Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Green Thumb and a High Horse

A garden, I thought.

She wants squash, and I want tomatoes. We've each picked one vegetable. We can do this, I won't kill them this time.

So, with full confidence in my nonexis...*ahem*...newfound abilities to neither nurse nor neglect our vegetables to death, I entered the Amazonian sanctum of my backyard, braving ludicrous grass that grows at the speed of bad news and yet refuses to cover the bare patches. I carried with me a mattock and a shovel, and I began to live out my Wendell Berrian fantasy of being a man of the soil, heaving sizable chunks of turf behind me into a pile. I think I found every rock in East Tennessee in my yard.

A plan, no, an operation, began to formulate in the gears of my mind. I would need to keep the dog out. She would dig into the small plot and also eat the squash itself, once it was edible. A fence, said logic to me. A fence is what would guard the fruits and vegetables of your labor from curious canine teeth and paws. So I kissed my wife (deep in the middle of a Sunday afternoon nap) and said, "I'm off to Home Depot!"

To walk the busy grounds of that grandiose cathedral of DIY-ism is to see the American dream in its shiniest golden gilding, all dressed up to be your date. I go in there and my mind wanders to all that can be done to a house. But this go 'round, I bought only the necessities, even shrinking the list a bit, as my infallible scheme of vegetable protection suffered budget cuts. I bought chicken wire, tomato cages and stakes, a bit of rebar, and a bit of 1x2, all to build a dog-proof cage, an Eden for crookneck squash.

Thirty minutes into my endeavors, after I had fought valiantly with the chicken wire - which was determined to be extremely introverted and temperamental, like an emo teenager - and stretched it out and cut it into the correct proportions, I was about two-thirds finished with the cage. I would get it done before sunset. I would be the man of the house, the man of the soil. At that point, Katrina walked out onto the back porch, and the following exchange took place:

"What are you doing, honey?"

"I'm making a cage to keep Killy out of the squash."

"Why don't we just train her to keep out of it?"


And so, fourty-four wasted dollars later (the cost of humility...priceless), we have squash plants in the ground, a dog in training, and a husband in awe of the simple logic which toppled the ivory tower of his over-complicated gardening plans.

I love my wife.


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