We have a pretty large yard. I’m not sure how large, because measurements mean very little to me. I don’t work in numbers, just ask my high school match teacher. It’s too large to mow with a push mower, but not large enough to have cattle grazing.
My husband thinks it’s too small for his garden. I’m not sure if he’s trying to feed our entire town, population 378, or just me, our two kids, and our dog.
The garden is ever expanding. It completely consumed a full half of our large backyard. The other half is run by the chickens, and my daughter is at the very top of their pecking order. Rooster be warned!
I’m basically living with a homesteader, a chicken farmer, a gamer, and Scooby Doo.
The chicken farmer is just like the homesteader….more room for the chickens…more eggs…more room for the plants…more vegetables. You get the idea. The gamer tries hard not to eat the eggs or the vegetables, but the dog will eat absolutely anything, although she’s particularly fond of carrots, parsnips, and the occasional stolen beet. We always know when she’s been in the beets. She’s like a bank robber who had one of those dye packs explode on them. The guilt is written all over her face in purple.
The homesteader and I have this unwritten pact. I don’t work in the garden. I photograph the garden. Cherry tomatoes are particularly photogenic, in case you didn’t already know that. I also occasionally pick ripe fruit from the garden, because I’m all about the reward and not the work. I do get into my picking though. There’s a future for me in migrant work. No disrespect intended toward the folks who do migrant work. There are many of them around these parts and they work exceptionally hard.
One afternoon I ventured into the garden to pick dinner. Homesteader John drove up to Newark, New Jersey to pick up my father from the airport. Because of my kid’s crazy schedule, I couldn’t go. I’m like an Uber driver these days, minus the paycheck and tips.
Anyway, I wanted to have a nice meal prepared for when my husband and father returned from the airport. My father was flying to the States from Portugal and I knew he had an extended time traveling and would need a good meal.
I was in the mood for a feast!
I went out to the garden and picked cherry tomatoes, lettuce, beans, potatoes, and spinach. I also had steaks to throw on the grill, because this woman cannot live by vegetables alone.
Dinner was ready and waiting when my husband and father arrived.
We all sat around the dining room table and began passing dishes. My father particularly like the spinach I had sauteed with olive oil and garlic; however, when my husband got the bowl, he twisted up his forehead, one eyebrow reaching for the sky. He looked down the table at me with laser beam focus.
I was confused! He was giving me a “what in the world have you done now” kind of look.
I glanced at my dad. He was happily eating his spinach. Clearly he took those Popeye cartoons seriously. Then I looked back at my husband.
“Just eat your spinach”. I said. “It’s good. My dad loves it.”
My father, bless his heart, was nodding in appreciation.
“I didn’t plant any spinach.” my husband whispered from the corner of his mouth.
“Well, what are we eating!” I exclaimed.
“I have no idea, but it’s definitely not spinach.” said the know-it-all gardener.
“It’s good though.” my dad chimed in.
“Hmmm…I was sure those tall plants were spinach.” I said.
Turns out they were weeds, but whatever.
My job as a picker is absolutely in jeopardy. Everyone questions my meal choices, even more than usual. To date, I’ve not intentionally nor accidentally poisoned one person. My record should speak for itself.
My dad actually ate the leftover “spinach” for lunch the next day.
Thank you very much dad!
I took an extra helping of steak, because if by chance those spinach weeds were indeed poisonous, they were most certainly not going to be my last meal!
I’m pretty sure I need to leave the farming up to my husband. Now if I can only find someone to cook for me….