Where Food Comes From

I’m out with the kids for the weekly scooter run on a nice Saturday afternoon. The penned up energy is out of control as they weave in-between the unsuspecting crowd on the sidewalk.  I run after them apologizing to anyone who will listen and see two “at risk” demographics right in harm’s way.  One is an arthritic old lady pushing a walker with Bed, Bath and Beyond bags hanging from the brake and beyond her a group of three waify model types, drinking Diet Coke and looking like pairs of long tooth picks stuck into little baseball bats. I figure a direct blow to either could snap a femur. Thing 2 crashes into an ill-placed recycling bin before she reaches the old lady and Thing 1 pulls a serious G-force turn around the models barely missing a little rat looking dog one of stick figures has in tow.  She just makes the entrance to Washington Square Park where she hits an unanticipated wall of water from the park’s elaborate sprinkler system.  By the time I get to her, she’s sobbing and drenched.  We sit on a park bench in the sun waiting for a recovery and I notice the gardens in the back of the park, all raised organized and just starting to sprout.  We get home and I google “Garden Planning Tools” and find a great virtual garden planner called Growveg.com that rivals Farmviille.  It lets you drag and drop lines of crops in the dimensions you give it and then texts you when it’s time to plant, water and harvest.  I print out the final product and call the handyman who does odd jobs at the beach house.  This will be an odd job.  He’s there already filling a sink hole in the back yard and is more than willing to take some old lumber, build a rectangle border and fill it with pungent, moist soil. I take my plans down to the local hardware store on Chambers St. to get some seeds. I see the kid who always screws up my key copy orders and move right pass him to the father.  He’ll know what I’m after.  He looks like he probably grew up in a commune and I’m sure he’s got three thriving pot plants back at his apartment. Even though ganja is technically a weed, I’m told it’s extremely hard to grow.

It’s Sunday morning and Thing 2 and I drive two hours to the house, armed with seeds, seedlings, a spade and some fancy fertilizer that the guy at the hardware store swears by.  As I suspected, he says he got choice buds with it last year. Thing 1 has a pirate themed birthday party to go to, so she’s staying back with my wife. We pull up and the bed is a thing of beauty, although it’s a bit light on the soil.  I put it in reverse and we head straight out to the nursery super center on the highway for a top soil top up.  We return and get to work. It’s amazing that a big bag of soil only cost $4.  That’s less than a large bottled water.   Thing 2 needs to wipe her hands off every 3 minutes.  She thinks the soil is poop. It kind of is I guess.  I explain that it’s natural and good. She asks if we can eat it.  This is going to be harder than I thought. Somewhere along the way I came to believe that all kids naturally like dirt, grass and sand.  I grew up with three brothers and no sisters so I might have a blind spot in this area. Slowly she gets into it.  We’ve laid down rows of carrots, beets, rocket, cucumbers and onions.  When I was buying the seeds, I just selflessly though of a salad I might like to eat. I might have to get something more entertaining next time, like strawberries, corn or watermelon.  Thing 2 likes dropping the seeds in the little holes. I think it makes her feel powerful.  We planted them too deep the first time and had to dig them all up again.  The half wit at the nursery told me only a half inch under and I forgot, so what does that make me… a quarter wit?  I only put them down 2 inches but apparently that’s like an ant being held down by a tsunami.  We water the bed,  clean up and head back to the city.  Now we go to the waiting place, like in the Dr Seuss book.

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