Real Talk with kb

March 27, 2012

First, shameless self promotion. I am reading nonfiction Thursday March 29th, 7 pm at the Raven in Lawrence. It’s part of the reading series Big Tent, which is myfavoritereading series in Lawrence.

My dad thought they called it Big Tent because they set up a big tent outside, so to clarify what it is: Big Tent is a monthly reading series. The curators bring in three writers from the area (and sometimes elsewhere) who write different things. For example, a poet and a nonfiction writer and a playwright. The idea is to bring these different acts together under the same “tent.” Like how you’d see a tightrope walker and a juggler and a fire eater at the circus.

Here’s the link and writer bios. I haven’t met the other writers, but one of them works at the hip movie theater, Liberty Hall, and he frequents my favorite coffee shop, La Prima Taza…so, he must be cool. Also, I am not a stalker; Lawrence is small and I am out and about. Plus, the Raven is the coolest Lawrence spot to read. Look at that photo of me reading there. Books and books and books.

So, that’s this Thursday night. Two days from now. Be there.

Now the real real talk. I try not to be emotional on the blog-o-sphere because, let’s be honest, that’s just cliche. And weird, which makes me wonder why it’s cliche.

However, this relates to the garden, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to take just a moment to talk about how weird your early- to mid-twenties are. Because they are totally weird. And no one really talks about it.

This morning I had my first phone interview for a job job. It was just a phone interview, so I know this doesn’t mean I’m going to get called back/get the job, but when I learned the job started June 1st…woah.

As soon as I hung up, my stomach did this sinking thing that said “You are leaving Lawrence.” And I am not lying when I tell you that the first thing that crossed my mind when thinking about a late-May departure was the garden.

I’ve known all along that I’ll be moving. I’ve been trying to get rid of clothes and eating weird meals to clean out my pantry. But June? That’s so fast. And even if I don’t move until July or August, that’s really not much longer. It will be here before I know it.

Obviously, I will miss a lot about Lawrence: My friends. Sport tea at the Pig. Adults (including me) on bikes in jorts. Beer on the porch/stoop. Walking everywhere. My writing friends. The Replay in the summertime. The Merc’s bulk section. My newfound love for KU basketball. La Prima Taza. Barbeque at Ben & Sarah’s. My rad birthday parties. Wheatfield’s empanadas. Kickball. Being a grad student. But…the community garden. That’s big.

Other cities have community gardens, and I know this. But until I have found that community garden and have contacted the people and they have said “Yes, please come garden with us,” I might label myself as forever garden-less and cry and stuff. And if I move in June, I’m probably just out of luck. I’d have to find a garden instantly. It could by a dry summer here at My Two Green Thumbs. Plus, who would come to my birthday party? I will have no friends by June 9th.

Naturally, I went to the garden to think this out. I planted peas, even though it’s possible I won’t be here to eat them.

And here’s why I’ve decided your early to mid 20s are weird: First, decisions at this age seem so formative. I know I am not locked into wherever I go/whatever I choose, but it feels huge. Second, and maybe the most important, I am an “adult” and “adults” should not be upset about potential job offers because they would have to leave their community garden earlier than they expected. I think if I told my parents or other “adults” this, they would ask where my head was. They would tell me about work ethic. And health insurance. And career building. But, I think it’s totally legitimate to be upset to leave a place you love. And not immature. And completely normal for a 24 year- old.

Personal Victory(s)

March 22, 2012

Thesis submitted Monday 3/19 around noon (an entire day early!). That’s a photo of 76 pages of composition/service learning/Writing Center creation.

Because it’s sort of a big deal, I feel I should reflect…at least for a paragraph. Often, I’m not proud of academic writing, but I’m proud of this, which is nice. Honestly, finishing the whole thing was a little anti-climatic, though I’m sure it’ll sink in in a few days (ie when I wake up on a Tuesday morning and I don’t follow my typical thesis routine).

A personal victory for sure.

But that’s not the personal victory I want to talk about. I mostly told you because it means I have time to be outside and garden, and then tell you fine people about it.

My longest-following, most loyal blog readers might remember this, but here’s a recap (or read this entry). When I first started community gardening and this blog (almost two years ago!!!), one corner was completely taken over by crabgrass and weeds and onions.

I remember May 2010. It was rough. I had a big project I hated. I had also just broken up with a boy, though I didn’t tell you that then. I titled the blog “This is What Happens When I’ve Had It,” which older, smarter Kara finds hilariously awesome and appropriate.  I rarely “have it” (and if I do, few people see it), but that week I did “have it.”  And rather than “having it” at someone, I worked hard and pulled muscles in my back getting rid of many of those weeds.

