Saturday, August 22, 2015

Twenty Bucks

The coals are just about perfect. I refer to it as the best 20 bucks I've spent in my life. Little charcoal grill I got at Walmart. Michelle and I were holding a Father's Day dinner a few months back (on Father's Day). I was gonna cook like meatloaf or some nonsense. Went to Walmart to pick up the ingredients. Decided to bob instead of weave. I bought stuff to bbq and then bought a grill.

I was assembling it as people were walking in. "What are you doing?" "I'm making a meal from scratch."

Real scratch, where you assemble your cooking vessel, too.

I've got some corn going on the grill now. Grew it on either my stoop or in the community garden. Threw some mesquite chips on there. Hit the corn with some adobo spice and olive oil cooking spray. Trying a couple of things, you know? I've got some burgers and dogs. Just having Michelle's parents and uncle over.

Learned how to get the coals just right. The corn came along ok. The tomatoes are a mixed bag. The beans I'm thinking I'm gonna let dry out and then cook them like beans. Every couple of days I have a fresh strawberry.

I may not be a gentleman, but I'm a farmer.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Cześć Polska

Hello România

สวัสดี ประเทศไทย

Stats tell me I have had visitors from other countries. Cool. Hello.

Boil the Breakfast Early

Decided I wanted a baked (pron: Bake-ed) potato for lunch today.

But I had no potatoes. Or did I? I already harvested the new potatoes from Yukon Cornelius. I went back to the well about a week later and got these tiny little things that were barely a snack. No. I needed a full sized potato. To the Community Garden!

The thing about the Community Garden is this: it's basically a communist thing and people, especially here, in the U.S., and especially in the most American City in the U.S., Tonawanda, don't know how to be communists.

I know that sentence is a lot to digest. I'm gonna let you try to digest it. You can write some ill advised replies to this post. Impugn my character. Then STFU and let me explain. I'll wait.

Are you back? Ok. See, the community garden allows anyone to just walk in and pick the fruits--or vegetables--of anyone's labor. Some people pick the place clean, I've been told. Leaving nothing for their fellow Tonawandanderer. Possibly some of the crop is even harvested by the North Tonawandese. I don't know. But that is the explanation for the communist bit.

The Most American city thing. It just is. You're gonna have to take my word on that. I know you won't because you're all modernized and citified, but I live in a place where a man's word means something.

Anyway, this potato thing. I got one out of the Community Garden.

It was very tasty. Which the staff at Google already know. I told them. I got an email shortly after I signed in to work on this post saying that my account had been accessed from Linux from Tonawanda (on my phone) and did I have anything to say about that? I did. I told them I have primarily been accessing my account (gmail) from Linux, since I, uh, got a gmail account. And I've been in Tonawanda since November. The second question on their survey/feedback thing was if I had anything else I wanted to talk about. So I mentioned that I had logged on to blog about the potato I had grown and cooked, and I gave them a little spoiler: I enjoyed it. I also gave them a link to this blog, so if there are any Google staff reading this, "Hello" .

Where was I? Oh yeah, potatoes. The ultimate thing to grow in a community garden filled with glass shards. Sort of. No one, and I've met some people who have gardened for years, no one seems to get potatoes. "Wait, you're growing potatoes? You can do that? How do you...pick them?"

I ain't gonna tell you. I will tell you that the potato plant produces a(n) tomato like fruit that you can pull seed from and grow edible potatoes from. Fruit itself? Deadly poison. I toyed with the idea of leaving these fruit on my potato plants to teach a lesson to the people who pick the garden 'dry' but...

is it my responsibility to inform the public that these are not tomatoes? It's an interesting ethical question.

Mystified by potatoes. People really are. Tomatoes everyone gets. Beans. Peas. I bet even carrots. I don't know if people just have never grown potatoes or don't know why you would want to, but people give me a 'really?' and say wow when I talk about growing corn on the stoop. But potatoes just mystify people.

More potatoes for me. No, I know you're gonna look up how to harvest potatoes. It's a 3 letter word starting with d, ending in g and not god backwards.

As for why to grow potatoes? The bar whose land the Community Garden is on is growing tomatoes, peppers and celery to make their own bloody mary mix. I pointed out that I was growing potatoes. "Get me a still, and we'll make the whole thing local."

Anyway. Potato like the one above. About half the size of a tennis ball. You wash, wrap in a paper towel and microwave for 5 minutes. Cut in half, cut into those halves to create channels, hit it with some butter or, as my grandmother who used to peel potatoes with a knife used to say, 'oleo' and some Goya Adobo seasoning. Gotta support the protectorates. Damn tasty.

