Tuesday, March 27, 2012

broccoli and tomatoes

When I am not teaching or working on teaching, you’ll find me today reading Supreme Court arguments about broccoli and, I suppose, our national passion for eating it.

So there’s that.

Ed, meanwhile, is home mollycoddling our tomato seedlings. We got a tad concerned as a commenter conveyed the message that we ruined the whole lot by letting them stay out on a cool March night. Start again! -- we were told.

This sent Ed googling. He came back relieved. No, if they’re alive, they’re alive, he tells me. Their souls (and fruit producing capabilities) aren’t damaged so long as they look okay.

I wasn’t convinced.

Ed asks – do you want me to call the Burpee hotline? Brilliant! -- I say. Like the Butterball hotline at Thanksgiving! (Even as our seeds aren’t Burpee seeds so I feel like we are slightly cheating.)

Hours later I hear from him again. He’s jubilant. She said – and I did ask after her credentials – that had these been eggplant or pepper seedlings, then maybe they would have been affected. But for tomato seedlings, the kind of damage that comes from spending a cool night out is peanuts compared to the horrors that lie ahead for the average tomato: winds, heat waves, pounding rains. In other words, they should be fine.

I feel like the mother who feeds her kids peanut butter on white bread, knowing that this isn't right, doing it anyway, only to find out later that actually, kids are fine with white bread. Especially as combined with peanut butter.

Ed spends the rest of the day dividing his seedlings, babying them really, while I work on campus.


By evening, we're home again and I look around me a tad disheartened. The plums are almost done with their bloom. They provide a nice backdrop to the delicate pink flowers of the peach.


The pear is flowering too. But our most prolific bloomers (crabs? hawthorn?) are just budding now.


Will I miss the burst of blooms? Typically, this comes at the end of April. This year – it looks like in a day or two, these trees will be at their best.

That's okay. You can’t have it all. I’ll be back in time for the lilacs. I think. (I’m only going away for a week!)

The sun recedes, but tonight, the air stays warm. And still, Ed’s not taking any chances. He loads the flats of seedlings onto a cart and wheels it all inside the sheep shed for the night.

DSC00918 - Version 2

In the meantime, I make lots and lots of cabbage soup – for today and for the days I’m gone. As if Ed couldn’t cook for himself. As if he hadn’t done so for the 55 years before I began to cook meals for us both.

We eat and listen to the ongoing debate on the news about, well, broccoli.