Garden Surprises

We didn’t grow butternut squash this year. I was delighted  when our neighbor offered us a butternut from her garden.  She thought she planted cucumbers, and was horrified and deeply disappointed when they turned out to be squash. Our neighbor is German-Russian, and the German-Russians here are mad for raw cucumbers in the summer.  The squash were truly a tragedy for her.   We certainly enjoyed the squash at Thanksgiving.

A Lutheran pastor friend of mine  operates a market garden with his family.  They planted what they thought was a very long row of onions, but what turned out to be leeks.  Lots of leeks. They were not familiar with leeks, and live in the only area of ND where there were sufficient rains this summer to insure a vigorous leek crop.  They were at a loss to know what to do with them. He asked me too late to take any off his hands.  They didn’t sell.  I love leeks, and was sad.

We haven’t had too many garden surprises or any other surprises for a while.  I hope I plant spinach this summer and don’t get gourds.  I hope I am surprised by mild weather and sufficient rain.


When have you been surprised?



31 thoughts on “Garden Surprises”

  1. I’ve actually had a squash surprise. You must know before I tell this story that we NEVER had squash at my home growing up.

    As a young married I had just a handful of vegetarian cookbooks, as there weren’t many back then. The recipe I was trying called for “cooked squash”. Joy of Cooking said you could bake and scrap the squash or you could cut it up and cook it. I did the easy “cut it up and cook” method. Then added what was VERY spongy squash to all the other ingredients – then baked the whole thing. It was very pretty but JUST AWFUL. Boiled squash is nothing you ever want to try to choke down. Unfortunately we were poor kids putting wasband through school and the loss of all the veggies and cheese was not just a shame, it was a financial hit. So wasband put the whole mess in a colander in the sink and squished the squash out. The resulting calamity was not very good but wasband soldiered through it for three dinners until it was gone.

    So I guess I had two surprises: that something that is so good baked can be so horrible boiled and that my wasband was much much cheaper than I had thought!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have had a few gardening surprises over the years. Two that come to mind I’m pretty sure I have mentioned on the trail before.The first was planting a whole row of what I thought was flat leaf parsley. You can never have too much parsley, right? It grew and grew, the leaves getting more and more coarse as it shot up. By the time it occurred to me to nibble on a leaf and discover a distinct celery taste it was too late to reign it in. That fall I donated a lot of fresh celery to the local food shelf.

    The second time was a couple of years ago. I planted broccoli, or so I thought. I had never planted broccoli before, so had no preconceived notion of how long it would be before I could harvest it. As the summer wore on, the plant grew but I saw no sign of florets, so I chalked it up to a failure, and quit checking on it. Imagine my surprise when at the end of summer I discovered a couple of beautiful heads of Romanesco.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well if common sense would reign, it wouldn’t be a surprise. On the other hand, who the heck knows anymore so it could still be a surprise. (This makes sense in my head but I may not have written it right).

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Another surprise was when my rescued pet chinchilla, Juan, presented me with a baby. I had no idea that Juan was pregnant, let alone a female. Fortunately the transition from Juan to Juanita was easy to make.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Just yesterday, Kelly and I drove to the cities. I returned the snow machines to Norcostco, then stopped at business where we had something on back order. We were not expecting it yet anyway, just checking on things.
    We were delightfully surprised when they said they had one of the items and since we had driven up, we should take it and they would make it up to the person who they had said could have it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I was surprised – no, shocked – when a sociopath was elected. 3.2 million people marched in protest the day after inauguration. I wasn’t surprised when he claimed the photos were fake, though


  6. Well, since we have an unusually slow day on the trail today, I’ll post the following story. Be forewarned, this is not for the faint of heart or folks with delicate stomachs. Oh, and probably best to not have mouthful of liquid, either. I’ll only add that this was posted on Facebook, complete with a lovely photo of the Roomba involved in the incident.

    “So, last week, something pretty tragic happened in our household. It’s taken me until now to wrap my head around it and find the words to describe the horror. It started off simple enough – something that’s probably happened to most of you.

    Sometime between midnight and 1:30am, our puppy Evie pooped on our rug in the living room. This is the only time she’s done this, so it’s probably just because we forgot to let her out before we went to bed that night. Now, if you have a detective’s mind, you may be wondering how we know the poop occurred between midnight and 1:30am. We were asleep, so how do I know that time frame?

    Why, friends, that’s because our Roomba runs at 1:30am every night, while we sleep. And it found the poop. And so begins the Pooptastrophe. The poohpocalypse. The pooppening.

    If you have a Roomba, please rid yourself of all distractions and absorb everything I’m about to tell you.

    Do not, under any circumstances, let your Roomba run over dog poop. If the unthinkable does happen, and your Roomba runs over dog poop, stop it immediately and do not let it continue the cleaning cycle. Because if that happens, it will spread the dog poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting.

