‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Sunday, June 29, 2008

animal husbandry

On his way out the door today Chris suggested we aim for some kind of sustainable agriculture here at the Towers, wherein we eat what we grow and also sell some of it. Statements like this are likely to win him the same fate as our beets, carrots, bibb lettuce and broccoli - which, shall we say, are no longer among the living.

"We'd need more room," I say.

"W...." he says. I interrupt him there because I know he's going to say "we're not really fully using the space we have" and I cannot bear to hear it again. I cannot bear to hear it again because I cannot bear to remind him, again, that our garden may as well be planted in a sandbox in the basement.

I also do not want to remind him that eating vegetables from our garden was the plan all along - despite the obvious decorative qualities of sun and soil deprived cabbage plants. These are the conversations in which I throw myself on the floor like a beached codfish and flop around in a why-do-I-bother? sort of way.

And then I go bumper boating, because is there anything better than bumper boats to clear the mind? I made the Snork Maiden go with us since she's never been before and also needs to bump some boats (don't take that the wrong way). On our way there I told her about the sustainable agriculture comment. She observed that if we had two vehicles instead of seven (plus a boat) we could maybe expand the garden to include the current parking spaces. And then she said "but you're already doing what Chris says he wants to do." We had just been eating snap peas by the fistful, and we gave her some surplus eggs. We are, in fact, eating what we grow and doling out the surplus. We're not selling the surplus, but it will come back to us in the form of someone else's surplus. Historically this has been freshly caught fish, baskets of zucchini (which I cannot grow to save my life), all manner of greens, berries, honey and assorted whatnot.

It could be argued that we get this bounty because of neighborly pity, but our garden is sheltered by daylilies so I think this is unlikely. How could they know what agricultural travesty lies within?

So in the end, Chris has been moved from beet status (dead vegetable walking) to Brussels sprout status (weirdly flourishing). And now I know to throw the term "sustainable agriculture" around when I want some kind of fancy lobster compost next spring.

Mmm, mmm, mmm, lobster compost.


jenrebecc said...

ok, first of all, i can get you as much manure as you want (i have connections).

second, next year, when i am in the house and if not there i will be in a loony bin, i plan on having bees, so i will trade you some honey for a couple eggs and some of those weirdly flourishing brussell sprouts because I LOVE BRUSSEL SPROUTS!!!

Bella said...

if all else fails...i think CSAs are the way to go because you don't have to feel responsible for the soil and sun. just show up and pick to your heart's content. i have a surplus of strawberries at the moment if you're up our way.

Rock and Roll Mama said...

Yuuuuummmm! I wanty lobster compost. I'm glad Chris is back in the sunshine. I am envious of your growing things, I have some dead flowers out front that were a volunteer gift from school. Embarrassingly, the Dad whose nursery they came from came to pick up his child and was standing at my front door, absently deadheading them. Whoops.

Susan said...

Jenrebecc - They have bees in looney bins? Perhaps I will make a deposit on that honey this fall when I commence shooting brussel sprouts at passers by.

Bella - If we had a CSA anywhere near us, I would turn the garden into a parking spot in the time it takes a chipmunk to eat every last one of my sunflowers.

Rock and Roll Mama - I know all about gift plants. I'm the one who took sunflower seedlings on vacation to D.C. with me because I was so afraid of killing them. I think lobster compost is the secret to eternal plant life.