The Super Bowl of Gardening

squirrel in football stance

California Gray Squirrel perfecting his two-point stance

I’ve tried to like American football. With numerous invitations to Super Bowl parties over the years, my interest stemmed from a desire to fit in. To be “one with the ball” so to speak. By the time I reached my mid-twenties, however, I threw in the towel. When they were handing out the sports-loving genes, I was waiting in line for a green thumb. It’s a national pastime in the States, culminating in this weekend’s Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t begrudge the fans, as long as they’re well-behaved, but other than fast-forwarding through the clever commercials, Super Bowl Sunday is just another day for me. Weather permitting, I would rather spend the time in the garden.

I consulted the For Dummies series to educate myself on the following football terms, then translated them into phrases that a gardener will understand.

Without further ado, here is your guide to the Super Bowl of Gardening

Down: A period of action that starts when the ball is put into play and ends when the ball is ruled dead (meaning that the play is completed).

Down: A period of time known as winter.  Gardening down time.

End zone: A 10-yard-long area at both ends of the field — the promised land for a football player.

End zone: The only zone in which you can’t grow a thing.  I garden in zone 9b.

Extra point: A kick, worth one point, that’s typically attempted after every touchdown.

Extra point: When you plant one thing, and two things come up instead.

Field goal: A kick, worth three points, that can be attempted from anywhere on the field but usually is attempted within 40 yards of the goalpost.

Field goal: My goal is to grow a garden as big as a football field.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the ball while running with it or being tackled.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the bulb you just dug up when the resident gardener runs after you saying “No!  Not the tulip bulbs!!!” This usually pertains to squirrels.

Hash marks: The lines on the center of the field that signify 1 yard on the field.

Hash marks: The indentations left on your knees after pulling weeds all day.

Interception: A pass that’s caught by a defensive player, ending the offense’s possession of the ball.

Interception: The sunflowers saved by a defensive gardener who figures out clever ways to outsmart the squirrels.

Kickoff: A free kick that puts the ball into play.

Kickoff: Also referred to as ‘Spring.’

Punt: A kick made when a player drops the ball and kicks it while it falls toward his foot.

Punt: A kick made when a gardener drops a packet of seeds and tries desperately to keep them from hitting the ground.

Return: The act of receiving a kick or punt and running toward the opponent’s goal line with the intent of scoring or gaining significant yardage.

Return: The act of returning to the garden center again and again because you simply can’t help yourself.

Sack: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of yardage.

Sack: A great place to store and dry last year’s seeds.

Snap: The action in which the ball is hiked (tossed between the legs) by the center to the quarterback, to the holder on a kick attempt, or to the punter.

Snap: The sound a gardener’s neck makes, when she realizes that what she just brushed off her shoulder has six furry legs. A snap may also warrant a trip to the chiropractor.

Touchdown: A score, worth six points, that occurs when a player in possession of the ball crosses the plane of the opponent’s goal line, or when a player catches the ball while in the opponent’s end zone, or when a defensive player recovers a loose ball in the opponent’s end zone.

Touchdown: When you brush your hand across the surface of a lambs ear it’s like touching down.

and finally

Turnover: When, with either a fumble or an interception, one team loses possession of the football to the other.

Turnover: After a full day in the garden, I want to enjoy a hot cup of tea and an apple turnover. Yum!

Wishing you a terrific weekend, on or off the field.

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Snow-in-a-Can, Winter Wonderland

Early last week, I received a package in the mail.  Not just any old package, but a package from a garden gnome named Alyster.  He’s a clever little fellow, small enough to fit in your hand, but full of big ideas.

Alyster says he’s “up to his eyeballs in snow” and wishes he could come back to stay in sunny California.  I wish he would come and stay, too.  I need to check in with his traveling companion, Boomdee.

Since Alyster is missing the sun, he thought I might be missing the snow.  (You are so right, Alyster).  That clever garden gnome sent me snow-in-a-can.  Just add water and watch the snow grow.  Along with the snow came a tiny glass igloo, and the smallest scarf you’ve ever seen.

snow in a can

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

So what does one do with snow-in-a-can, a tiny igloo and a pint-sized red scarf?  You make a snow globe!

