Small Town Christmas

Small Town Christmas

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Auntie Em I'm Not

I may have to turn in my Kansas farm wife title with this confession.

I know Auntie Em and every other Kansas farm wife worth her title is a great gardener.

I am ... not.

I am an indoor girl. Give me a recipe to make. Give me a book to read. Give me clothes to fold. Give me a computer and an internet connection. Heck, give me a computer without an internet connection. But don't make me garden.

Pretty much every year I can count on someone asking me, "How's your garden this year?"

I get that deer-in-the-headlights look. I know many Kansas farm wives who are champion gardeners. And this world-class perfectionist hates to admit she's bad at anything. (I'm bad at plenty of things: I just don't like to admit it.)

It's not as if I come from non-gardening stock. My grandparents on both sides of the family were wonderful gardeners. My mother has had a vegetable garden every summer of my life. (I fervently hope for a few surplus tomatoes to come my way from Pratt County.) My sisters both seem to have a green thumb.

But me? Obviously it missed my gene mix.

So I reluctantly share my shortcomings. I can see it in their eyes: "And she calls herself a farm wife?" they are thinking.

Yes, yes, I do. But, no, no, I am decidedly not a gardener.

I love fresh produce. I just don't like sweating and weeding and dirt and icky stuff like that.

I am happy to support my local farmers' market. Since I'm rarely in Hutchinson on Wednesdays or Saturdays, I have found a produce farmer on the west edge of Hutchinson. He is my go-to supplier for fresh tomatoes later in the summer.

But this spring, I got a tomato plant at the end of a Bible study. I do love garden tomatoes. And since I got one, I thought maybe I should try to plant a few more. It has been a few years since I made a similar halfhearted attempt at gardening, so maybe this was the year, I thought.

Randy was skeptical. After 29 years, he knows me pretty well. But, good husband that he is, he helped me lay down some black plastic and helped me plant some tomatoes and a couple of red pepper plants.

"I don't think you should tell people you planted them," he advised. "Let's wait and see how it goes."

One of the pepper plants died. But there are tomatoes on the vine. (They are Early Girl tomatoes for you true gardeners out there.) I know it's awhile before I can slice them, add a dash of salt and pepper and enjoy every last morsel. But the potential is there, right?

There are even a few pear-shaped tomatoes on another vine. I always loved the yellow, bite-sized tomatoes from my Grandma and Grandpa Neelly's garden.

I guess I was so enthused that I momentarily forgot I'm not a gardener. This weekend, I actually decided to chop some weeds in the yard. (It's a good thing we don't live in town. We would usually not meet neighborhood standards, I'm afraid.)

So before the feeling passed, I went in search of some garden gloves. Once upon a time, I had a pair of lightweight garden gloves. But could I find them this weekend when the desire struck to whack away at some weeds? No, I could not.

Since I am rarely in the mood to do anything remotely like chopping weeds, I did the job with naked hands. I contemplated using winter gloves. But then I considered the nearly 100-degree temperatures and decided that blisters would be better than fainting in the heat.

When we went to Hutchinson for a friend's birthday celebration on Sunday, I made a couple of purchases.

Randy laughed at me. That's right. He laughed.

I bought a hoe and some gloves. Aren't the gloves cute? I just love those colors together. And the label said they were "recommended for raking and digging."

I promise I'll take the tags off and use them ... sometime.


  1. I have a brown thumb, too. Geraniums and vinca are the only outdoor plants that thrive my way. They like neglect. The husband does tomatoes and cucumbers. Me? I kill houseplants. So glad I am not the only one who comes from "gardening stock" who missed that gene!! Ah well... we're fun to be around. (That's what I tell myself if I can't think of anything else positive to say!)

  2. I'd like to THINK I'm fun to be around. That's just another reason NOT to garden because gardening can definitely impact my mood - and not in a good way! Glad to hear from another "brown thumb" sister!

  3. Eric made fun of me when I bought two pairs of "cute" gardening gloves because I couldn't decide which ones to get....and I thought they might get dirty.....(yes I got the who did i marry look for that comment) GUESS I GOT IT FROM SOMEONE!!