Gardening Game

I’d just decided that gardening is simply a game I am playing so there’s no need for me to fuss about anything that grows or doesn’t grow, when I went out to work on the yard and was greeted with several unpleasantnesses: more stinkhorn mushrooms and eggs, a mess of cat diarrhea, a scourge of spurge, and tarantula wasps. I suppose I should consider these things part of the game, because a game is not a game if there are no challenges to overcome. On the other hand, a game is something you do for amusement, and my “challenges” today were far from amusing.

The tarantula wasp, a two-inch monstrosity, isn’t really unpleasant . . . unless you’re a tarantula, that is. The wasp seems to have little interest in humans — at least not this human — so they don’t pose a threat. Seeing the wasp, though, reminded me that despite a return to temperatures in the nineties, fall really is coming. And it reminds me to see if I can find any tarantulas as they begin their wandering to find a mate. Although this area is known for the so-called tarantula migration, the past couple of years these arachnids have been scarce. Perhaps this year things will be different. Other things sure were different (plants that grew enormously, for example, and weeds that moved into new territories), so why not the tarantulas?

If gardening is a game (though it seems to be more of a creative endeavor than a true game), then any wins come from the good things one finds in the garden, and today there were some beauties. A monarch butterfly that flitted about so much I couldn’t get a picture, a yellow coreopsis, a cucumber, sunflowers, and amaranth.

I wasn’t sure if I liked this foxtail amaranth, but it is growing well as well as growing on me (euphemistically speaking), so I might get some more seeds for next year. (They were in a packet of wildflower seeds, most of which didn’t grow perhaps because the seeds were old, so that makes me even more impressed with the amaranth.)

There really isn’t a score to keep in this gardening game, but if there were, taking into consideration the unpleasantness situations as well as the pleasantness ones, I’d have to call today a draw.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Raised Garden

Lucky me! More stinkhorn mushrooms today. I tried to dig up the mushrooms and found a whole nest of stinkhorn eggs under the rocks. Now that was a treat! I hope you know I’m being ironic. Stinkhorn, as I mentioned yesterday, has a horrible smell. I’m not sure if the eggs have a smell because the stench of the mushroom is so strong, it overrides any other odor. And anyway, I dug up the eggs as quickly as I could, bagged them, and threw them in the dumpster.

The eggs, from what I can figure, are what the adult mushroom grows out of, but I don’t know how the eggs got in my rocks. Just grew there, I guess. If you, too, would like to participate in the stinkhorn experience, you can buy stinkhorn eggs (the price I saw was $15.00 per pound). People actually eat the eggs; apparently, the taste — and texture — is like a cross between a radish and a water chestnut, but frankly, there is no way I would ever put one of those things anywhere near my mouth, no matter how hungry I am or how delicious it might be. I couldn’t even get beyond the slime factor to simply touch them with bare hands. Besides, if I want something that tastes like a radish, I’ll eat a radish.

I was being ironic about the “lucky me” introduction, but this really was a lucky day for me, stinkhorns aside.

A couple of workers came to finish building my raised garden bed in preparation for the fill dirt this weekend. The bed looks a lot larger than when it was just a frame on the ground, and it seems to crowd the pathway. Of course, the plants bordering the path around the raised garden have grown and spread beyond what they were when the frame was set a couple of years ago, which makes the path seem narrower, but that’s not a problem. Come fall, I’ll trim back the plants so that I won’t feel claustrophobic.

I still don’t know what I will be planting in the raised garden. Most probably, next spring I will plant tomatoes and cucumbers and other simple vegetables, and not many at that. If the growth of the tomato and cucumber plants this year is anything to go by, a mere four to six plants will fill the entire garden. If it feels too much like a jungle when everything is grown, then I might switch to a different plant the following year — an evergreen groundcover, perhaps.

All I know for sure is that I will not purposely plant stinkhorn eggs!

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.