Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vegetable, Miracle

So my pal Ronn, fearless leader of a local Bike& Brunch group, invited me to a cycle maintenance talk yesterday at Bethesda's cool new Conte's bike shop. It's tough to beat free bagels and chats with bike experts, so of course I went. During the tire repair portion of the demonstration, the instructor advised checking the inside of the tire and wheel when you get a flat to see what caused it. Makes sense. Wish I had thought of that for my first, some may say valiant, attempt at changing my rear tire (for more details, see the premature celebration in my previous post, after which the patched tire promptly reflatted). I figured it out, though... on my second attempt. I think I nailed it (ha ha). And of course, I took some silly pictures.

Saturday was supposed to be my first visit to a local farm. I woke up to discover that while it was early it was nowhere near bright, but rather damp and around 40 degrees. Miserable. The group -- Meghan (one of my oldest friends who is visiting from Houston) and Mike (unflagging in his encouragement and advice on all things long-distance-biking who had offered to drive) -- opted to reschedule our visit and we settled in for a brunch of waffles and wild blueberries at my place. But today, still early and still far from bright, Meghan and I braved the PG County local bus system and general lack of signage and made it out to friendly Claggett Farm. We mostly worked in the greenhouse with a few other volunteers, led by Gail (who works there full time).

While I've started things from seed before -- tomatoes, peppers, various herbs and flowers -- never had I planted so many of them, nor organized them so meticulously, or really noticed how very tiny they are. (You pay attention to these things when trying to get only one seed per planter cell, or, as I like to call them, dirt divots, over the course of many hours.) I found myself meditating on more than one occasion, finding myself in awe of these tiny, hard little things -- especially the almost too small to see parsley or stevia (an herbal sweetener) seeds -- which would miraculously grow into beautiful, aromatic bursts of foliage and nutrients in a matter of weeks. Okay, maybe I was a little delirious from getting up earlier than usual or being out in the country (and Upper Marlboro is the country, in spite of the random McMansion developments not far up the road). Maybe I was a little hungry. (Reading all of the delectable sounding names of the varietals and chatting about ways to use various types of hot peppers will do that to me.) In any case, it was a good introduction to the farm and allowed us to get our hands into lots of dirt and help out. We came home to my apartment mud-caked, exhausted, and satisfied. And I can't wait to do it again!


  1. In the picture with Meghan in it, what does it say on the tape on the planter tray? (just curious...)

  2. Hey Tysen, it seems that Meghan can't post comments here using her yahoo account, but I've managed to track down the answer: Forest Green Parsley. Most recalcitrant seeds ever....


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