Saturday, August 3, 2013

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Some of you may be lucky enough to have a spouse who enjoys gardening as much as you do.  I haven't had that luxury.

The vegetable garden this year
Jody has never planted anything in his life.  Prior to meeting me flowers were irrelevent and fresh vegetables unheard of.  His favourite meal is Fries with the Works* and his second favourite is Poutine.  Swiss chard isn't exactly part of his vocabulary. 


When we first started working on this property Jody would generally consult me on any landscaping ideas.  If the apple trees looked too crowded he would ask if they needed trimming.  If it looked like I needed bigger beds he would ask if I needed some digging done.  But somehow things have changed.

Raspberries ripened this week
Last month we were walking through the garden and he looks at me and says - "You should thin those carrots".  WHAT? 

well maybe they need to be thinned a bit.....
How do you even know those are carrots, let alone that they would need to be thinned?

A few nights later he says he thinned out the lettuce for me as "it gets really wet and full of bugs when you let it grow too much".

zucchini is on the menu once again
Who are you and what have you done with my husband?!

I guess after 10 years together my gardening affliction has finally begun to wear off on him.  Seems if I talk about gardening enough it will eventually start to stick.

The latest evidence of this has started showing up on my plate.  Almost every night dinner includes salad.  Fresh lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, carrots .....  and Swiss Chard?

Bright Lights Swiss Chard
That's an interesting choice.  The young leaves aren't that bitter and were a nice addition.  I wouldn't have thought of that.

So I mentioned - Great idea adding that chard to the salad....

and he retorts - THAT WAS SWISS CHARD?!  You told me I could put beet tops in the salad.  I had no idea that was chard.

oh good, he hasn't changed that much yet


* Fries with the Works is, to my knowledge, an island thing.  A plate of fries covered in onions, peas, hamburger and gravy.  My arteries are clogging up just thinking about it.

34 comments:

  1. I have never heard of fries with the works - it sounds like a complete (and heavy) meal. And I wonder if now your husband will include swiss chard in all the salads! In fact, it sounds like he has picked up a lot about gardening in those 10 years. Since he actually took the initiative to thin the lettuce, it might mean he's ready to move into formal apprenticeship!

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    1. Fries with the works is definitely heavy. I usually have a couple bites off his plate but that's enough for me. I'm like the apprenticeship idea, if I could get him to take over the veggie garden I would have time to finish those flower beds.

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  2. Just shows you have a good marriage: What's important to you is also important to him. Fries with the works sounds excellent. He would probably like a central Illinois specialty called a horseshoe: a hamburger with fries and melted cheese in the bun. What this has to do with horses I don't want to think about.

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    1. What a sweet comment :) but I'm not telling him about that hamburger otherwise he'll be dragging me to Illinois.

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  3. My DB has done almost the same thing. After announcing to me "I don't work in the garden". There has been an evolution over 19 years. I have to keep an eye on him but since he retired my garden has never looked better. :)

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    1. So another 9 years and I might have a willing accomplice? that sounds pretty good to me :)

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  4. Loved this post! We had a ceasar salad last night using all the 'hard' greens like the baby leaves growing inside the swiss chard, and buttery bulls blood beet leaves and kale (remove stems from all). Honestly it was marvelous! Did I say good for you..well maybe without the bacon )))

    Garden in a City above said it best...you have a good marriage because what is import to you is also important to him. Nice.

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    1. Thanks Brenda. I'm going to have to try a similar salad. Lots of chard left and beets but the lettuce is now gone to seed.

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  5. Thanks, no to the fries, but yes to all of the home grown veggies..

    I too am always amazed when my husband notices anything garden related. He's the brawn, I'm the designer...so far both of us are happy at that.

    Jen

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    1. I had thought a similar situation would work for us here too but I'm finding the more I expand the garden space the more help I need so am quite happy to some help in addition to the 'brawn'

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  6. Lol, you can't expect him to make a total transformation overnight:) I am one of those unlucky ones, too, whose husband could care less about gardening. Too many flowers get in the way of the lawnmower, in his opinion. But he does like fresh veggies, and I can count on him to keep the ripe tomatoes picked--though they don't always make it to the kitchen!

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    1. Rose, it's the veggies my husband is most interested in too. Flower don't seem to have the same attraction.

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  7. Hilarious! You are clearly a very positive influence. I am mightily relieved that he only fed you raw chard... imagine the other foliage you might have found lurking in the salad!

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    1. I have often worried about the same thing. One reason to keep the veggie garden well weeded, otherwise I'd end up with all sorts of greenery on my plate.

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  8. Isn't it fun to see such a transformation? He's morphing before your eyes, even with a few setbacks. It's a long way from The Works (Really? Are the peas necessary??) to Swiss chard salads!