I was happy/proud.

Well now, two years later, I’m even happier/prouder to report that after more work on Friday afternoon, those weeds are totally gone. Totally.

A personal victory for sure.

This time, I wasn’t particularly stressed, nor had I “had it.” It was the first Friday of Spring Break and beautiful outside and even though the thesis wasn’t finished, I thought it a shame to spend the day writing at my kitchen table.

I didn’t go to the garden intending to clean up weeds; I wanted to plant stuff. But, once I got there, starting totally clean/weed-free and using all the space in my plot made more sense than planting to the edge of the crabgrass.

Most importantly, when I got there, I felt the surge of  belonging I feel every time I step into that garden. Look at those feet/legs; they belong there. You take care of where you belong.

Then, I planted sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, and bok choi.

I found a tiny sprout of spinach coming back.

After I watered what I’d planted and accidentally sprayed my bike seat and bag, I picked some of the spinach that survived from last winter. I mentioned the spinach in the entry about carrots, but this was the first time I’d picked it since the fall.

It is delicious and I have it for pretty much every meal. If you are in Lawrence, tell me you want spinach and I’ll do my best to make it happen. If you are not in Lawrence, I will send you spinach with my heart.

That night, I felt the itchy-ness you get when you’ve been outside and gotten some sun. I saw straps on my feet after I’d taken off my sandals. It was great. Lawrence Bestie Mark said he could see the suntan on my face, too, though I doubt that’s true.

A personal victory and an early start on a suntan? I’ll take it.

It’s been raining steadily since Monday; those seeds have got to be a’germinatin’.

In my last blog, I mentioned 7 year-old Noah, his requests for plastic snakes, bamboo wars, and Italian soda.

Well, today on the community garden’s Facebook page, someone had linked this photo from the Lawrence garden tour last summer. Click on the link.

That’s Noah showing off some of his plants, including that super successful cilantro he raised his hand to remind us of at the meeting. I thought it might be good for you to have a face to go with a name…plus it’s adorable.

With garden friends as cute as this guy, how could you not love the community garden?

First community garden workday of the season today! I am writing immediately because I couldn’t wait to tell you.

I’ve yet to plan out my garden plot with Clare. There are greens started in my windowsill and sweet potatoes that should most definitely go in sometime soon. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe last week. I turn in my Master’s thesis soon (9 days!), though, so I’ve been a little preoccupied. Luckily, there are people in Lawrence that take cues from the weather and birds chirping. They remember that it’s time to think about planting. Even more luckily, those people are in my community garden.

We returning gardeners met briefly last week to discuss this first workday. Thankfully our meetings aren’t serious meetings…we basically throw out random ideas and tell cool stories about the time we unloaded compost or when someone accidentally burned down the shed.

7 year-old friend Noah, a community garden favorite, was also there to pitch his ideas while slurping an Italian soda with whipped cream. He wants rubber snakes in the plots because they will keep the weird mouse things away. He also wanted us to remember that his cilantro grew really well last year and that the bamboo sticks make good weapons. He always raises his hand and waits to be called on before speaking, which I think is just all too great. He deserves his own paragraph.

Maybe two.

It rained all day today, and to be honest, I kept hoping for an email saying that our workday was cancelled. It never came, though, because we’re serious. I wasn’t sure what we’d do in the garden in the rain, but I rarely fail to do what’s expected of me. Plus, I knew it was important for someone to be there to meet the new gardeners.

Though we mostly gave a tour of the garden and discussed general “rules” (quotation marks because we don’t really have/need them), a few notable/exciting things happened. While it drizzled, we did the following:

Admired the spinach and bok choi I planted in October and then ate in December and January that is still around. It is beautiful and tasty. Even though the summer will probably be super buggy, there are a few good things about ultra mild winters.

Dug and washed carrots. Our fingers were cold.

Ate carrots. This is Clare. Eating a carrot.

Posed carrots lovingly (and unevenly) on this chair for a photo.

So, thus marks the start of my third year in the Lawrence Community Garden. I chose to avoid the phrase “my last year” in that previous sentence, but it’s also that. But, we’ll worry about July when July gets here.

In 9 days, you will hear much much more about the garden. Expect big things.

Taller pea trellises. Bigger sweet potatoes. Craftier defense against squirrels and slugs. Deeper blisters. More bamboo-sword fights with Noah. Harvests of greater than one green bean. Sprinkler parties. Sprinkler BIRTHDAY party (I just thought of that right now, but you’ve gotta admit it sounds awesome). Crossier cross pollination. Eggplant.

People get ready.