With the exception of an occasional watering, I had almost nothing to do with the planting and growing of these potatoes. That credit is bestowed upon my spouse. BUT, on Saturday afternoon, my husband and I dug them up. And can I tell you that it was one of the most enjoyable pursuits, ever! My friend Jason, an excellent gardener in his own right, and the one who gave us the seed potatoes to begin with, has always said (correctly) that it’s like a fabulous treasure hunt trying to find the tubers in the dark soil. Last night, in celebration of our modest bounty, we cooked the smaller ones for dinner. We were duly rewarded for the many weeks of waiting. My gosh, they were delicious. But, before cooking them, I singled out what I consider to be the world’s smallest potato. And, take notice of that gnarled one in the bottom left portion of the first photograph. It reminds me ever so slightly of Rodin’s The Thinker.
I was tagging along on this particular trip to Home Depot. Something about my spouse wanting peat moss for the potato trench. All words I never thought I would string together in a single sentence. The gardening and landscaping section is at the far end of the store so there is little incentive to wander if one wants to get in and out in a clean sweep. And we both get a little cranky on these outings. Something about the big box retailer thing. All was not lost though. I found momentary happiness in and among the stacks of wheelbarrows, paving stones and watering cans!
Just to be clear, I’m not trying to be lewd here. To explain: One weekend before the holidays, I went into the local upstate Farm and Garden store to see if I could find some canning jars, and somehow ended up in the farm animal feeding section. There are implements and objects on the shelves that I have never seen before. And, furthermore, have no clue as to what purpose they serve. However, it wasn’t a big leap to guess at what these are. (One of the best experiences of the past couple of years was bottle feeding our friends’ baby goats. OMG!) Anyway, as I did a little more digging, I realized that there is an entire industry devoted to animal feeding nipples. All shapes and sizes. Each suited to a different species. As usual, the range and variation in shape of a single item is what’s got me hooked.
Nature has us all trumped. It’s hard to disagree on this one. Today’s vegetable — the watermelon radish — is brought to you by the good folks over at Willow Wisp Organic Farm in Damascus, PA, right across the Delaware River border from NY. They are amazing and smart and grow vegetables that make you remember how food is supposed to taste.
So, what the hell? I found this little “toy” at the local farm and garden center amid hundreds of small scale replicas of tractors, wagons, hay balers, combines and a whole array of farm animals. This piece (with the John Deere label affixed to the price tag) is part of a huge collection of precision cast miniatures of farm and construction equipment manufactured by Ertl Toys, a company that’s been around since 1945. This particular tanker is labeled anhydrous ammonia, which is a broadly applied and inexpensive source of nitrogen fertilizer used in farming. That said, it is also highly toxic and crazy dangerous to handle. And, as it happens, drug dealers now use it in the manufacture of methamphetamines. Hmmnnn, I’m not sure that inculcating our youngsters with this type of approach to growing food is the best way forward. Would a truck full of chicken poop be a better alternative? Anyway, maybe skip the chemicals and stick with the tractors and the cows.
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