Sunday, September 28, 2014

So It Turns Out I Have a Black Thumb

Remember last year when I wrote a couple of enthusiastic blog posts about the vegetable garden I planted? And do you also remember how I just sort of never mentioned it again? Yeah, there was a reason for that. It turns out that either I can’t grow vegetables or I live on accursed soil. I would say that this is a Sign from the Universe that I’m not supposed to be here, if I were the sort of half-educated hippie who believes that the Universe is a sentient being both capable of and willing to communicate with me personally. I mean, honestly, if the Universe were going to tell me things, I think It would send me a postcard or something.

So all the things I planted last year promptly died or were eaten by rabbits. Well, that’s not entirely true, I got like five peas and two tomatoes. These tomatoes were the size of golf balls. It’s no wonder all those Jamestown settlers died.

When I lived with the ex, Toad Blowhard, we had a bunch of houseplants and I was really good at taking care of them and they thrived. I thought I had a bit of a green thumb. So I was shocked and appalled when all of my plants died. I guess maybe it was really Toad who had the green thumb and I was just the one who watered the plants and kept the cat out of them.

NO SMALL FEAT, I might add.

No, I don’t know what happened. One day all the stuff looked great, the next it was all shriveled up and brown and dead and shit. I didn’t take any pictures, because I don’t want to remember.

If I have one quality that I’m entirely too proud of in spite of the fact that it’s driving me right to my doom, it’s my inability to accept failure. I mean, my tenacity. So, this year, I bought a gas-powered tiller and planted vegetables again.

I managed to get about half a dozen small tomatoes before my tomato plants inexplicably shriveled up and died in a near-repeat of last year’s performance. I say near-repeat because the plants actually grew to a more-or-less normal size before they died for no reason, so that was encouraging. I would have gotten up to three normal-sized tomatoes off of them, but I forgot a dose of deer repellant so the deer ate them instead. I also managed to grow two whole servings of green beans and several small, misshapen and immature bell peppers that were supposed to be purple but had to be harvested while still green, on account of their weight caused the plants to fall over. Rabbits got the lettuce and cantaloupes. The carrots never sprouted. The cucumbers put up a hell of a fight, but ultimately produced nothing.

I also grew a sunflower:

But two days after I took that picture, the sunflower fell over and died.

Will I plant a vegetable garden again next year? You bet your ass I will. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Waste Not, Because I Will Flip the F*&k Out About It

If there’s one thing that bothers the crap out of me – and I’m sure we all know by now that there's more than one thing that bothers the crap out of me – it’s people being wasteful. I particularly hate it when people waste food. This, btw, is why I’m getting fat.

It’s not the starving children in China I’m worried about. China is actually experiencing a pretty alarming childhood obesity problem, second in severity only to our own. Hilariously, the People’s Liberation Army is now too fat to fit into its own tanks, according to the Wall Street Journal.

My mother never guilt-tripped me about the starving children in Africa, because I’d read Calvin & Hobbes and I would have offered to send them my leftovers in the mail. Instead, if I didn’t want to finish my food – which happened a lot, because my mother’s idea of cooking was opening two cans and lighting a cigarette – my mother would go along with it, but then the next time I got hungry she’d say, “I want you to go to your room and think about all that food you wasted the last time I fed you.” Then she’d refuse to feed me until she was satisfied that I’d thought hard enough about the terrible, terrible sin of wasting food.

It didn’t make her a better cook, but it gave me a complex. Now I can’t stand wasting food. I’ve been known to eat until I make myself sick rather than leave any food on my plate in a restaurant, and I will eat the same leftovers every day for a week and then freeze them so I can eat them for another week at a later date, if that’s what it takes not to waste them. I’ve recently started feeding my kitchen waste to the marmot that lives in the woods on my property, in a sort of compromise with my own neuroses. I’ve spoken with the marmot’s doctor and we’ve agreed that he could stand to put on some weight.

This is not the marmot, this is his sexy cousin.
Image by user Clayoquot on Wikipedia.

All of this is relevant because I like to have parties, and the people who come to these parties like to bring unreasonable amounts of food and booze. On one memorable occasion I asked people over to build a fire in the fire pit and make smores and ended up with six fucking bags of marshmallows. SIX. I fed a bunch of them to Fatty because he loves them and also he plays with them for like half an hour first, which I figure burns off enough calories to balance things out. That’s not animal abuse, right?

Other food items that have been brought over and left in my house include a gallon freaking tub of ice cream from Aldi’s, and more recently – last weekend, for my birthday party – one and a half cheesecakes, two-thirds of a tres leche cake, and two giant-sized bottles of wine plus one normal-sized bottle of wine. In my weaker moments, I wonder if my friends are trying to get me to eat myself to death.

Now you might say, “Why not just save the bottles of wine, irrationally irate blogger?” And I would, Gentle Reader, if not for the fact that my friends opened BOTH giant bottles of wine and drank a glass from each of them. For the past four days, I’ve been staring at these mostly-full bottles of wine in my kitchen and thinking to myself, “Why would you do that? Why not just open the one giant bottle of wine? Why let both of them go to waste?”


Naturally I’m not going to drink two giant bottles of wine by myself – I’m not an alcoholic, and I don’t even like wine – so they have gone off. I just tasted one to make sure. Luckily, it turns out you can freeze cheesecake, but I can’t personally eat two-thirds of a tres leche cake, because I’m already getting fat from all the other things I forced myself to eat. But I’m still struggling to come to terms with the fact that I’m just going to have to THROW OUT two-thirds of a cake and two liters of wine. THERE ARE SOBER CHILDREN IN AFRICA, FOR FUCK’S SAKE.