Tuesday, May 17, 2016

You and Me Gomer

I always thought I knew myself pretty well.  Better than anybody.  After all, I live in my body.  I hear all the thoughts in my head.  I know exactly how I feel every moment of every day.   I know if I am pretending or if I am being honest.  I almost always know what words are going to trickle, fall, gush, or burst out of my mouth and sometimes I even filter them.  I know I am boringly predictable.  I am a creature of habit and I don’t adjust to any kind of change easily or quickly.  I know I believe less is more and clutter, disorder and prolonged noise make my fingers twitch with the desire to fill a dumpster and my brain desperate for a cool, dark, quiet cave. 

Dean’s pretty proud of the fact that he thinks he knows me even better than I know myself.  He thinks he can predict what I’m going to do and how I feel about just about everything.  Although  honestly, I don’t think that’s really anything to brag about since I’m as predictable as Baxter.  About 4:30 every afternoon he begins drooling and looking toward his dog bowl and I start working my way closer and closer to the box of wine on the counter.  

Anyway, the guy’s been married to me for almost … um, wait a second, just need to do some subtracting … 43 … no …  44 … yeah, 44 … 44 years now, so he should know a lot about me.  His favorite confirmation of his prowess is that he can guess what I’m going to order in a restaurant 95% of the time.  The only reason he doesn’t guess correctly the other 5% is because sometimes I like to order something he’d never ever think I would order – just so I can see his reaction.   On those times I don't really even want to eat what I order.  I really want to order what I know he thinks I’m going to order, but sometimes I just don’t want to be that boring, predictable me anymore.  Sometimes I just want to mentally raise my fist and shout “YES!  You AREN’T right about me all the time!  Surprise! ”

Even though, if I try hard, I can surprise Dean, I very rarely surprise myself.  However, unexpectedly, I have recently done just that.  I have been enjoying gardening!  I never, in my wildest dreams, expected I would become a tiller of soil; a planter of seeds; a grower of vegetables – a gardener.  Oh, I would plant a few flower seeds and shove some annuals in a pot every spring but Dean has always been the gardener. He would dig up the soil and choose the seeds and buy the plants.  But it wouldn't take long until he would feel overwhelmed and he would look at me, sad and exhausted, and convince (and by that I mean bribe) me to help. The problem was, I was the one who ended up duck walking along the raised beds, reaching over and planting one miniscule seed at a time … over and over and over … while Dean always managed to keep busy with other gardening chores which always allowed him to stand upright.   Later, when the weeds had overtaken the garden, he'd somehow convince me to help pull weeds.  That meant I had to crouch next to the garden bed or kneel on the sharp, scratchy bits of wood chunks he’d thrown down to make a garden path, stretch my body across the bed, grab a weed and pull, because God forbid I step onto the soil and risk damaging his tender plants.  I didn’t have fun.  I did not like gardening.

But something happened this spring.  Maybe it's because I have more time now that I’m retired.  Or maybe it's because while Dean spent the last five and a half months turning the garage into his longed-for, dreamed-of, years-in-the-planning workshop, I spent the last couple of those cheerless winter months yearning for spring and warm weather and sunshine and dreaming of what I could do after I was finally able to break myself out of my gloomy winter cocoon.  Or maybe it was because I realized if I was in charge of planting, I could make beautifully straight rows instead of just a mass of seeds sprouting.  I could have a tidy, organized garden.  If I was in charge of planting I could make sure the garden section of beets was just beets, not beets and an errant columbine and surprise pumpkin and volunteer cucumber.  Or maybe I got excited when I realized I could keep a gardening journal with notes of what I’ve planted.  And I could draw diagrams of where I’ve planted things.  That has to work way better than what I did last fall when I brought some plants home from Abby's garden, stuck them in the dirt here and there thinking I would move them to where I really wanted them this spring and now I can't remember what I brought or where I put them. 

Winter teased me with random days of summer temperatures and as soon as we'd get a couple of those warm days I was ready to plant.  Dean would have to tell me more than once that just because it’s 75 with bright sunshine one day didn't mean it wouldn't be 30 with snow the next.  We live in Wyoming after all.  But finally, May 9 (I know this because I checked my gardening journal!) I planted potatoes. 

Actually I planted some of those potatoes three times.   A couple of days after I’d planted, I was admiring my beautiful, almost straight rows of potatoes, when I noticed a couple of the ridiculously long sprouts were visible, as well as a loose potato.  I told Dean I thought those turkeys he’d been feeding all winter long, right where he knew the garden was going to be, had come looking for food and scratched up my potato starts. 

Making their morning trek across the creek and up the hill ...

... to their breakfast bar.
He told me he didn’t see any turkey tracks and just shrugged when I asked what else would cause a potato to just pop out of the ground.  I reburied the sprouts and the potato and the next day two or three more potatoes had somehow magically just popped up out of the ground and landed hither and yon.  And more sprouts were inexplicably uncovered.  I KNEW it was those stupid turkeys but Dean didn’t seem to think his beloved birds would be so inconsiderate as to destroy my potato bed.   I reburied the freed potatoes and spouts – again.  A day or two later there were even more sprouts lying on top of the dirt and four or five potatoes scattered among the rows.  That was it!  I knew it was those dang turkeys because I could see definite areas where they’d scratched.  So I reburied all the potatoes and sprouts, cursed the birds as I covered my rows with as much woven wire as I could find (I’m still waiting for Dean to say, aren’t you glad I didn’t get rid of that?) and I jammed in tomato cages to cover the areas where I didn’t have enough wire.  So far my potatoes have been safe but if I see one more loose potato ...  I’m going for Dean’s BB gun.  

Considering the fact that I pretty much always prefer rice over potatoes I'm more than a little surprised to think that I would even consider shooting at a turkey just to protect a bunch of spuds.   Maybe I should note that in my gardening journal.



Art Elser said...

So now you'll be baking potatoes instead of cookies, brownies, lemon bars? Just have to hope you don't have any worker bees coming around this fall. I see lots of potato salad in Dean's future. Hope you two like potato salad. My good friend and fellow poet, Chris Valentine moved to Sheridan yesterday after months of packing, moving things by the truckload and trunk full to her new condo on DeSmet street, road, lane, whatever. She did live up in Birney, MT, a thriving metropolis of about a dozen people, some even alive. Sounds like you are settling into gardening as I've settled into poetry in retirement. Hope you have as much fun gardening as I've had writing. I would think that potato salad or baked potatoes or even mashed potatoes would go well with wild turkey. Both the kind that wanders in from the woods and the kind you get in a bottle. ;-)

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

This just hilarious. From who knows me to a who done it ? All the photos point to turkeys! Haha.
Writing seems simpler except my sditing is like my weeding, rather relaxed since I am retired .