Sunday, October 14, 2012

Notes on a Watermelon

When I was little, my dad would shake salt over his watermelon smile and eat it. I used to think that was weird. Now, I do the same thing, a shake of crunchy sea salt against the explosion of hundreds of juicy, sweet cells.

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I cut this last melon from the vine yesterday. I could tell it was ripe because the tendril closest to the fruit had browned, and the fragile rind was so tight that if I thumped it too hard it would break. After brushing off the dirt, I tucked it under my right arm, left the fenced off garden, and fended off a very curious dog as I carried it to the house. So heavy, like a small child, but without any arms to cling back to me. I thought about how difficult it would be to a farm worker, carrying the large fruit one at a time to a harvest trailer, how much strength and endurance it would take.


Inside, I weighed the fruit: eighteen and a half pounds. Since the end of May, I have lost twenty-two pounds. Carrying this watermelon to the house told me how much stress that weight had been putting on my body for the decade and a half I had been carrying it.

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Last year, I grew a variety called Orangeglo that I ordered from a Seed Savers member. Though the fruit was orange-fleshed, and it was good, it wasn't what I had read the fruit would be. This year, I grew Orangeglo I ordered from a different member. And this year, it is the fruit that I had dreamed of: crunchy and refreshing, large enough to share with many and so juicy.

The seeds are tan with dark, charcoal-colored shoulders and edges; they're buckskin seeds.


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Though last school year was so tough it made me question my career choice, this year has begun so well. My students are kind and funny people, people I want to see each day, and that makes every day better. They've been good days, but long and busy—I'm behind on every other part of my life. 

Today, when I should have been grading, I tried to catch up in my garden. I planted the garlic into the big bed I had prepped for it last week. In another bed, before I amended the soil with composted manure, blood-and bonemeal, then planted it full of brassicas, I pulled all the old squash and melon vines. It had been a bad year for squash, but it had been a very, very good year for melons.

6 comments:

Pasadena Adjacent said...

That is the prettiest mellon. I bet having the extra weight off has given you more energy to take on school and gardening chores. Congrats on a good class.

My mother puts salt on everything, and then if it leans towards the savory, she throws pepper on it too. Not a tradition I kept up with.

Michelle said...

That's how I learned to eat melons, not just watermelon, with salt, always. My husband still thinks it's weird and I still think it's the best way to enjoy a melon. I wish I could grow my own, but it's just not hot enough here to sweeten them up, presuming I could even keep one safe from munching rodents.

Congratulations on dropping the weight! I know what hard work it is to take it off, I took off 15 pounds last year which brings me down 20 from my high a few years before that. I think similar thoughts as yours when I have to carry something heavy up the 40 steps to my front door, or every time I look at a pound of butter (which I have not given up) and think that I used to pack a bunch of those around my middle, my thighs, my rear...

Keep up the good work, on the diet, in the garden, in the classroom - you have so much to be proud of!

Emma Cooper said...

Hi, do you think you could update the sidebar link you have for me? It's been over a year now since coopette.com moved to emmacooper.org :) Doesn't time fly!

Thanks
Emma

Christina said...

PA: I have plenty of seeds if you'd like to try growing it next year.

Michelle: Thanks! I haven't given up butter either, just trying to be balanced and well-exercised. It's worked!

Emma: I'm so sorry. I'll get on it right now!

growingupinthegarden.com said...

Christina - Your melon is gorgeous! I planted one sole Orangeglo seed I had left from a packet you gave me a little over a year ago. I got one melon (6 lbs) and I harvested it too early!! Just barely turning orange. So sad, but live and learn, as the saying goes.

We eat our cantaloup with salt all the time, but I never thought to put in on watermelon. Yum!

Allotment Blogger said...

I wish we could grow melons - that looks so delicious! Congratulations on the weight loss - what a major achievement. Funnily enough, it's been a good year for squashes in southern England ... 10 Turks Turbans and eight butternuts from our plot this year!