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.