The mulch isn't just for aesthetics, though it does look good. It actually helps quite a bit with the weeds. Before, I was spending a lot of my time just weeding the paths to prevent the vines and creepers from growing up and over the short sides of the boxes.When it was raining a lot, the weeds were thriving so that a lot of my weekends were spent in a rescue weeding operation to keep my vegetable plants from being taken over. I lost my cucumbers that way after getting back from a business trip and finding that my husband had not been quite so vigilant while I was gone. That's ok, it happens.
Why do I bother with all this sweaty, bug-bitey work? For this, dear readers: the most delicious tomato sandwiches you could possibly imagine. If you don't like tomatoes, well, you've just never had a Better Boy still warm from the sunshine on a piece of toast with mayonnaise and cheese. This is a summer highlight for me. We planted so many tomatoes this year that I've practically been eating these sandwiches for dinner every night since the end of June.
I've encountered this turtle before. He was actually trying to squeeze through my garden fence to get inside. I just let him in. I figured why not. The other day I found him again, chomping away at one of the tomatoes that had rotted and fallen off the plant onto the ground. He looked like he was in heaven.
Can anyone help me identify what species he is? I guess native to North Carolina. I've only ever seen box and snapping turtles around here. The spotted pattern on his head, legs, and shell look new to me. I guess I could google it, but where's the fun in that?
I hope everyone gets to do whatever their version of gardening is this weekend. Maybe you like to go for a long run? Play a good video game? Watch a good movie? What's the thing you do that makes you the happiest? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Talk to you soon.
I also just like seeing things grow and thrive because of the care I've put into them. After I weed the garden each week and harvest the produce, I feel good. It makes me happy in that indelible way. And I get to hang out with critters like this guy:
Rarely do I get to Friday and think, "Man, I just owned that week! I was totally awesome!"
In fact, I'm more prone to getting the Friday blues. What am I doing with my life? Is this the direction I want to be going? Am I even getting anywhere? It's the sort of existential introspection that I find benefits me in no way. Mondays are their own trials, but at least they hold the promise of a new week, full of potential. Fridays, in my mind anyway, lend themselves to unsatisfactory review of the previous days. I've talked this over with some of my friends and we've decided that women are more prone to this pattern than men.
Anyway, I can usually pretend I don't have any of these worries from 4 p.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Sunday, and I am just one hour away from that golden threshold. I'm not even sure what we're going to do this weekend. Maybe get a drink at Mystery Brewing like I've been promising myself. Or try out the new ramen noodle restaurant, Dashi, in Durham. I may try and finish this book of short stories if I'm feeling ambitious. There will undoubtedly be some gardening involved as well.
For the last few weeks, entirely while my husband was out of town, I've been fixing up our garden to prevent the paths between our raised beds from becoming overwhelmed with weeds. This has meant hours of cutting and pinning landscaping fabric, followed by more bags of mulch than I care to admit. But I think the results have been worth it. Check out the before and after.