Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it.

I have given up trying to explain it to my friends in Oz who don't. Most Aussies know it's a big day for Americans and that its centerpiece is a huge family feast featuring turkeys the size of which astound people who haven't grown up with genetic breeding and steroids for their farm animals.

And for some strange reason, Aussies know about the dessert. "That's where they eat pumpkin pies, isn't it?" they will ask, with the tone of their voice leaving no doubt they consider it excessively weird to use pumpkins as the chief dessert ingredient. When you think about the fact that most Aussies start out each morning spreading on their toast a black paste made from the yeast left over during beer fermentation, you get a sense of just how weird it must seem to the rest of the world to eat a pie made of pumpkin.

That is, of course, until you feed them one as LK and I used to do many years ago when we would host our new Aussie friends so they could sample a genuine Thanksgiving dinner. But those annual extravaganzas were when we were younger and much more energetic. Even then, though, our energy had its limits and we finally gave it up when we realized we had served turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie to about 30 people and had barely had the time to chat with our guests. In fact, we weren't even sure we knew all our guests.

So now Thanksgiving is just another day for us. Which is a shame, really, because for the first time in our lives we are emulating those 16th centuries Pilgrim refugees in America, finding ourselves on a fast track to filling the cornucopia with, among other things, lots of tomatoes, radishes, beans, peas, squash and beets.

And this doesn't include the 2 dozen she's repotted!
Lacking the guidance from the native Americans that the Pilgrims received, we have already made several errors as we plant our garden. LK, for example, did not have great faith in her ability to get seeds to germinate. As a result, she is trying to figure out A) should we go ahead and plant the 60 or 70 tomato seedlings she now has; B) assuming we do, what will we do with the several hundred tomatoes they should yield and C) how much will it cost to buy all the jars and other gear to preserve these things.

I would laugh at her, if only I wasn't trying to figure out what you can do with 60 or 70 radishes. I am quite sure that's the number I will end up with based on the number of seeds that have already germinated. And similar excessive yields are likely for beets, carrots, cucumbers, zucchinis and turnips. Turnips! What in the world was I thinking of?

It will be January or February when most the great harvest begins here in the southern hemisphere. That is also about the time that I should be considering renting a stall at the Sunday Farmers Market. But lacking that, I guess we could revive the tradition and invite our neighbors over to share in our bounty and offer thanksgiving for our plenty.

Or perhaps I am jumping the gun. This morning LK stormed into the house. "Something ate one of my strawberries," she growled. Obviously many gardening challenges remain, but today I think it is nicer to just hold onto my Aussie Thanksgiving fantasy. And make sure I pay special attention to those squash growing in the corner patch. They should make good pies.

Who's been eating my berries, Mrs K wants to know

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