The garden produced an embarrassment of riches this past summer. As an enthusiastic and eager novice gardener, I may have planted a little too much for household use by two adults. I planted three varieties of tomatoes, three varieties of carrots and beans, two varieties of cucumbers, two types of lettuce, bell peppers, sweet peas, broccoli, yellow squash, Bok Choy and Brussels sprouts. That long litany of food producing plants does not include the herbs and edible flowers that could be found in my garden. To say I got a little carried away is a suitable description under the circumstances.
And what were the circumstances? Do you remember the candy factory scene from I love Lucy? No matter how fast I tried, I couldn't keep up with production. Cucumbers and carrots were stuffed in every open drawer or shelf in the refrigerator. Rows and rows of tomatoes lined the shelves of the herb window in the kitchen as I filled mason jars with homemade tomato sauce. If I were attempting to be accurate, maybe vegetable production was more like the Sorcerer's Apprentice in the movie Fantasia. At first I was self satisfied and pleased with the magic I had unleashed by my own hand but by the end of September I was promising never to tinker with forces I did not understand again.
Before dancing cucumbers and Bok Choy menaced the nighttime dreams of my budding horticulturist slumber, I would write at the table on my patio that overlooked the garden. Cool mornings on the mountain allowed me to get in a couple hours of work before the glare from the summer sun made working on a laptop futile. These were joyful moments as I faded into the landscape and the natural world carried on as if I were visible. Indeed, maybe I was invisible because one morning I looked up to see Gary the Gardener, not ten feet away, eating the leaves off the broccoli plants. I had recently learned that all parts of the broccoli plant were edible so I was not surprised to see Gary chowing down. I quickly calculated the garden was going to produce more broccoli crown heads, leaves and stalks than we could use, so why not share?
Later that day I was recounting Gary's visit to the garden and his love of broccoli, when Marty demand to know if I had told Gary that was unacceptable. Hmmm, did Marty really think I was going to use the word unacceptable when communicating with Gary? Did he think I talked to wildlife like Snow White or Cinderella, singing as blue birds sat on my finger? In the interest of relationship harmony, these questions remained unspoken. What I did say was we had plenty to share and I felt it would do no harm to let him have a couple of leaves from the broccoli plants.
I will, of course, tell you the real reason I did not shoo Gary away. Gary believes I planted a lush and abundant garden as a gift for him. If I could understand the Sciuridae language, I am sure he was saying, "You like me, you really, really like me." I did not have it in me to break his heart. So what if we give up a couple broccoli leaves and the best of the heirloom tomatoes on the vine. Isn't that worth allowing a fellow gardener the joy of feeling loved? I did not share this thought with Marty because he would accuse me of being anthropomorphic in my relationship with Gary. I did not pursue the discussion further because I know I would not take his observation of my behavior seriously. After all he is a man who would use the word unacceptable when talking to a squirrel.