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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

I Don't Want to Have to Write This Post

I don't want to have to write this post . . . but it needs to be said.

I did the most terrible, awful thing to Mama Pea on Sunday night.

You think I'm joking?  Ohhhhhhhh, I WISH I were!

People often ask me if I garden.  I laugh and say, "With Mama Pea's garden close at hand?  Are you kidding?!"  Sure, I dabble when time allows, but I don't "Garden".  Not the active, it's a priority, you need to give something to it every day verb form of gardening.  And, let me tell you, it will be a WHILE before I do anything in Mama Pea's garden again.  (Are you cringing yet?  You should be.)

Here in northern Minnesota, it's getting to be the time to put the gardens to sleep.  Pull the old stuff, think about digging the tubers.  A week or so ago, Mama Pea told me that she had a lot of greens that I could have for my poultry.  Then, last week, I noticed that her comfrey was super tall.  SUPER.  Like, possibly over 6' feet tall.  BIG stalks, too.  Here's a picture of it*, taken in July when it was only 4' or so:

Because it was SO tall and the stems SO woody, I called Mama Pea on Sunday morning . . . wondering if I should bring the truck in instead of the little car.  Rather than cutting it down into sizes that would fit into bags, I could just lop 'em off at the base and throw them, whole, into the pickup.

So, Sunday evening and armed with a big set of loppers, I set off into Mama Pea's garden to do just that.  As I cut, I noticed the almost-sunflower-like tops of the stalks.  I pulled one down to look.  "Hey, I didn't know comfrey bloomed like that!  Cool!"  

The process was easier than I'd expected, and I soon had every single thick, woody stalk, some the width of two fingers, chopped down.  As I began stacking them into a pile ready to drag up to the front yard, I glimpsed another bed of comfrey.  Except, that foliage looked way different that the stuff I'd just cut.  And, uh, it was a lot shorter.  By about 4 feet.

Suddenly, I started feeling nauseous.  My stomach tightened and my heart tripped faster.  Oh . . . no.  Please tell me I didn't just REALLY screw up.  I dropped the loppers and slowly walked into the house.  Mom was at the stove, getting dinner ready.

I felt like I was 11 years old again.  Or 40 years old and REALLY stupid - which is WAY worse, incidentally.  "Umm, Mom?  I think I . . . ummm, I'm scared I might have cut down . . . the wrong . . . the wrong bed."  The look Mom gave me was one of combined blankness and disbelief.  I think she thought, WANTED to BELIEVE, that I was joking.  That she could see a glimmer of teasing in my eyes.  But my eyes were big and round and my hand was at my mouth.

We went outside to the garden.

I wanted to run.  To undo what I knew I'd just done.

Mom looked.  Then, she quietly said, "Oh.  You cut down all the Jerusalem Artichokes."  (*Yeah, you noticed?  The picture is NOT of comfrey.)

Oh.  My.  God.

I was quietly babbling, "Oh, sh*t, Mom, I'm so sorry!  I'm SO sorry, Mom!  I . . . oh, sh*t . . . I'm SO sorry!"

She went back inside, and I slowly gathered all the dead foliage and loaded it into the car.  I wanted to erase "the scene of the crime".  I felt like I'd just killed a pet.  When I went back inside to gather some bags for the greens I was SUPPOSED to take, I was scared that I'd find her eyes red-rimmed and wet.  It had been a tough couple of days for her & Dad, and I was worried this was the final straw.

No tears.  I offered to take off instead of staying to have dinner.  I suggested we postpone Family Book Night (scheduled for that evening after dinner).  Truth be told, I kinda wanted to get OUT of there!  No, no, the evening would go on as scheduled.

I then asked Mom to come out to the garden to point out each thing I could take.  My confidence was SHOT, and I was scared that I'd pull . . . I don't know, SOMETHING . . . instead of the old, flowered heads of lettuce.  

