Friday, June 28, 2013
The Lustful Lettuces of June
Once, when I was a dewy-eyed twenty-three year-old I told my friend Amy that I wanted to live on a homestead with a geodesic dome and several goats.
She snorted at me. It was very rude. (I'm not sure why I was—and am, after almost fifteen years—still friends with her.)*
"What?" I demanded. She said something about fantasizing. I was deeply offended and drew myself up to accommodate the large stick now materializing in my rear end. "How do you know this isn't my life's purpose—my POSSIBILITY?" I asked her.
"Because," she told me calmly, "it doesn't make you happy when you talk about it. It makes you flustered—and annoyed that you don't have goats."
That seemed to put the conversation to rest.
I still don't have any goats and, given the state of my back yard after years with only a dog in it, I think goats may be out of the question. That said, I have gone on to have ducks and then chickens and to put in one garden after another at my house (completely without geodesic domes).
So, perhaps we were both right, in a way.
It is nearly July now, and it is hot. It has been in the nineties the last few days. I planted quite a lot of lettuces this March and we have been eating them since May. Every time I harvest a small head here or several leaves there, another lettuce merely stretches out and yawns, relieved to have been given the extra space. I can't get rid of them. They appear to be multiplying. Every night the menu is something and salad. We have to eat this lettuce, I tell everyone. I can't stand waste.
"Yum," I say.
So, now the lettuce is thinking to itself, "Ahhh, it's hot." It is starting to feel sort of sweaty and sexy and wanting to reproduce. The lettuces now go shooting up seed stalks with pretty little flower crowns atop their heads. Some of them can do this, fine, and I will harvest the resulting seed. But a whole half-bed of lettuces in flower, too bitter to eat, I do not need. So, we are gifting lettuces not yet bolted to our friends.
"Here, have a lettuce! Take two! Have a ladybug with that!"
We are pulling things up willy-nilly and calling this Bacchanalian scene of lettuce lust a wrap. And thinning carrots. Because, for some reason, I haven't done this yet. I am pulling up itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny onions crowding in on the great big beauties and preparing, perhaps, to make onion frittatas for little elves. My littlest son is with me, goggling over purple carrots, sticking his little brown fingers deep into the soil to feel around the tops of tap roots and pulling others out. He is holding lettuces like bridal bouquets and feeding some of the sun-starved leaves to chickens, who are begging for scraps like a horde of gypsy children rushing tourists in a square. We are nibbling sugar snap peas as we work. And, of course, he is shirtless and wearing his pirate costume pants inside out. Which is exactly as it should be.
So, things are perfect. Although, I think you will agree that the situation could be improved by a few goats.
*unless it's because she's been the sort of friend that coached me through two births, one divorce (not in that order) and makes an hour to talk to me anytime I need to talk to someone who will "get it" and know that she is the only one.
Faith in Ambiguity by Tara Adams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License