butt into the back of the car. I assure her I have the leash and am simply getting him in the car. She is nonplussed. I don’t actually care.

There’s one other gardener when we arrive. Parked where I park. I park by a different gate.

I hear a drill. A hammer. I gather my remembered things, check my mask, and I see him. His plots are across from one of mine, between my two. He’s constructing a gate.

When it’s time to switch plots and we plod by, I comment on the rabbits. “It’s just survival” he says. I nod, agreeing that everything has a stomach. He chortles.

And we’re done. Back to our attempted solitude, shared.

It begins to rain. I haven’t remembered the right tool to cut the Brussels’ trunks. I go about removing sad leaves and harvesting what’s left. The rain increases. Tucked in a ball, low and small, the Brussels sprouts’ canopy shelters me mostly from the angled drops. I continue.

A whine. A soft, slow not-whimper. I look over. My dog is melting. Trying not to, attempted stoicism, but failure.

I pack up, trek my refuse to the compost bin, and load my grateful pooch into the back, with a leash, but with a running start.

Where? When?

I was intent on sowing the next crop between the leeks. Black-eyed peas, specifically, since I’m not allowed any more tomatoes (which I still don’t like… I know…) and don’t have access to any more peppers (which are either too hot for me, but grow well for me, or I love to eat, but can’t seem to get a good crop off of…) and it’s not *quite* sweet potato time. Well, and I’d have to dig up the leeks to sow those.

But I can’t actually see the ground between these lovelies. I can if I squat. I can if I really try. But then I figure I’d disturb the little bean roots (or are they technically peas?) when I do start pulling leeks. So… the first sowing went between the onion rows instead.

I do have to wait for these to fall over, right? Are we talking days still? Or weeks yet?

And curing them is a day in the shade or the sunshine before a week in the garage? I’ll need to recheck.

It’s… Wednesday, right?