When I was all done with the carnage - I mean, free greens for my poultry - I went inside for dinner.  Mom looked at me and gave me a warm little smile that could only come from the heart of a mother for her idiot child and said, "I'm better now.  It was just a shock."

I said again, "I'm SO sorry!"

Mom's mouth crooked up a little, and she said "Welllllll, you're not a gardener."

Nope, that . . . I am not.


  1. Ah, well, shineola happens. You should have stood at my side as I coddled what I thought to be a horseradish plant all summer - I weeded it, watered it, fertilized it. Then Melanie said, "what the heck are you doing with that weed?" Gardening can be a humbling experience.

  2. Ha, ha, ha, ha--been there, done that!! To myself too! JA's are very, very hardy and they'll take it and may thrive in spite of the wacking. BTW, your chickens will enjoy the chokes. Lots of nutrients in those tops.

  3. ohmigawd LOL! I love the "offered to take off and postpone family night"....! I'm sorry, but this is FUNNY, but maybe only because I know Mama Pea is too busy right now to deal with you in the "proper manner"!

  4. *chuckle* what fun that you turned your misstep into a great post! sounds like you're lucky to have such a mama pea...but pretty sure that mama pea also feels luck to have you!

  5. Oh, dear! Well, at least if you've been at all feeling like you'd like to go back to being a kid, this should take care of it for a while! ;)

  6. Oh goodness! I'm sure you can make it up to her. Go find somewhere or someone to sell you some chokes. You may have actually done Mama Pea a favor cause that's one less thing in the garden she'll have to do.... okay I'm grasping at straws here but it was an accident.

  7. Okay, here's the other side of the story: Baby Pea walks in with this very strange look on her face. She says quietly, "I think I may be close to a panic attack." Of course, my heart hits the floor as I think, "OMG, what could have happened now? This child has been through so much lately. Something must have happened that she didn't tell me about that has finally pushed her over the edge."

    Dear Daughter of Mine, I hope posting about this purged the last of your "feel bads." And Sparkless is right; now *I* don't have to deal with trying to compost those 6' high, 2" thick stalks!!

    As CM said, once I got over the shock of having those beauties (sorry, hon, but they were lush and gorgeous, no?) cut off at ground level, I felt pretty mellow. Hey, compared to what lots of people are going through right now, what's the loss of some Jerusalem Artichokes? Seriously.

  8. cWell, I am just glad the chickens could still eat the "mistake." That does make it better. And.....we all have to goof once in a while. :)FoxyLady

  9. LOL....I didn't think that looked like comfrey!!! This will be a good story for Christmas's down the road :-)

  10. I guess I can comment now that my heart stopped racing,I don't think it was one bit funny to this old gal,it was more like that phone call you get in the middle of the night,you just dread answering the phone.you know it will be bad news----well,it was worse.What you got in store for us for Halloween C.M.E-MAIL ME IN ADVANCE TO TURN UP MY PACE MAKER [[[DON'T HAVE ONE]

  11. Susan, at least you didn't KILL anything "good" by mistake!

    And, nope, Mom, I'm pretty much sure I'll feel bad about this for the rest of my little ol' life. xo

  12. Well, as a good friend of ours would say, "Get over it!" You have much more important things to be cluttering your mind with than feeling any guilt (made up or real) about The Great Artichoke Demise! I can totally look at it as something pretty funny and wish you would, too. Now if you had done something like cutting down a few of our 15 year old apple trees, I might have had to ground you for a month or two. ;o]

  13. CM, I hope you get over this. We haven't grown JA for quite a few years, but the ones we grew were for the roots, not the leaves. And they're pretty hard to kill. They might have been cut at the wrong time and need to have a little TLC because of that, but I think they should be fine. Besides, it seems that your mom is pretty patient and loves you lots. Who knows, maybe this hurt you more than it hurt her.

  14. Lori - Hope your kind words have helped that silly daughter of mine. Obviously, it did hurt her MUCH more than it did me! I'm fine with it. Thanks for your input.


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