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Gardening (AKA Farming Light)

February 14, 2010

Today, as a part of my Valentine’s Day present from Geoff and as a part of my self-imposed Farmerlady Apprenticeship, we began a garden. The rental house already had two raised planting beds that were slightly less swampy than the quagmire that is the rest of the yard, so we had an adequate place to begin. In small clay pots I planted dill, chives, cilantro, and sweet basil, while Scooter, in an attempt to prove he really is not qualified to work on the farm, promptly knocked them all over. Although I am known for my brown thumb, I blame any future problems with the herbs on Scooter’s overzealous assistance.

In the beds we planted corn, green beans, sweet peas, Swiss chard, radishes, arugula (also known as rocket, or roquette), lettuce, and spinach. Geoff has planted many gardens in his day, so he was the teacher and I was the attentive novice.  I like to think of this as a guided practice for what will be the final exam—the farm. I was inspired in particular to plant lettuce after my trip with the students to New Mexico this past week. We toured the Georgia O’Keefe museum, which was inspiring as always, and in the book store I found a book called A Painter’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keefe by Margaret Wood. Many O’Keefe fans probably know, but I was not aware, that she was a strong proponent of locally grown, unaltered, natural foods. She had a large garden and ate from it daily. She ground her own grains, and believed in creating simple, healthy meals flavored by herbs. The cookbook was written by the woman who lived with and cooked for O’Keefe during the last ten years of O’Keefe’s life. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be making salads from the seeds we planted today in about two months.  And, evidently, I’ll be enjoying radishes in the next few weeks. Who knew radishes were such fast growers?

While I was away Geoff definitely had his hands full. In addition to coaching baseball, getting his bus driver’s license, and teaching the freshman, he also had to close on our house. We have not had the best of luck with our closings. We were originally set to close on our old San Antonio house last Tuesday, but at the eleventh hour, the buyer’s bank did not come through with the needed paper work, and so the closing was postponed. Because we knew I had to be out of town during the closing, I signed a power of attorney before I left granting Geoff the ability to handle the closing on his own. I assumed that since I signed the power of attorney every thing would be taken care of, but I was wrong. Standing in the middle of Jemez Pueblo at over seven thousand feet with less than one bar of cell phone reception, I received several texts in a row from Geoff asking me to call him immediately. I knew he was supposed to be in the rescheduled closing and started to get nervous. I made several attempts to call from where I was standing, but the calls would not go through.  Obviously I needed to get more creative. Moments later I was standing on a rock leaning toward a gap between the mountains. This technique generated just enough reception for me to make the call. It went something like this:

Crackle, crackle, “Hello?”

Crackle, crackle, “Geoff?”

Crackle, crackle, “Hey, Linds, we’re here at the closing, and they need to ask you a few questions.”

Crackle, crackle, “Okay.”

Crackle, crackle, “Mrs. McPherson, this is (Insert random title company lady’s name here) and I need to verify that you are in fact alive, and that you are in fact married to Geoff McPherson.”

Crackle, crackle, “ I am alive and well and standing in the middle of an Indian Reservation, and I am married to Geoff McPherson. I give him permission to represent my interests in this transaction.”

Crackle, crackle, “Great. That’s all we needed.”

Crackle, crackle, “Great (infused with insincerity and anger) glad I could help.”

Crackle, crackle, “Buh-bye.”

Crackle, crackle, “Bye.” Grrr.

I am not completely sure what the point of a power of attorney is if they still have to call you when you are out in the middle of nowhere. Was there some sort of power of the middle of nowhere document I was supposed to get signed?

Ultimately we did close on the San Antonio house. We got paid and are now in a position to close on the farm in Kentucky. Unfortunately, the company that the Kentucky bank chose to appraise the home and land has not returned their findings yet, so we cannot close this Tuesday as we had planned. Instead, I had the pleasure of staying on hold with Travelocity this afternoon for half an hour to cancel our flights, our very expensive flights. Interestingly, I am not a particularly fussy or particular person. If you ask the colleagues I work most closely with at school, they will tell you that I am generally calm and laid back. This process, however, is beginning to wear on me. We are now scheduled to close March 5. In my mind I had wanted to be done with this process by then and well on my way to designing letterheads and logos and web pages and work shirts.  My experiences in the garden this afternoon with Geoff helped put things into perspective for me though. Things take time. Nature doesn’t know the meaning of “on demand.” If I can wait two weeks for radishes and two months for corn, I can wait to close on the farm. So we wait.

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