Several years ago, my friend Marcia sent us this super-cool acrylic globe.  We’ve used it in many ways over the years.  It was a terrarium for a while till the plants outgrew it.  One year we filled it with colored silk Christmas ornaments.  It’s also beautiful unadorned.

Acrylic globe

Acrylic globe

This season it’s a tiny winter wonderland.  Here’s what I did:

I filled the bottom with airfill packing, then topped with a paper plate, cut to fit the opening.

Airplus Packing material

AIRplus Packing material

I foraged a couple of Christmas ornaments from our tree to help set the scene.  We bought the tiny wooden snowman for our first tree 18 years ago.  We were starting from scratch so we bought a small tree and even smaller ornaments at a local import store.  The little door decoration came from our local Hallmark store the year we remodeled our house.

snow globe details

Snow globe details

I added sprigs of Christmas greens, a small pathway and then it was time to let it snow.  I haven’t had this much fun in ages.

It’s ‘snowing’ on WordPress throughout December.  I can’t wait to hit the publish key so I can watch the snow falling on my winter wonderland.

PS…Alyster, I found your flip-flops.  You left them on the bottom of the box.  Please pop over to pick them up whenever you like.  🙂  I’ll keep the light on for you.

snow globe

Snow globe

under the dome

Under the dome

falling snow

Now just linger over this last photo and wait for the snow to fall

 

Slipping into Friday with a Silly Joke

Someone told me the following joke years ago and it still makes me giggle.  I don’t generally remember jokes, even five minutes later, or I mess up the telling of the joke and give away the punch line.

Since I edit my own blog, this time I’ll get it right. And since you are reading this joke, I’ll never know if you are rolling your eyes, or suppressing a soft groan.

In my mind, you’ve just let out a deep belly laugh, and now have tears running down your cheeks while you call to someone in the other room to come hear this hilarious joke.

Perhaps I should have stopped before that last paragraph.  Now you really have your hopes up. I’m nothing if not optimistic.

A man hears a knock at his door, but upon answering doesn’t find anyone there.

He closes the door, but again hears a knock.

The second time he opens the door, looks down and sees a garden snail on his front porch.

He bends down, hurls the snail across the yard and again closes the door.

Flash forward: Ten Years Later

The same man hears a knock at his door and upon answering it, he sees the same snail on his front porch.

The snail looks up at him and says, “What the hell was that about?”

snail on porch

I hope you’re sliding into a happy Friday.

 

Waiting for ‘DaGourds

a pair of birdhouse gourds

Keeping cozy

Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot was required reading during my college days.  It’s summarized as an absurdest play, with two men waiting in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot.  Interpretations of the play vary widely.

I’m waiting for the gourds to turn brown. How’s that for absurd?  I waited months for the birdhouse gourds to turn green.  Now I’ll wait even longer for them to turn brown.

My wait isn’t political, psychological, Freudian or existential. It’s craft-based. I’m waiting for the gourds to turn brown so I can carve them into birdhouses.

I’ve bundled them up to keep them warm and dry.  I give them a spin now and again to be sure they’re drying evenly. Today I wrapped them in scarves and set them on a chair where they sit mocking me. They seem determined to remain ever-green.

Waiting for Godot is “a tragicomedy in two acts.”  Waiting for the gourds is just silly.

Birdhouse Gourds in Scarves

Birdhouse Gourds Staying Dry and Warm

 

Punny Garden: The Sequel

Gardenlocks

Gardenlocks

This time last year, I published a post called Punny Garden: Garden Jokes and Puns.  It proved to be one of my most popular. It continues to get hits most days.  People like to smile, laugh or guffaw.  Even the groaners are fun.

Without further ado, I give you Punny Garden: The Sequel.  Thank you, Google, and all the individual contributors, for making this possible.

One-liners:

  • When kissing flowers, tulips are better than one.
  • Organic farmers till it like it is.
  • Why do melons have fancy weddings? Because they cantaloupe.
  • I once heard that the most popular thing to download on the internet is corn.

Books and Theater:

  • My Fair Lilac
  • Hello, Dahlia
  • Crocus Pocus
  • Bird of Paradise Lost
  • A Midsummer Nightshade’s Dream
  • The Garden of Weedin’

Puns:

King Tut’s favorite flower? Chrysanthemums

Thanks to reader Marcella Rouseau of For Your Good Health. Marcella won a pun contest at Organic Gardening and Farming with these:

  • Nevergreen by Barbra Drysand
  • Little Fruit Coup by the Peachboys

For more laughs, be sure to check out David Hobson’s Garden Humour

Super Bowl Gardening?