    It will be on your floorboards. It will be on your furniture legs. It will be on your carpets. It will be on your rugs. It will be on your kids’ toy boxes. If it’s near the floor, it will have poop on it. Those awesome wheels, which have a checkered surface for better traction, left 25-foot poop trails all over the house. Our lovable Roomba, who gets a careful cleaning every night, looked like it had been mudding. Yes, mudding – like what you do with a Jeep on a pipeline road. But in poop.

    Then, when your four-year-old gets up at 3am to crawl into your bed, you’ll wonder why he smells like dog poop. And you’ll walk into the living room. And you’ll wonder why the floor feels slightly gritty. And you’ll see a brown-encrusted, vaguely Roomba-shaped thing sitting in the middle of the floor with a glowing green light, like everything’s okay. Like it’s proud of itself. You were still half-asleep until this point, but now you wake up pretty damn quickly.

    And then the horror. Oh the horror.

    So, first you clean the child. You scrub the poop off his feet and put him back in bed. But you don’t bother cleaning your own feet, because you know what’s coming. It’s inevitable, and it’s coming at you like a freight train. Some folks would shrug their shoulders and get back in bed to deal with it in the morning. But you’re not one of those people – you can’t go to sleep with that war zone of poop in the living room.

    So you clean the Roomba. You toss it in the bathtub to let it soak. You pull it apart, piece-by-piece, wondering at what point you became an adult and assumed responsibility for 3:30am-Roomba-disassembly-poop-cleanups. By this point, the poop isn’t just on your hands – it’s smeared up to your elbows. You already heard the Roomba make that “whirlllllllllllllllll-boop-hisssssssss” noise that sounds like electronics dying, and you realize you forgot to pull the battery before getting it wet.

    Oh, and you’re not just using profanity – you’re inventing new types of profanity. You’re saying things that would make Satan shudder in revulsion. You hope your kid stayed in bed, because if he hears you talking like this, there’s no way he’s not ending up in prison.

    Then you get out the carpet shampooer. When you push it up to the rug – the rug that started it all – the shampooer just laughs at you. Because that rug is going in the trash, folks. But you shampoo it anyway, because your wife loved that damn rug, and you know she’ll ask if you tried to clean it first.

    Then you get out the paper towel rolls, idly wondering if you should invest in paper towel stock, and you blow through three or four rolls wiping up poop. Then you get the spray bottle with bleach water and hose down the floor boards to let them soak, because the poop has already dried. Then out comes the steam mop, and you take care of those 25-ft poop trails.

    And then, because it’s 6am, you go to bed. Let’s finish this tomorrow, right?

    The next day, you finish taking the Roomba apart, scraping out all the tiny flecks of poop, and after watching a few Youtube instructional videos, you remove the motherboard to wash it with a toothbrush. Then you bake it in the oven to dry. You put it all back together, and of course it doesn’t work. Because you heard the “whirlllllllllllllll-boop-hissssssss” noise when it died its poopy death in the bathtub. But you hoped that maybe the Roomba gods would have mercy on you.

    But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. After spending a week researching how to fix this damn £350 Roomba without spending £350 again – including refurb units, new motherboards, and new batteries – you finally decide to call the place where you bought it. That place called Hammacher Schlemmer. They have a funny name, but they have an awesome warranty. They claim it’s for life, and it’s for any reason.

    So I called them and told the truth. My Roomba found dog poop and almost precipitated World War III.

    And you know what they did? They offered to replace it. Yes, folks. They are replacing the Roomba that ran over dog poop and then died a poopy, watery death in the bathtub – by no fault of their own, of course.

    So, mad props to Hammacher Schlemmer. If you’re buying anything expensive, and they sell it, I recommend buying it from them. And remember – don’t let your Roomba run over dog poop…”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have been surprised by too many things to count. Right now I’m surprised that a friend who visited for the afternoon (whom haven’t seen in maybe five years while she was in the Peace Corps) managed to drink tea and talk for four solid hours. I remember thinking before she came, “How will we fill up four hours?”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hear you BiR. I’ve been surprised too often to be very surprised when it happens again. I once drove to the airport to pick up a friend flying in from Virginia. I was surprised when Cornelia didn’t show up and I had drive around a two-mile loop of roads about six times before realizing she wasn’t coming. When I got home I was surprised to read the calendar that said I was exactly right about the time of Cornelia’s arrival, although I was precisely a week early. And next week when I drove to pick her up I was surprised to realize part of me was still miffed that she stood me up when I’d been there a week ago going around and around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From what I had read, I expected this to be a close race. I was hopeful that Doug Jones could pull it off, and I’m elated that he did. I’m predicting that tomorrow will be an interesting day in terms of DT tweets.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. he’s tweeted tonight already acknowledging a close race and Jones as the winner. But I can’t believe that’s all he’s gonna have to say about it. Long about 3AM his eyes will bug out and his meds will wear off and his handlers will be sleeping and he’ll go all rampant.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. When we moved to our current garden we were delighted to inherit a prolific peach tree and fig tree. The peaches are a bit woolly but make good jam. The figs are devoured there and then, sun-warmed and succulent.


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