Monday, December 16, 2013

And the Word of the Week Is...

Resourceful. If any of my Comp I students were reading this, I hope they'd say that "resourceful" does not constitute a sentence. Indeed, it does not, and I'd so happily concede that point to them. It does, however, refer to a skill that should be cultivated. It can be related to another skill, one which I know my students would say is important to me, which is frugality. And so this week's post will be brief and fully dedicated to those two wonderful words.

I grow indeterminate tomatoes. That simply means that no one knows how high or wide they will grow. They're gangly. They're unruly. I love them. They refuse to be contained. This is why my tomato cages are so ridiculously inconsequential. But I paid good money for them, and I'm not about to let them collect spider webs in the garage. So I've put them to a new use. I've turned them upside down, wrapped them in garland and lights, and now they're little trees for my holiday lighting.

New life for the cages

The blurry "tree" (can't find my tripod)

The end result...a whole line of little "trees"

In the end, I got a whole bunch of Christmas cheer for no extra cost. Awesome. (Yes, also not a sentence, students!)

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Greed in the Season of Giving

I have a confession to make. It will likely be an ugly one. You see, I love Christmas, but I'm growing less-enamored with gift-giving every year. It's not that I don't want to give people gifts. That's not the source of my greed. I'll get to that in a moment. My trouble with gift-giving is that I only want to give gifts that are meaningful, and that can get pretty tricky. I carefully consider each person and each gift. In most cases, I want to give something that I've made, and sometimes that means that I haven't spent much money on them. I'm not sure all of my recipients appreciate how much I've agonized over their gifts or how much time I've spent on them, so sometimes they seem to fall flat. Sometimes they seem insignificant. One of my favorite Christmas gifts of all time was a German box of tea. It apparently cost the giver $2.50, and he was embarrassed by what he worried was a meager gift, but I was overwhelmed by the thought that went into that gift. It was, indeed, perfect for me. And so I wish such were true for all the gifts we give.

The variety of gift I most often like to give is something made from the fruits of my garden labor. I've made Limoncello (made from my limes instead). I've made pesto. I've given my fiery pickled jalapeƱos. This has been an especially difficult year in the garden, though, so I have very little to give. And now that the tomatoes are slowly beginning to ripen, I'm feeling a little greedy. In fact, my greed knows no bounds. Not only do I want to keep everything for myself, but rather than feeling content with the success of my Gardener's Delight tomatoes, today I found myself skipping down the garden path with visions of all 3 varieties of tomatoes producing a glut for me. I was counting my chickens, so to speak. I have no idea what chickens are due to hatch, though, because the Florida sun bleached all of my plant markers out. Every plant is producing, so I just have to see what color they turn to appropriately identify them. It will be a bit like opening presents, I suspect.

Gardener's Delight, indeed!

Black Krim? Red or Yellow Brandywine? Who knows?

I am saved from pure avarice by the very real excuse that none of my vegetables will have produced enough to make anything by the time Christmas rolls around. In the meantime, I'll be mixing up homemade scrubs and sewing various gifts for everyone who means so much to me. And hopefully they'll all see through the gifts just how much they really do mean.