It's not about the house.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

In the Weeds

Between the ceaseless showers of spring (and, so far, summer) in Massachusetts, and the ministrations of mean Mama Mockingbird in the yard, Johnny's garden got a bit away from him this year. Although I really shouldn't say "this year." The truth is, for one reason or another, Johnny's garden always manages to get away. Every June the two of them start out on the earnest road to productivity together, and yet somehow around the first of every August I come home to find the cheeky little bugger pressed up against the back wall of the house, or crouched behind the woodpile, or perched atop the flat part of the roof, giggling and overgrown with weeds.

Which is why I'm so careful to specify that it is "Johnny's garden." I may not pull weeds, either, but at least I make that fact clear right up front. The truth is there's never been any love lost between myself and the plant kingdom -- I used to poke holes in my mother's houseplants with my thumbnail, and I once wrote an angry screed comparing hydrangeas to Hummel figurines -- so the extent of my back-and-forth with cellulose each summer is to maybe, one or two times, mow the lawn. I decided long ago that Johnny was free to delude himself into pretending there would be a garden at the AssVac, but I would not be suckered into the charade, no matter how big a shop of horrors it becomes.

This year, though, it really is much worse. Because of the rain, and of a certain Mocking Hen that isn't me.

Now, as much as I profess to hate the garden, I do love when it produces. We never get much -- which may have to do with the dearth of sunlight in the yard, the poor drainage in our dead-level quarter-acre, or the fact that, well, those poor plants have got a lot of competition. But still. For two or three weeks a year I can decide what's for dinner each night based on what's almost ripe enough that afternoon. If I want a sandwich, I can go pick a tomato. And that's nice.

But not this year.

This year, there is finally more than one tomato on the vine, but they all remain a steadfast (I wanted to say stubborn, but I'm trying not to anthropomorphize them) shade of green. The little bastards.

Last week we had one zucchini and one yellow squash. The week before that -- if I'm remembering correctly -- there was a handful of green beans. And yesterday there would have been a cucumber...

No. In fact, there was a cucumber. I know because I was there when Johnny picked it. He was standing hip-deep in the weeds, found a cucumber, and tossed it out onto the grass to collect later. It was a weird cucumber, but it was a cucumber nonetheless. It looked a little like a crookneck squash. A really big, cucumber-colored crookneck squash. Like a regular cucumber, but with a skinny, crooky neck tacked on the end.

You know?

Maybe not. Maybe you all have perfect Martha Stewart gardens and have never seen such a crook-necked abomination, so maybe you can't picture what I mean. If so, please rest assured that I'm not trying to be difficult. I'd love to show you a photo, but I can't. Because, well, while it was lying there on the grass, waiting with crook-necked patience for Johnny to crawl out of the weeds and pick it up, something large and black and goofbally flashed by:

And then this happened:

My mother's dog ate my husband's cucumber. There's something inherently wrong with that idea. And it's not just the fact he's been releasing 90-pound-dog farts every twenty minutes since then, either.

That was 48 hours ago, so don't worry about the beast, he's doing fine. He's not rolling around in gaseous agony. That's glee. As for the AssVac's other beast, well, at least he had a sugar-induced coma from the friendly next-door-neighbor's homemade and hand-delivered cream slices to console him.

And today, we'll buy cucumbers at the store.


beardonaut said...

Does Johnny know you've published that pic of him? I'm not complaining, mind you, I feel like I may have found soul-mates in both of you now.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there some dish some Americans cook with green tomatoes? Sounds weird to me, but then what would a convict know about good taste.

Jen said...

Newspapers in the garden make a huge difference in the amount of weeds that sprout up..... Tell Johnny.

jen said...

Our garden is not so much overrun by weeds, as it is mosquitos. Asshole mosquitos. I refuse to go out there anymore.
If there is a tomato to be picked? My thick skinned grandfather can do it.
Bastard mosquitos.
Oneofum bit me on the side of the face. THE FACE.

Sparkle Plenty said...

By george. I, too, may have found soulmates in you both--and in Beardonaut, too, by triangulation.

And, that dog is SO cute. A virulently farting vegetable felon. Yes, indeedy. But: A deucedly cute virulently farting vegetable felon.

beardonaut said...

Sparkle: you like Fawlty Towers and toy airplanes, so you must be a good person.

EGE said...

Beardo -- Yes, he knows. He's not proud. And if you and your girl ever come to Boston, we both want to give you both big hugs.

12 -- Well, I make piccalilli with 'em in the fall. It's a relish that also has cabbage and green peppers in it. I can't stand yhe shit myself, but my grandmother and mother both made it every year, so when the weather turns I feel the ache in my DNA. if I do it this year, I'll show you. Also, some southerners slice 'em up and cook 'em fried, but being a Yankee I don't know much about that. You'll have to ask Jenni.

Jenni! -- I told him. He said he knows that. He said he knows that, but why should he bother if he's not going to get any vegetables anyway? We've been fighting enough these days for me to decide the best plan was to just let that one go. La la...

Jen -- You still have a grandfather!? I'm so jealous! I would totally get eaten by mosquitoes if it meant I could come back in to either of my two beloved Grampys. (PS Oneofum bit me between my TOES. A mossie, that is -- as Johnny calls 'em -- not a grandfather.)

Sparkle -- Well, if you're ever in Boston (which a little birdy claims is more likely than it would be for our Bearded Friend), we'll hug you, too!

beardonaut said...

He should be proud, though. That pose with that stuff on your face is every man's dream.

I might be going to the States next year, but to the opposite coast. We'll see. Regardless, I want to go over there every few years, so we should manage to at least say hi at some point in the future.

pork luck said...

awwwwwww.... doggy!!!!!! I love your mommy's dog!!! You surprised me with your comment so i popped over to see if you got a puppy. No such luck, but Johnny looks as happy as ever! He's still a puppy.