I’ve had some obstacles with the fall garden.

First, I’ve already planted it once.

Well, twice.

Okay, three times.

I planted four pumpkin plants. Though they looked quite promising initially, they could not survive the end of summer heat. A bit later, I planted fall lettuce. I think the seeds were real old.

My last attempt was to plant some spinach. That’s really all I want–fall spinach. I watered it almost daily but over three weeks in, no sign of spinach. As an experiment, I also planted some in the communal garden, where I noticed the dirt was much darker than mine. Spinach did come up in the beautiful black soil in the communal space; I realized my soil was tired.

The soil does not look good. It is grey-ish. It is sad. I think about Michael Pollan’s book about gardening and his other books about the way we treat the earth and I feel guilty. I know this is not the same as farmers taking and taking and taking without replenishing, but on a small scale, it’s kind of is.  Soon, I am getting some compost from the city, covering my plot with it, and giving it a much deserved break.

Because I cannot give up on my fall garden dream, I bought some seeds Tuesday–a fourth attempt.

Obstacles continued, though. First, there was the praying mantis on my bike wheel. I am not the type of girl who is afraid of bugs (refer to this blog’s overarching theme). Spiders and I used to have issues, but then I stopped living with my mom and realized that I’d have to deal with them. Praying mantes (I looked this spelling up) do scare me, though. They seem really powerful. And smart. Maybe it’s the way the ladies bite the guys’ heads off.

I tried knocking it off with a leaf. It just lifted up its little praying hands and stared at me. I rolled my bike back and forth, while trying to explain the way a wheel worked–if it stayed there, it would eventually get smashed. To avoid dealing with it, I took that photo. I jumped around a little bit when it seemed like it might touch me. Then, finally I hit it real hard with a stick and it flew on the concrete. I did not check to see if it was okay.

When I got to the garden, I had one more obstacle: where to plant. All the communal space was either filled with other plants, taken over by weeds, or covered in sand in preparation for the winter. This is the time of the year that I attempt to accomplish 1,000 things every day, so I knew I did not have time to clear out an entire section of ground.

Beneath the sand is beautiful black dirt. Our most devoted community gardener put the sand there. The area does not really need to be prepped for next year, though; it is super nutrient-rich right now. Spinach seeds would be so happy there. I started clearing the space. But with each shovelful of sand, I felt guilty, knowing that moving the sand would upset him. I also realized that I had nowhere to store pounds and pounds and pounds of sand without creating a mess for someone else.

So instead, I found this awkward little hole and planted the spinach, bok choi, and kale there. Here’s to hoping.

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Writing:

For all you Kansans, and for all my other family and friends, who are loving and supportive:

Tomorrow night (Friday) I am reading at my first reading ever. I feel like “ever” should be bolded or something; instead of actually doing that, I’ll just write a sentence about it. It’s from 6-8 at Blue Planet Cafe in Topeka, KS. I have no idea where this is but I have heard from multiple sources that the restaurant is cool. And I have Mapquest.

I’m reading with a three other Kansas people, all poets: Katie Longofono, Jeff Tigchelaar, and Mary Stone Dockery. Because they are all so cool, we even got on the Poet’s and Writer’s calendar, which seems simultaneously odd and cool.

I just finished putting together what I’m going to read–two prose pieces, three poems.  It’s all new. Now I’m brainstorming what to wear and what witty jokes to make when I get in front the microphone and my hands are kind of shaky. At least I got a haircut today.

And the garden bit:

Today I made a whole lot of tasty pesto. It’s better than last year’s. More on that to come.

The Londoner

September 3, 2011

My sister Alyssa is studying abroad this semester. If you’re like me, then you think she is hilarious.

Check out her blog: http://meetmeinlondon.wordpress.com/

I have high expectations.