Squirrel eating sunflower

Squirrel eating sunflower

I’ve been wracking my brain for a gardening-Super Bowl tie in today.  Since half the world is probably watching the Super Bowl now, I could simply make something up.  I doubt anyone is reading a gardening blog.

Instead I consulted the ‘For Dummies’ series to educate myself on the following football terms.  I’ve come up with my own (gardening) interpretation of the same:

Down: A period of action that starts when the ball is put into play and ends when the ball is ruled dead (meaning that the play is completed).

Down: A period of time known as winter.  Gardening down time.

End zone: A 10-yard-long area at both ends of the field — the promised land for a football player.

End zone: The only zone in which you can’t grow a thing.  I garden in zone 14-15.

Extra point: A kick, worth one point, that’s typically attempted after every touchdown.

Extra point: When you plant one thing, and two things come up instead.

Field goal: A kick, worth three points, that can be attempted from anywhere on the field but usually is attempted within 40 yards of the goalpost.

Field goal: My goal is to grow a garden as big as a football field.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the ball while running with it or being tackled.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the bulb you just dug up when the resident gardener runs after you saying “No!  Not the tulip bulbs!!!” This usually pertains to squirrels.

Hash marks: The lines on the center of the field that signify 1 yard on the field.

Hash marks: The indentations left on your knees after pulling weeds all day.

Interception: A pass that’s caught by a defensive player, ending the offense’s possession of the ball.

Interception: The sunflowers saved by a defensive gardener who figures out clever ways to outsmart the squirrels.

Kickoff: A free kick that puts the ball into play.

Kickoff: Also referred to as ‘Spring.’

Punt: A kick made when a player drops the ball and kicks it while it falls toward his foot.

Punt: A kick made when a gardener drops a packet of seeds and tries desperately to keep them from hitting the ground.

Return: The act of receiving a kick or punt and running toward the opponent’s goal line with the intent of scoring or gaining significant yardage.

Return: The act of returning to the garden center again and again because you simply can’t help yourself.

Sack: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of yardage.

Sack: A great place to store and dry last year’s seeds.

Snap: The action in which the ball is hiked (tossed between the legs) by the center to the quarterback, to the holder on a kick attempt, or to the punter.

Snap: The sound a gardener’s neck makes, when she realizes that what she just brushed off her shoulder has six furry legs. A snap may also warrant a trip to the chiropractor.

Touchdown: A score, worth six points, that occurs when a player in possession of the ball crosses the plane of the opponent’s goal line, or when a player catches the ball while in the opponent’s end zone, or when a defensive player recovers a loose ball in the opponent’s end zone.

Touchdown: When you brush your hand across the surface of a ‘lambs ear‘ it’s like touching down. 

Garden Guffaw: Plotting Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomato Seeds

Heirloom Tomato Seeds

I walked the garden with my husband this morning as we made summer plans. We’re enjoying a warm, sunny day with highs climbing into the seventies. I wish you could be here along with me, especially those of you snowed in.

In order to maximize the planting boxes, we’ve agreed on a place to relocate the raspberry vines. I’m always angling for more planting space out back, so I’m pretty excited.

This year I’m planting all of my tomatoes in the City Pickers.  They worked great last year. The ability to move them around as other garden plants grow larger is a boon.  It feels great putting a plan in place.

My sister sent me the following funny story a few years ago, about planting tomatoes. It always makes me smile. I don’t know the origins, so I’ll extend thanks to the universe and the anonymous writer of this tongue in cheek tale. Enjoy!

Plotting Tomatoes:

An older gentleman living alone in New Jersey looked forward to planting his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work. The ground was simply too hard. His only son Vincent would usually help him but he was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son describing his predicament.

Dear Vincent,

It looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig it for me, like in the old days. I’m feeling a little sad. I hope you are well.

Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried.

Love, Vinnie

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love you, Vinnie

I hope you’re smiling, too.

Growing Tomatoes

Growing Tomatoes

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. ~Author Unknown