Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gardening: Next Year

The Farm is frantically producing food. Beans, peppers, scallions, lettuce, cucumbers, strawberries, that weird white acorn squash, those giant zucchini clubs, corn, eggplants, those odd round things that might be squash and might be cucumbers that I definitely never planted. Am I focusing on cooking and eating and perhaps giving away all this stuff, and perhaps dancing among the cornstalks? No, of course not. I'm planning next year's garden. The planning part is so much fun that I'm starting now, instead of waiting for winter and the seed catalogs.

Next year, I'll grow more Armenian cucumbers -- no bitter, almost no skin. And I'll plant my Copra onions when they're supposed to be planted, because I'll have a nice raised row all ready for them, waiting for a break in the rain. And I'll plant potatoes, because... well, because they're potatoes. But I'll find some weird ones.

And I'll plant the corn in several staggered blocks -- a little afterthought block shot past corn that was planted weeks earlier, and that leads me to believe that I shouldn't put all my eggs in one planting. And we'll get some vertical structures in this winter, so we can pick peas and beans and cucumbers and maybe squash while standing upright.

And I'll dig a lettuce bed in that almost-full-shade corner, to see if I can keep slow-growing but non-bolting salad greens growing all summer. And I'll plant seeds of sweet Italian frying peppers, because I learned this year that I'm not sure what to do with bell peppers. I don't know what to do with the Italian peppers either, but I can't resist any vegetable that includes the word "frying".

What looked like modest little blocks of beans produced more than enough to eat and to give away; now that I know how little space a decent planting takes up, I'll try more varieties. Wax beans, purple beans, Roma beans, Dragon Tongue beans, those Kentucky Wonders that I never got around to planting this year. Assuming that we get those bean supports up. And I'll plant tepary beans when they're supposed to be planted, during the rains, to see if they really can grow to maturity without extra water.

I'll plant parch corn again, because odds are it's not going to mature this year. I might plant flour corn. Oh, and there will be more sunflowers. Far, far more sunflowers.


Image: By Thyme. Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vignette: Description

So, a discussion of descriptions came up on WritingForums, and I started to write a short description on the premise that it's better for the viewpoint character to have a reason to start spouting off about what their acquaintances look like. The example got longer and longer until it broke 200 words. So, vignette.

My growling stomach betrayed me into ordering the toasted ravioli, and then the second piece of ravioli betrayed me by shattering in my hand. I had just finished cleaning greasy crumbs and cheese off my (white) shirt and was dabbing at the smudge of tomato sauce on my (beige) pants, when I saw Jane.

Have I told you about Jane? She looks like Barbie - an aging Barbie, but all the critical pieces are still there. Perfect blond hair, flawless cheekbones, implausibly blue eyes. Yes, the bombshell figure was thickening, but it was still fine enough to make me push the rest of the ravioli away. And her white shirt was, of course, still white - what you could see of it under her suit. Not merely an expensive suit, no, but a fine vintage Chanel that spoke of taste and intelligence. Feh.

Jane is lovely. Jane is kind. Jane donates to charity and does rescue work with abused beagles. Jane has a sense of humor and a brain that belies her Barbie exterior. I hate Jane, hate her with a guilty and unreasoning passion that I have tried, for ten years, to overcome. So I put on my best smile and waved to her.

Image: Wikimedia Commons