I’m so busy these days with the fruits and vegetables that I don’t have time to feed my family. The garden, like life in these parts, has gone wild. The kitchen is jam-packed with black and blue berries, zucchini, squash, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, beets and the like so that there’s no room to sit down to eat anyway. I spend all my time chopping, shredding, canning, preserving, freezing and complaining to the family that they need to get out of my kitchen and my way. I pick and process only the vegetation I recognize, however. There is this greenish-yellowish-pinkish round thing growing out of an unmarked plot—which makes me think of an “unmarked grave” and that makes me nervous—so I leave it alone and hope it does the same for me.
I spend every spare moment filling the freezer and root cellar with food that will fill us this winter. My answering machine message says, “I’m in the garden. Leave your name and number and I’ll call you in November.” I was wondering if a conveyer belt from the garden gate to the kitchen window would be a worth while project.
A few nights ago I had a dream about the garden. A cornucopia of vegetables challenged me to come up with yet more recipes to see to their end. In my dream they grew mouths and chanted, “You don’t know what to do with us…you don’t know what to do with us…” The first thing I did this morning was Google, “What can I do with 40,000 cherry tomatoes?” Google answered, “Ask Jeeves.” Jeeves suggested I spike them in Vodka. I like Jeeves; he and I handle a problem the same way: we inject it with alcohol.
So, being in a vegetative state and unable to cook, I took Holland and three of her friends to the Stratton Diner for dinner. They had spent the entire afternoon moping around the kitchen, side-stepping baskets of acorns, and bushels of butternuts, getting under my feet and brooding over my head to each other:
"What can we eat?"
"I dunno, what do you want to eat?"
"I dunno, what is there to eat?"
When we settled in at The Diner the conversation changed:
"What do you want to order?"
"I dunno, what do you want to order?"
"I dunno. What are the specials?"
"I'll eat anything that isn't high in nastiness."
"I'm not eating anything with a silent p...I'm scared of silent p's."
"Oops, I spilled the sugar. Who wants to play sugar tic-tac-toe?"
"So, what do you want to eat?"
I had the fish chowder.
Now that we have had two hard frosts, the season is finished. The tomatoes are canned, the squash is soup. This morning I was staring out the window at the lifeless garden. The vines that recently pumped life into the pumpkins look like large strands of cooked spaghetti. I started thinking about next year. I bet I could grow some corn and beans, perhaps some okra and peppers. Of course, I’d have to make the garden a bit bigger…
L.E. Hughes is a columnist, author and owner of Diamond Corner B&B in Stratton, Maine. She welcomes your thoughts and comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© July 2006, Lew-Ellyn Hughes. All Rights Reserved and Retained by the Author.