I'm a total garden lover.
The way they get the kids involved and excited about playing in dirt; the way they fill the yard with a stretch of actual, purposeful use; the way they require patience before yielding their stores; the way they make us stick by their sides, even under the hottest summer sun.
I have a vision of my grandma in her plastic garden sandals and straw sunhat, poking around in her well-groomed rows, beaming at the poles of green beans and rubbing her hands gleefully over heavily drooping tomato plants. There is mud under her fingernails, and she stops to admire the orange and yellow marigolds lining the perimeter of her haven. On her kitchen counter, there are stacks of produce: beans, squash, melons, zucchini, tomatoes, cabbage...it's gorgeous.
Maybe this is the truth of why I love gardens. Because I remember how awesome they can make you feel after a spring and summer of hard work.
Nevertheless, I must have missed the bus on gardening, because for the past two years, it hasn't been working out so well. I should have stuck to my original plan to have only a flower-garden this year.
My tomato plants are dead, my strawberries are ravaged, and my watermelon never sprouted.
Well actually, the tomato plants aren't dead so much as now abandoned. After weeks of watching dozens of roma and grape tomatoes bloom and ripen, they were all eaten one night by a greedy forest creature. This creature (I won't point fingers, but I think her name starts with D and ends with eer.) happened to miss the bottom row of one of the grape tomato plants, and I've been carefully watering that plant so we could harvest a measly 8 tiny 'maters.
Yesterday, they were a golden-yellowish orange.
Today, they are gone.
I lamented the woeful state of our veggies to a friend, and told her that I thought next year, I'd just plant a few tomatoes in pots on the front porch. Surely those would be safe.
But today, upon checking the strawberries on our porch, I found them to be munched down to their stems. No place, apparently, is safe from the quiet march of hungry animals when you live on the edge of the forest.
I SHAKE MY FIST AT YOU, ANIMALS.
How do you sneak into my fenced yard? How do you see in between all the weeds of my raised bed to find the single, luscious patch of juicy goodness? Why do you take what isn't yours? And, perhaps most important of all, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU STOP?!
I'm very disgruntled, if you can't tell.
I wanted a juicy, warm tomato, and I wanted it now.