Okay, so I lied.
I've been doing it all my life, so you shouldn't be surprised.
And you aren't if you know me at all.
My mother didn't call them "lies," she called them Greg's stories. The problem for her, was, the stories I told on her and her sisters were true, if embarrassing, while the ones I told about an old pump out in the field that sent messages to a local Native American tribe were created simply to entertain my cousins, who would tend to buy just about anything if you added enough cheese.
That said, I gained quite a reputation around the family, if not the neighborhood, township, village, county and state, to the point where I wasn't called for jury duty until I was 53.
I did identify with Pinocchio.
I think, still, the best one I told was in the confessional one Sunday morning. Two things got me into this mess: 1) I didn't have any good sins for the week, and, 2) I had seen Perry Mason the night before which featured a very dramatic courtroom confession.
Though the details are hazy, My confession had something to do with killing somebody and tossing his body off the train just outside of Shanghai. Lord, you woulda thought I had killed the Pope's dog! The next thing I knew, I was being held by the collar, bouncing up and down like, well, a marionette, listening to an ancient priest scream "blasphemer!" while my mother wailed in the congregation.
My sisters shrank away, my brother burst out laughing (getting a slap to the back of the head for what I thought, anyway, was the proper response) and my Dad snuck out the side aisle for a cigarette.
Back to the subject at hand. I lied to you, my faithful readers.
Last week, or some short time ago, I wrote about the last harvest for Mr. Bitterman's Garden, circa 2018, I showed a few tomatoes and peppers and said, that was it.
I lied. I wasn't the last, very last, harvest.
What I had forgotten about were the Sweet Potatoes. Protected from the freeze, aided by the snow, the little devils just kept chugging along until we plucked them yesterday during a yard clean up. They were meant to be a side dish for dinner, but became the main course when the filet mignon I had bought to grill smelled like a cross between liver and ammonia.
Two bites in on the steak and I was done, finishing up with sweet potatoes, salad and grapes.
And the sweet potatoes were perfect. From our own little garden and perfect.
They may look like baby mice, but I can assure you they are Sweet Potatoes.
Up next is the ritual "Cleaning of the Garden," followed by the "Tilling of the Soil" and the "Placing of Winter Fertilizer" buried under 4-6 bags of Cow and Compost, provided by my year old cow, Eloise.
She even bags it up for me! You can't beat that! Furious George Flings His All Over the Place!
Meanwhile, I'm also in search of a new gardening hat for next season. Both of the above are in the running, but I'm leaning toward the porkpie hat, as it comes with vodka and less chance of being struck by lightning for impersonating Il Papa, Bouncing down the aisle of a church like a marionette was enough for an entire lifetime. I can forgo being blasted to atoms over a hat.
Although a Civil War kepi is always a possibility.
I have to admit, this has been one heck of a year for the garden. Solid early growth, late fruit from the tomatoes, a place we discovered where pumpkins will actually grow (taking over 2-3 acres of prime real estate) and a first crop of sunflowers that grew beautifully and then disappeared in a heartbeat.
I have to ask, do they do that? Is that how they work, quick to grow, bloom and wilt? The fields of flowers I saw in Europe last summer were amazing -- full, strong and seemingly long lasting -- what's the deal with mine? Well, I do have all winter. Mayhaps I should read up on them and discover all the things I'm doing wrong. I'll see what Katherine White has to say about them …
(Oooo. Thinking of her, it's almost time to get on the waiting list for next year's seed catalogs!)
Last Saturday, all the little weather people, in agreement for a moment, predicted a hard, hard freeze on Saturday night, along with a pile of snow, our first of the season. With that in mind, I went out and plucked the last viable tomato and the last peppers, Poblano, Jalapeno and Lunchbox. The Jalapenos have been vicious this year, turning my hair bright red for an afternoon. The Lunchbox variety are delightful.
This is what greeted us on Sunday morning. A sudden blast of winter cold, with a blanket of snow just to help everything along to that great greenhouse in the sky. I swear we got down to 13 on Sunday night, but the little weather folks say it was 17. Their instruments said it was 17, while my instrument said it was 13. I believe mine before I believe theirs.
The sweet potatoes appear to have survived the cold without cover. Though they, along with everything else, could still surprise me by dying off. The one thing that hasn't died off is the mint, in a pot next to the house. It appears that you can't kill mint, no matter how hard you try and no matter how many dogs pee on it during the season.
I've had parsley and oregano that fainted dead away if a dog even looked in their direction, but mint, no, mint will survive the coming apocalypse, right along with the cockroaches. At least the roaches will have fresh breath.
Furious George is actually thinking of sticking around during the winter. He seems to appreciate that in subzero weather his poo hardens to the point that he can fling it farther and with greater result than when it's "Fresh From the Florida Sunshine Tree." Besides, he has grown quite comfy in the basement bedroom now that we've taken care of the radon problem. He also loves watching "Game of Thrones" on the basement big screen and heading next door to the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor's House for martini's and Fox News. Although he does come back screaming, "It's Nancy Pelosi! Run for Your Lives!"
How she can be any worse than Paul "My Kid Needs Braces, Lady, Give Me Your Social Security" Ryan and Mitch "Tooter Turtle" McConnell is beyond me.
As for me, it's time to pull the plants, fertilize the soil, clean the garden mess that is our garage and find a new sun hat for next year. I don't know about the one I used this year. It was cool, it was hip, whenever I wore it I enunciated quite clearly and distinctly -- but I was just never sure.
And so, the search goes on ….