Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Biking to the Garden of Ignorance

Six new beds and a deck to drink whisky upon, that is what I built. 

I realize I have always been a little more drawn to creating spectacle than utilitarianism. When utilitarianism and spectacle converge, I get really excited. I am no expert in my recreational pursuits, but I have fun.

Look at my biking experience. Yes, I like to ride my bike to work. It is a fun thing to do. It is a good thing to do for me, my community and the world at large. I like lights, I like music, I like spectacle and I like it all on my bike. I don't know what kind of gear ratios my bike has. I don't even know if "gear ratios" is really a thing for bikes. I barely maintain my bike. When something breaks, that's when I really get serious about doing "maintenance." The Xtracycle has always been good conversation starter. I have added and then subtracted so much weirdness from it over the years, but I put on a new cable when the cable breaks. I change the brake pads when the brakes break. When I am down to about four usable gears, I adjust the shifting. But music, lights, stickers, spoke cards, a mobile BBQ trailer? Hell yeah! Serious bikers would note that I am not a serious biker.

My latest sound system - a repurposed Bluetooth shower speaker. 

My garden is the same way. I water my plants with a hose when the dirt gets dry. I pull up stuff and eat it right there. I don't know the types of tomatoes I am growing. I bought the seeds because they had funny names. One year I grew Charlie Chaplins, the next year it was Bloody Butchers. If it has a funny name, I will buy the seeds. This year, I've already forgotten what they were. Sophie's Choices? Golden Goiters? Turbo Blechs? I find that I plant plants together that are good "companion plants." How do I know this? Because someone told me I had done this.

I built this "patio" to sit and watch the garden (and drink whisky) in about three hours. I could've done it in two, if I didn't use a level. That's right. I used a level. 

This garden patio now supersedes this patio:

You might walk by my garden, and think me a "serious" gardener. Maybe just by the sheer volume of my efforts. The new beds  almost doubled the garden. Here's a gardening tip - I like to weed my plants until my plants are bigger than the weeds, then after that, if the weeds win, my vegetables deserved the loss. I know nothing of soil Ph. When something starts killing my plants, I kill that something (slugs). I do this only for vengeance.  

When beautiful, unfamiliar poppies started poking up in my vegetable beds, I let them grow with the crops because they looked cool. Every year, there seems to be fewer of these dandy interlopers. It makes me a little sad to see their numbers dwindle. 

I grew radishes until they almost went to seed and now I am going to pickle some, so I can delay the guilt of discarding them - until I throw the jar of their undisturbed contents away, probably around Halloween.

I have a lot of people stop by and tell me they really like my garden. I know that often they are referring to the flowers Sarah has grown. Either way, I take credit and it makes me feel good. I, in turn, get to ask about their garden, or their bike, or their baby in a stroller. 

My garden is a spectacle just like my bike. It's not whimsical, maybe a little ramshackle. Yet the garden pumps out the produce, which like biking seems to do me some good.  

There are things I like to have expertise in. Those are the things that pay the bills. Any expertise I have in biking or gardening is overshadowed by the fun I have, the people I meet and the show it creates.