My Mother Always Told Me I Would Be a Stoop Blogger

I've had two people refer to things I posted about in this blog this week. Which means a) two people are reading this blog on occasion b) I should post something for them to read. Okay. My mother actually told me I was gonna be the pope, but same thing right. His stoop is just higher up, and one day that damn Carpenter is gonna finish the riser and put in the stairs.

That's a tangled ass metaphor.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Profanity Laced Vegetation

I want to tell you about some corn I've named, "Man, Fuck You!" I know I said my corn was named Wagmeez, but it was separated and planted both in the peace garden next door and on the stoop. So it started being individual. Having it's own life, separate from the other corn. It doesn't have a hive mind.

Man Fuck You was one of the six corn stalks that left the safety of the stoop and moved into the community garden. He did ok, til one day it was windy and rained. Of the six, I lost one. It was doing fine at first, but one day it got windy and rainy and he got tore up. I thought about trying to replant him, but other things came up and he red shirted his way into the show. That was it. About a week later, Man, Fuck You got tore up by the weather. I was ready to replant. Maybe move the broccoli over there. But then I noticed, there was still some green.

I realized then, this was Man, Fuck You. He spent all that time growing, just trying to be corn, you know? But nah. Wind gotta step in and knock his ass out. But he was like, Man, Fuck You. He's growing. He's not 'knee high by the fourth of july" but that's not his thing. I like this guy. I'm rooting for him. Pun intended, bitches!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Separation Anxiety

People kept telling me you have to plant corn "in threes" sometimes they might have said "fours" I heard threes. I caught on that the corn had to pollinate one another, so you needed more than one, but I wasn't sure about 'threes'. Like three plants together or three seeds together? I split the diff. Three holes with three seeds each. Might get a corn plant out of that.


Cubed. All nine sprooted and grooted. They were right the hell on top of each other in groups of three. Dammit.

So today I got around to separating them. And they were close, so close. And being new to this, I didn't know how far their roots ran. I sent six to the community garden and kept three for the stoop. I intended to do it with a trowel, but you start with a trowel and then finish by hand. It's not that you have to get your hands dirty, it's just that there's no other way. You don't want to slam dirt on these...delicate flowers.

The lads on the stoop are looking good now, a few hours later. The one I was most worried about...uh...grew bigger. Real F.U. attitude this corn has. One fellow is being a bit droopy, but even he is starting to step up. Imma go walk to the peace garden...

Shit. Some of them grew too.

It was all traumatic separating them out. I though for sure I would kill some, and we're not out of the water yet, but a lot of these guys have just said 'fuck it' and decided to keep growing.

This Shit Just Got Real

OK. So Michelle has this friend from Derby who has a sister who runs Homestead Farms And I can't remember their names because that's how I am. It takes me a while.

Look, I've noticed recently that I will say "right" when I mean "left" but I am very particular that north is up and south is down. But it really is a thing. If I tell you to go left, you should probably go right. If I say 'upriver, it's damn sure north of your location. I'm like that with names. I don't catch them right away, and then once I get them I will never forget your face. I see what I did there.

Point is we got these tomato plants. Like a flat of them. Which is a gardening term. Somewhere around 24? I was just starting to learn metric and now people are throwing flats at me.

5.5 and a phillips. You have those drivers you can work on almost any Xerox machine.

Anyway, a lot of the tomatoes went in the plot in the peace garden. The rest we gave to the other folks who have plots in the peace garden.

"What is the peace garden?" you say. Well. next door is a bar called Stamps. And some woman decided she wanted to turn some of the land next to Stamps into a garden. And the owner of Stamps, Deb, who's name I remember, was like, "cool" and so there was a peace garden next door when we moved in. It's this close:
So it means I have a lot more to water. Some of the tomato plants I put on the stoop to grow in containers and I noticed there was more watering. But with this garden, there is so much more watering.

Oh, yeah, Michelle and I are relatively decent people who like to play a part in our community so we got a plot in the garden and have some stuff there. A lot of stuff. Stuff planted not in straight rows. When James Brown talked about raising crops like the Man, he did not mean exactly like, or in accordance with the wishes of the Man. He was saying the Man raised crops, we should too. He never said we gotta raise them crops the same way some jive turkey would. So my plants are not in rows, they do they thing.

To be clear, I understand that I am a straight white male who belongs to the Elks, lives in America, comes from a family with an history of government service and would use 'an' like that. I know, for all intents and purposes I am the Man. Agus fós bogann sé