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    1. Laurrie, the worst is when it comes with canned mushy peas. So. gross.

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  9. That's hilarious! TNG hasn't quite made this level of transition, but you have given me hope...

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  10. My Ungardener has learnt to add nasturtium and dandelion leaves when we are overdue for a supermarket run.

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    1. Brilliant, love dandelion leaves and nasturtiums are pretty hard to confuse with anything else.

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  11. This made me laugh - and is typical of non-gardeners. Last year my husband proudly walked down the garden path with an armful of prunings - he thought he'd cleverly spotted an errant elderbush and chopped it down. It turns out it was my prize blackcurrant bush - I mean - they just don't look anything alike at all.

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    1. oh dear, that would have been hard to take. I've tried hard to point out any new trees or shrubs as I'm always concerned something will get mown down.

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  12. So funny! My gardening is rubbing off on my husband, too. He's gone pas the "smile and nod" phase to actually understanding what I'm talking about. Those fries sound gross. Maybe a bit of chard is just what they need. :o)

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    1. Smile and nod - I definitely know that one! My previous gardens were on rental properties and Jody could never be bothered to talk about those. He says the difference now is that it's our own property so he actually cares more about what's going on.

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  13. Haha! Good for you, Jody! I loved reading this. Mr. CV, my resident hole digger, was very similar. When we met, the only 'vegetables' he would eat were peas, and corn. If it had a leaf, it was suspect. If it fell into the brassica family, good grief, it was most assuredly poison. Yet last winter he insisted I plant more kale, and was lamenting the lack of lettuce the other day (it's been so dry here, I've given up on salad crops until the rain returns). Now I catch him staking the tomatillos, or nagging me to harvest them before they fall to the ground, weeding the strawberries, picking tomatoes, and even badgering me to get seeds started. I love it. It is fun when your other half gets genuinely excited and interested in the garden, instead of just being there to perform the manual labor tasks! :)

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    1. Clare, you have such an amazing farm, I can't imagine that Mr CV wasn't interested in gardening at first!

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  14. Marguerite girl : )
    There you go ! slowly but surely hubby has been bitten by your virus and is looking with different eyes now.
    Fries with the works is too funny .. number one son is probably missing "Tim's and a good poutine, in S. Carolina by now but there are many other fast food places he loves there.
    I grow herbs but no veggies .. I love herbs, the smell drives me batty .. like a cat on the "nip"
    With prolonged exposure ? just about anything is possible. Husband was astounded that hosta have flowers that exude fabulous scent .. Guacamole has such flowers and we stood in the kitchen smelling them like two kids saying how amazing is this ??? LOL
    Joy : )

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    1. Gardening surely is a bit of a virus isn't it? Just no stopping once it's started. Joy I love herbs too. beautiful and useful too. In fact, one of my many long term plans is to make a separate herb garden. Out of room in the veggie garden and there's never enough space for all the herbs I love.

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  15. Before your description of Fries with the Works, I thought Poutine was the most artery-clogging thing that could be done with potatoes! It's a good thing Jody is learning to balance all those saturated fats with some leafy greens. I guess what you have to watch out for is that he will start wanting to make *decisions* about the garden. -Jean

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    1. me too! when I first heard about poutine I was a bit disgusted. but Fries with the works was more than my brain could comprehend initially. Seriously? all that gravy?? I fear we're not far away from the 'decision making' phase. Last night he mentioned that wouldn't it be great if I could add another flower bed in the front yard - he knew just the spot....

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  16. Hooray for Jody! My hubby used to say you can't teach an old dog new tricks too, but he is learning..he picks the first cherry tomatoes, tells me when the beans are ready and picked the first snow peas..he doesn't recognize all the vegetables yet,nor flowers but learns more each year..had delicious sweet potato fries in Charlottetown yesterday ( I pretend they are healthier)..I'm envious of all your vegetables and wondering who is eating mine back home..I sure hope someone is picking and enjoying them..see you soon..Lannie

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    1. Lannie, can't wait to see you Monday! I'll admit, love the sweet potato fries too :)

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  17. I think it is great Jody is taking an interest in thinning carrots and lettuce. I wish my husband would do the same! If gardening is contagious than he seems to have plenty of antibodies. You have me wondering though if he might take more of an interest in veggie gardening...hmm. Any help would be welcome!

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  18. This is so funny! Mine likes to eat healthy produce from the garden....but he claims he is the hole digger and that's all. Most of the time he doesn't even dig the holes. (I would rather do it myself...oh well) He does however answer gardening questions when a neighbor asks....with me standing there! I just look at him. Apparently he was listening all along.

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