Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Par for the Course

I’m sitting at the kitchen table. Though the temperature tops out in the high forties (and yes it is June) the back door is open. One of the hens incessantly clucks and I suspect she’s laying an egg. Benjamin, the labradork, wanders in and out, in and out. He occasionally pauses to sniff at the tomato seedlings on the patio.

I wonder what he smells. Me? I smell tomato worms. Which, in truth, is simply the aroma of the plants themselves but as a child this scent was filed as that of the worm. These plants don’t have worms. At least not yet.

The seedlings are soaking up the sun which sporadically peers out from the clouds. I’m guarding them, these precious progeny of mine; wary of impending rain and/or hail that would destroy a months nurturing in seconds.

I’m hardening these plants off; cutting the apron strings as it were. The tomatoes will spend their adolescence frolicking with the sun, the wind, the rain and varying temperatures. They might as well get used to it now. Strong stalks and deep roots will be important. I hope I’m instilling both.

I check my other babies. Heirloom basil seedlings soon to sprout in my table top terrarium. Nothing yet. That’s to be expected as they were only planted yesterday. This cold wet spring is testing my patience; a skill I’m told is a virtue. A skill I’ve not yet mastered.

The wind rustles through the ponderosas. If I close my eyes it sounds like the ocean, waves rhythmically coming ashore, consistent, ever-present.

Frogs croak in the background. Build a pond in suburbia, the desert no less, and frogs will come. How do they find it? How do they get here? Clearly these amphibians know something I do not. Though I, too, have come to the desert. Come to live an improbable life and to grow where no woman has grown before (or something like that).

With the sky getting darker I carry the seedlings indoors. Back to their yellow formica table. Back to their south facing window. Back to the relative heat of the house. The room smells like soil. I inhale deeply. I love the smell of the earth and plants. I’m enjoying my dining room aka greenhouse.

And now it’s time to start some bread then pick up the girls from school. I’m planning on soup for tonight’s dinner. If I’m lucky, if the weather cooperates, we’ll get our ingredients from the season’s first farmers market. Parsnips and pears and onions oh my!

We’ll see. It seems I brought the seedlings in just in time. Thunder rumbles in the distance. It seems thunder is par for the course this time of year.

Oh fickle spring and your erratic weather. I do hope summer is just around the bend.


Debi said...

Great post! Your reference to frogs finding water had me laughing out loud. They find our pool every night and we find them swimming or floating in the morning... gross! We rescue the live ones and they happily hop away. But oddly we have never seen frogs just hopping around our backyard... ever! So how do they find water???

maia said...

I have the same smell connection with tomato worms!! Must have been a R/C thing. No tomato worms here in OR, at least none that I've seen. Hope the garden does well this year!

Shalet said...

@Debi -- no kidding. Frogs have a strange homing sense. Who knows how they do it.

@Maia -- so glad I'm not the only one. Glad to hear of the lack of worms. Fingers crossed.

Deeapaulitan said...

Spring is so sweet, fickle or otherwise! Loving the sprouts and buds and blooms ... and frogs! :)

I mentioned this on your comment to a post on my blog, but I'll leave it here too. I'm headed your way this summer. We'll be beginning a road trip to Yachauts (sp?) the 23rd or 24th of July, spending a couple days with family in Yauchats, and then road tripping home again. Hope you'll be around and we can see you. It'll just be the girls and I. J is flying into Eugene the day reunion begins, and flying out the day it ends.

Casey said...

You have a great deal more fortitude than I do to grow your plants from seeds. I just go buy 'em at Zamzow's, usually with blooms already on them. I'm trying basil for the 5th year in a row and hope that it isn't a total failure for the 5th year in a row. I'm container gardening this time.

Shalet said...

Well we'll see how it goes. Today would have been a great day to put them out for some more sun. Unfortunately I was sleeping off the night shift. There's always tomorrow.

And this is my first attempt at basil. I'm still waiting for it to sprout. I'm dreaming of caprese salad (even better if I learn to make mozzarella between now and then).

If I can't go to Italy I'm going to bring Italy to me!