Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Project 365 - Unlucky in Artichokes

On our morning walk we saw a familiar sight. A few blocks down the country road from our house this time of year there is a little cooler. A sign above on the house marker says, "Artichokes 50 cents". Inside is a assortment of tight and delicious artichokes straight from the garden.

When we first moved out here one of my priorities was to have a garden. In truth, I could care less about a backyard, I just wanted a place to grow our own fruit and vegetables.

One of the first things I planted was a pack of artichoke starts. I had day dreams of enjoying our own tender artichoke hearts that Summer. My plants started well and grew quickly. Then one day one plant was gone. Yes, just gone. A few days later two more plants went flat. The previous day's strong stems and leaves were crumbled and dried on the ground. My heart broke a little.

All we could guess was that one of our unwanted neighbors (the little furry kind) was probably snacking on the roots. The plant died overnight and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Strong as the plants looked, they were no match for whatever demolished them.

The following year I tried again with the same results. It was then I had to put my hands up and accept my fate. There were other things that I could get to grow in my little garden. I didn't have time for this fight every year. Besides, I had found the cooler down the street.

Our neighbors (the human kind) must have better luck than I with their artichokes. Once planted they will give off artichokes for many years, coming back every year with little care needed - we eat the stage before the flower blooms with multiple vegetables from one plant. Every year I look with just a little envy as their plants grow tall and flourish.

But, I am happy to enjoy a nicely steamed artichoke from their garden. Every year I wait for the cooler to come out. I stash a little extra money in our jogging stroller and we keep our eyes open. It is as fun as finding a treasure chest for my children. They proudly hold onto their bounty for the walk back to our house. Today we feast on artichokes for lunch.

This Mom, so unlucky in artichokes, will be eating her fill today.

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