Monday, January 10, 2011

Serial Killer

I'm a serial killer. I can't help myself. I've tried to stop. Yet whenever the opportunity presents itself I'm there with my trowel and hoe. No plant is safe in my path. I must confess that I've also unintentionally murdered the 1st grade tadpoles and roasted our guinea pig in the sun last year when I accidentally left him outside while I cleaned his cage. I'm pretty sure that was karma though because that guinea pig was evil. Not that that justifies anything. I feel horrible guilt and remorse. So why oh why would I devise a plot (complete with trowel and hoe) to kill again?

Romaine, spinach and arugula are reasons 1, 2 and 3. Oh you can get lettuce here. You have the choice of affordable wilty, dirt caked, bug laden lettuce or the perfect romaine at the souk with the guy who totally rips you off. And trust me I've totally let souk guy use me and paid him handsomely to do it. When a girl needs a romaine fix she needs a romaine fix ok? My break-up with the romaine pimp is long overdue. I've always wanted a garden, but knowing my penchant for plant slaughter and living in arid, garden-scarfing wildlife filled Colorado adds more than a few challenging elements. So I figure it's better to attempt this whole garden thing out in sunny, balmy, moist Rabat where the odds are stacked more in our favor. And with our heavily secured gated yard the garden's only predator is a turtle named Mary (because of the Great Immaculate Turtle Conception of 2010). But the plants sill have to survive the 4 kids and me, garden enemy #1. This has got to be the most perilous adventure we have attempted. Maybe not for us, but definitely for the seeds that we sow...

My parents always had a garden while I was growing up. We composted on it all fall and winter. I have vivid memories of the enourmous compost bucket in the mud room and how I would choke back the vomit from the pungent, putrid rotting organicness inside and then treking it out in the freezing cold to dump it on the garden. I only composed because well, you knew you'd be in trouble if that apple core made it's way into the trash and you got busted and had to endure the lecture of how you were throwing away perfectly good garden marinade. And then come spring I would help turn the soil and prepare it for the growing season. Not because I really cared about the garden, but because I could find some really fat juicy worms and I could collect them. (Obviously we didn't have cable, video games or the internet back then.) The process after my worm farm was a blur to me as I wasn't very interested in how that swiss chard got from the garden to my plate cause I would prefer it not make it there in the first place. I'm sure you can guess the fate of my treasured worm collection when I completely forgot about it and went to play catch with one of my brothers instead. Wormslaughter by neglect.

The time has come to fill the hole in our yard that used to be occupied by a fish pond. I know that sounds quaint, but trust me these were high maintenance fish and they blighted the yard so they were relocated to a nice little pond in the country. You thought I was going to kill them didn't you? Come to think of it, I never did check to see if they actually swam away after we abruptly dumped them into their new home. With the fish gone, we filled in the big gaping landfill with hedge clippings and got some soil and started to compost on it. Jade has taken over the role of compost nazi. Forget about your parents finding that banana peel in the trash, if your kid does and berates you for it, it actually feels a whole lot worse. Trust me. I have been caught trying to pour the last cup of leftover coffee down the drain. And a nine year old can really lay on the environmental guilt like no one else. Ok. I'm sorry. It won't happen again Jade. In the future I will save it for the garden. Can you send me to my room so I can read a book now? Please? Damn, I tried.

All the kids bring their special talents to the garden. Jade is of course President, VP, EPA inspector of the garden and it's cheering section. Ember is officially in charge of anything that needs stomping, raking, hoeing and impaling. So basically, she is the Demolition Team. We are glad for her to have an outlet that diverts her destruction from her siblings, at least temporarily. The boys are in for any heavy lifting, getting dirty duty and if the treasury would only allow them an earth mover, crane, plow, harvester or anything mechanical. Craig and I of course are the treasurers. And since we are the treasury we have denied repeated requests to purchase a jethro tull (and no not the fluted back ground music kind, although that might not be a bad idea.), the boys interest in Family Gardening 101 is waning.

We've ordered our seeds. I know that sounds simple, but when you live overseas and try to get organic seeds (or anything else for that matter) sent to you here it's like an act of god. It usually takes a day and several phone conversations with a customer service representative (in India). And once you get that confirmation order number you put it in your safe and guard it with your life because that right there is a binding legal document that yes indeed _____________(fill in the blank) will arrive anywhere between 3 months and 3 years time. Now send me my freaking organic seeds already! My soil contains at least 11 essential vitamins and minerals and a handful of parasites, I've got two team members who are about to abandon the project, the EPA inspector is breathing down my neck, Ember the destoyer is running out of garden to desecrate and mutha Mary the immaculate conceiving turtle may have even more mouths to feed by the time it's sprouting! That is if I don't kill it first...

Recommended reading:

Green Barbarians by Ellen Sandbeck (Especially good for those living in Africa as it covers why having intestital parasites is good for you.)

Sh*t my Dad Says by Justin Halpern (Because it's funny as sh*t and reminds me a bit of my dad. Love you pop!)


Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita said...

Love your blog! I suck big time at gardening :)

The Loerzels said...

Thanks so much!

Lisa said...

I don't garden either, although I would love to. I did the same thing with our guinea pig and it was the most awful feeling ever!!! Just heard about Sh*t My Dad Says, today. Miss you!!


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