Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stick me with a Pitchfork, I'm Done

You may not know this about me, but I'm a really good gardener. Real green thumb. But only in April and May. Starting in June it all goes to shit, and by September all that's left are dried out bits of straw that began their lives as herbs and flowers and stuff. Last year, I didn't even plant the poor dears; I bought all my little herbs and things, but they just languished in their little plastic nursery pots, and never reached their life goals. I guess you would say I'm a big picture person, and idea man, a conceptual thinker, more than an implementer. The only things I tend to execute in the garden are innocent plants. They never know what hit 'em.

So, here it is April, and I am in full gardening mode. I'm at the peak of my abilities and interest right now. My big picture, my idea, my concept was to get a half wine barrel, put it right outside my back door, and fill it with herbs and a tomato plant. That way when I needed fresh herbs, I only have to take a few steps from the kitchen and snip. If the herbs are out in the actual yard, forget it. That would be mean going down the stairs, which would mean going up the stairs, and you all know who you're dealing with.

On Sunday, my family and I drove up to wine country to find the elusive wine barrel. I love how my husband indulges me in these pursuits, watching his hard-earned money slip through my fingers on pipe dreams of live plants. There was a guy on Craig's list selling wine barrels, but I sometimes feel a little weird calling random dudes off the internet and meeting them at their houses to buy leftovers from the hooch trade. So we decided just to go up there and drive around and see what we could find. It was like The Amazing Race, or what I imagine The Amazing Race to be like since I've never actually watched that show. We drove around, looking left and right for garden stores, or roadside stands, thinking that we'd be tripping over wine barrels up there, but no. We bumped into the Napa Visitor's center where the nice lady with the leathery tan and the fake nails told me to try Walmart or Home Depot. Would I have dragged my whole family, including the dog, all the way up to wine country to go to Walmart? Um, no. So she sent us in the direction of a local nursery and garden store; they were fresh out of wine barrels (seems the boy scouts supply them, which is kind of funny) They sent us to the OSH (we were getting a little desperate by this time) and they didn't have any either, but there was a guy in there who told me he sees a guy selling them out of the back of his truck over on Coombs street. So we drove in circles for a while looking for Coombs street, and Voila! we find the truck! I'll spare you the part about how my cell battery was dead, and we didn't have correct change, but suffice it to say that I purchased an oak wine barrel, stained red on the inside and reeking of cabernet, out of the back of a truck, owned by a guy named Randy. The same Randy who had wine barrels advertised on Craig's list...

After we got home, Leila was released from the clutches of the family outing and allowed to go play with a friend while Rob and I went to the nursery to buy all the plants that I will surely kill. More money sliding in the wrong direction. I got all kinds of cool stuff, but I couldn't actually plant anything because the barrel really needs to be on wheels so you can move it once its full of dirt. Monday I went to Home Depot to get the rollie thing, and some more plants, and then, I PLANTED. You heard right, I implemented my grand plan. It rained last night so they're not dead yet, but I had trouble sleeping during the rain worrying about my little darlings out there on the deck. Of course they were completely fine, they're plants, for chrisakes. I keep having to go over to the back door and admire my little barrel. I have parsley, basil, cilantro, chives, cherry tomatoes and one strawberry plant. I also have some corn, but I'm going to get Rob to implement that big idea.

Now I'm thinking about installing a drip system so I don't kill off everything. The deck out there is hot enough to fry bacon (mmmm bacon...) in the summer time, and if these plants are going to meet their makers anywhere, it will be on this deck. A drip system might just be the thing, and I think I can pretty much install it myself. Or, at the very least, I can communicate my vision to someone who knows what they're doing, or maybe just Rob.

Apropos of nothing, here is picture I took at the zoo few weeks ago that I think it good enough for a wildlife magazine, except that he lives, like, in a zoo. He had just picked his nose and eaten it. Does that info make the picture less cute?

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