New, Strange Ground

It's a different world than it used to be for me.

First, I got a letter from my brother.

He included a birthday present for me that he picked up at the garden shop at Monticello. He sent me seeds of all types all types, heirloom vegetables and flowers, some old favorites and some that I've never heard of, all that I can't wait to experiment with once it is planting time again.

Getting a letter (and in this case, a package too!) from my brother is the best gift I could receive for my birthday.

Second, the melons that I've been training up towers I've built by wiring square tomato cages on top of each other are beginning to be quite laden with fruit. I had to grow the melons vertically rather than sprawling because I just don't have the space to do otherwise, and darn it, I want melons! However, as the fruits grow, they get too heavy to be supported by the plant alone. My melons need bras.

According to Tony Keinitz and other resources, this is what I needed for support:

Yup, hose. No one said exactly how to turn pantyhose into melon slings though, so I tried several fairly unsuccessful approaches. I tried cutting off a piece, tying off one end, slipping the melon into the open end, then tying the open end to the cage. That didn't work very well because it made it difficult to attach to the cage, and the fruit fit very awkwardly into the "sack." Other experiments also failed. What has worked best is to cut wide "calamari-rings" of nylons, tie a string to one side of the tube, bunching it together, like this:

Then, I tie the loose ends of the string to the cage, and slip the fruit inside. The melon slings provide support but allow the fruit to expand easily as they grow--the training bras of the cucurbitaceae family.

I know it looks strange, and it is different than what I've seen anyone do before, but it seems to work well.

Third, speaking of calamari:

Our friend PS went deep-sea fishing this weekend and wants to share his catch with us. Anyone have great ideas for how to cook squid steak? It's new to me.

And finally, of course the biggest thing for me right now is the realization that I'm going to get married in the spring. When I was little and would play with my friend Alison on the playground, we'd tell each other our imaginary version of our futures. In it, I'd always have a dappled gray horse named Galaxy, but Alison and I had to negotiate each day over which boy in the class we'd marry. Some days I got to marry Alex, but on other days, she got him.

In high school and even later, I'd envision what I thought I wanted in a spouse. I created, in my head, what I believed would be the ideal husband for me. ECG is not at all like that version that lived in my head for so many years. He's much better.

I keep thinking about my college roommate KRO and her husband. Both are doctors, and in the months before their wedding, KRO's husband was stationed as a Naval doctor in Afghanistan. As any woman who loves her man would do, KRO fretted over his safety and missed him fiercely, and I remember tearful phone calls with her, as both of us cried, wishing her husband-to-be home. While KRO's fiance was deployed, they didn't get to talk to each other very often, but when they did, their conversations weren't about how much they missed each other, how much they couldn't wait to see each other again, or how much they loved each other. Instead, I remember her telling me, almost in awe, that most of the conversations were about medical procedures. He'd ask her advice on patients with whom he worked, worrying if what he attempted to do to help a young girl with severe lacerations is what she would have done as well. KRO provided a steady intellectual support to her fiance while he was in the most stressed of circumstances, and to me this kind of dialogue that the two of them had is more romantic than any declarations of love.

ECG and I are going to have a life time to figure out all the kinds of romance that will exist between the two of us. Some of our ways of being romantic and loving to each other are already as familiar as a favorite pair of jeans, but I look forward to all the unexpected ways that we will be partners to each other, supporting each other through challenges to come, that no matter how good my imagination, are impossible for me to dream up. That imagination of my childhood sure did come up with a lot of pretty possibilities, but truthfully, I never came close to imagining the wonder of my now.


Wendy said…
Love those melon bras!
Anonymous said…
those melon slings are hi-effing-larious! Love them... they simply crack me up!

And I love that you remember the name of your dappled gray. I always dreamed I'd end up with a strapping roan Warmblood that I'd gallop across the country chasing foxes and beagles... Funny tho, I don't remember what I thought I'd find in a man...

And as to that giant squid. Grill that sucker (hehe) and serve with some asian inspired dipping sauces!
Christina said…
Wendy: Thanks!

Ann: There are quite a few jokes about them that are flying around here lately, some a little too naughty to post. I still have plenty of squid left, so I think I'll have to follow your suggestion and some of it will go on the grill. I'm going to have to freeze some of it too, because it's A LOT of fish.

In my mind, Galaxy was a Dutch Warmblood, and I remember being on road trips with my family and looking out the window, imagining myself on that gray horse riding long the rural roads, over the hills and leaping over washes. My imaginary husband was based quite a bit on the uncle from Eight Cousins. Thank God ECG isn't a ship's captain . . ..
Christa said…
Love the melon bras!! I've been wondering about training some of my squash up a fence... and the watermelons. I might have to give them bras. Thanks for showing how you made them.

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