One of the things you may not know about farm folks is that
we keep tabs on our neighbor's gardens. You know, just in case theirs look better than ours.
I'm no gardener. I grew up in a garden -- because my mom made me help her plant and harvest vegetables I didn't want to eat anway -- but the two gardens I've planted since moving to Missouri have been, well, lackluster.
Last year, we got a little -- shall we say -- overzealous with the pepper situation. We planted a cowhorn pepper, which is apparently one of the hottest peppers known to man . . . and which multiplies more quickly than rabbits.
We couldn't get rid of them fast enough -- ok, or at all -- so I dried them in a low-temp oven, stored them and have been using them in salsa ever since.
And just to clarify: When I say they're hot, I mean they're so hot that a quarter of one pepper in an entire vat of salsa makes my farmer, who has taste buds of steel, break a sweat.
So that happened.
This year, it rained all spring. As in, I planted two perfectly straight rows of carrots, and then it proceeded to rain for the next EIGHT YEARS. Or maybe just the next month. But I definitely blame that rain on the fact that we ended up with a few tomatoes, a couple servings of asparagus, a handful of zucchini and, if we're lucky, a sweet potato.
Thus the reason we keep an eye on our neighbor's gardens, just to make sure that whatever we planted that's dying or not producing isn't a personal problem on our part.
Plus, we're nosy like that.
I am not at all above asking my hair stylist if her tomatoes are growing or how her sweet corn turned out. Because if by chance her tomatoes didn't produce or the ears of her sweet corn were tiny, then there's hope for me.
Regardless of the cowhorns.
Or the rain.
Or, just maybe, the gardener herself.
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