I put my plants on the counter to buy and asked the clerk if they had a discount for “Approaching Death”. He looked at his co-worker behind the counter and looked back at me and said “We have a Senior Discount”. I don’t think he really knew what I meant. I do have a weird sense of humor, always looking at things differently. The look in his eyes made me think he thought that this poor little women standing in the front of him must be inflicted with some kind of illness! His demeanor changed and he straightened up and said “We have a senior discount! If that’s what you’re asking for!” I’m thinking I missed the boat on that joke. He looked confused and we had an awkward moment of silence and then I said to him, “The plants…the plant’s approaching death!, not mine”. His rebuttal included the fact that he guaranteed the plants were healthy and sure to grow so, he could not give me an “Approaching Death” discount at this time.

Now, let me tell you, explaining my frustrations, I can grow flowers but am not really good with vegetables, and I have a hard time with roses, and with all the hustle and bustle, despite March’s storm warnings, I pulled out my little 72 pellet trays and started a good 30 packs of seeds. Anticipating a healthy crop, I had pallet raised beds made by one of Miss Barb’s friends in Farmington who is definitely good with wood and saw what I envisioned…We trotted them home and spent the better part of two weeks configuring their location on the front lawn, plus we were freezing our butts off at night still. Meanwhile in my pre-growing season, in our makeshift greenhouse in the back bedroom, these trays of seeds, hoping to be flowers, flowering bulbs and many stems for planting (my budget please!), I still had garden soil to get, feed, potting soil and the supply of active flowers at WallyWorld’s outdoor plant haven. So I got to painting, had to match the house trim (!), and went paint crazy, the raised beds, the mailbox, then the stairs, railings, even some pots (can you see where I’m going now?) and everything on the property matches the house trim. Under Mama’s watchful eye, within days we have sprouts, really…days! Wheee! We were so thrilled. I know it got Ma Ma’s attention, she was the one with the updates (first one up in the AM) because Mama’s idea of flowers are those that don’t need a lot of water and can live in complete shade or full sun and won’t die. I recommended-plastic plants.

30 some packs later, death comes upon us, thanks to Leah…our once upon a kitten now a skilled gardener herself…Oh, and there’s a story behind this Leah. I just have to tell you! Mama had been contemplating adding a kitten to our two ankle-biting, white fur balls, yap, yap yap all the time household. I was on an internal search to her madness, but when he was ready, (now let it be known that they kept saying he’s this and he’s that) here he came, introduced to us. He was the softest, little black kitten with the biggest gold eyes ever. She was in love. She named him “Leonardo”, she had just returned from vacation in Italy and I’d say she was “Italianafied”. Time later, kitten came to be sick we thought with a urinary tract infection, called the vet. Now he’s still too young to get shots and an appointment was scheduled at the proper time. The vet comes out from the backroom, holding dear little Leo, as affectionately known, “What do you call your cat?” she says. Mom puffs out her chest and moves towards the Doc and says “Leo…Leonardo”, “Well, you need to find another name”. Mom had this bewildered look on her face, and then it happened, the Doc says “He is a girl”.

OMG!…

I can tell you she did not see that one coming. Doc says “You never looked for little nuts? At this time we’re rolling on the floor. We had never thought about it, they kept telling us he was a boy. So, hence, Leo became Leah.

So thanks to Leah, who apparently had so much fun with my trays of newly planted seeds, I ended up with only two salvageable trays. The rest of my bounty is sitting out back on the dirt pile, dead, no hints of any sprouts, empty of life, no hope in sight. Now as I’m seeing my money flying away with wings, this cat of Mama’s has indeed mastered gardening. She even found fascination with the bulbs that were to be placed in certain areas following my carefully designed, colored road map that would have given me the beginning to an epic plan. I guess they forgot to include on the directions of my many bulb packages of “Probable Death by Leah”. I don’t know, but 13-15 active bulbs out of near 40-50, is not a good successful rate. I’m crushed, I vocalized to you, that I was pretty good with flowers, but I never had a Leah as a gardening partner before. After funeral services, back outside with the large boxes, looking good in the familiar blue hue, I asked Mama to make an apple pie to bribe our neighbor across the street to bring me dirt, I thought, he plays in it all day, and it would put a good base inside the boxes, again I could not, looking up and reach my departing army of winged money. That Sunday, the sound of the rumbling truck and Mr. Haley approach with the dirt and I’m excited. Yeah, my dirt is here, that’s right, my dirt is here…I can plant soon!.

Miss Barb and I went back to Farmington to fetch some “pot”ting soil. This stuff is supposed to be super duper. Then, another night of possible frost, Damm!

Finally, I spread my golden dirt and am ready to plant, using my preserved plants and the 6 packs of flowers I had to purchase (and placed out of Leah’s way) to replace my seedlings buried at the funeral service earlier. Can you understand my concern now at the Lowe’s garden Center for a discount of an “Approaching Death Syndrome” with my packs of seedlings?

So seeing all of this box planting, I had gotten the idea to experiment with vegetables. So to keep it simple, after speaking with the Matriarch, we chose tomatoes, cukes and green onions. Since we had flowers out front, I filled her head with a back patio garden, then pulled up Amazon for eco/organic planting bags and then Mama took it a step further and asked someone to build boxes that would sit on top of the deck railings. My head was spinning. Ingenious!. Again the matching blue hue from the front slathered on, then I filled the boxes, with Miss Barb’s help with the “pot”ting soil, still disappointed with Miss Leah, as most of the seedlings suffered sudden death at her paws . I had to kiss more money away and purchase seedling packs already in full glory. So in went tomato plants, sweet basil, sweet peppers, a butter bib lettuce and wouldn’t you know the radishes came about strong and all are doing great! Shhhh!…Let’s not spill the beans to Leah. So everything has taken well to the dirt and all are standing tall and proud…and at 5 AM when I’m up, I water, clean old leaves and dead flower buds, pinch and talk them all up like a cheerleading coach. Please, Oh please, give me something to be proud about and be able to write about to let you know at a later date how we managed growing and kept Leah out of our planting beds.

Exploring her new sport, she brought home a 2-3 inch baby mouse the other day, so proud of herself and left it at the patio door for Mama. I’m thinking she’s over the gardening thing, I hope, and developing her hunting skills.

As always, your comments, ideas and love is always welcomed, Happy Fooding! Happy Gardening…[email protected] And the last words, and for your funny bone. You gardening nuts will understand…

“10 Signs You Have Gone Over the Garden Edge…”

10. Your favorite poem is “Roses are Red, violets are Blue.

9. Your kids are named Rose, Violet, Daisy and “Zuke”chini.

8. You have 8 X 10 family picture of your tomatoes and peppers on your office shelf.

7. In the spring and summer, your idea of a Saturday night date is going out in the garden to weed and pinch.

6. You think a cocktail is liquid fertilizer.

5. You rush home from work and go straight to the garden and hug your roses. Then, you go in to your house and see your family.

4. On Christmas Eve, visions of “Sugar Peas” dance in your head.

3. After the first frost, you are seen holding funeral services in your garden.

2. You take your kids multiple vitamins from them to use as a supplements to your plants fertilizer.

1. Every spring your family files “Missing Person’s” report. You remain missing all summer and mysteriously re-appear in the fall.

~The Gardeners Network.

Scrappy Chef


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