I went up to our cabin this weekend to check on the place and work on my pot garden. (My garden in pots, you druggie pervs.) Some of you know a bear we named Hammock occasionally ambles through our yard and stares at me from nearby ditches while I iPod out to B.o.B.'s "Don't Let Me Fall". (Which I think should be re-titled "Don't Let Me Be Devoured Alive".) No, this isn't a blog about Hammock, though I know many of you will be disappointed. A disturbing number of you, frankly. Lately I've noticed newbies popping up on my Yahoo group with questions like, "Is this that writer who studies bears?" (No.) "Is MJ like that poor Grizzly Guy who got eaten by grizzlies because he loved hanging out with grizzlies?" (No.) "Wait, she's a writer? I don't want to read about her writing. Wanna read about the bear, Ottoman." (His name is Hammock, and you can't. So there.)
Eventually there will be a black-bordered blog written by my husband which will begin, "Last week MJ and Hammock crossed paths and irritated each other for the last time." This isn't that blog. But despite the absence of an omnivore who could kill me with one paw while deaf to my outraged shrieks and F-bomb usage, I did manage to come off to a neighbor as a deeply disturbed weirdo who has contempt for all living things, including but not limited to her pot garden. (My garden in pots!)
So I show up Saturday and, after a quick bat-check (see earlier blog about my arch nemesis, bats, or as I call them, "Eww, bat, bat, it's a bat oh GROSS!") started to move my pots of dirt outside. Many people, I'm told, actually grow things in pots. Me, I like to use them to store dirt and seeds that never sprout. And my dirt pots need lots of sunshine. So outside they went. I also started transplanting seedlings (yep, I cheat, I only grow herbs from seeds, when I'm not growing dirt). And that's when I realized I had nothing to water them with, and I was waaaaay too lazy to hunt for the hose, unravel it, trip over it at least twice, yank spider webs away from the outside spigot as I hooked it up, then realize the hose is so tangled it looks like a big green ball of string...exhausting. I didn't have a watering can, either, which I should remember when I'm buying dirt for my pots (I never do, though).
So I popped into the house for a pitcher, when I realized my one pitcher had tea in it. Tea! How'd that happen? Oh, right: I made tea. I poked around the kitchen with no luck, until I checked the liquor cabinet. Success! There was a big vodka bottle with only an inch or so of potato-booze left. Not having a need for potato-booze at 9:00 a.m., down the sink it went. I rinsed it, then filled the giant vodka bottle with water, and back out I went.
One of our neighbors was staring at me from the street, which is not uncommon. We're, um, kind of memorable. Neighbors have seen/heard me sprinting from a black bear, prowling the neighborhood at night with a fillet knife, flinging addled bats from the belfry (our cabin was once a church, so it really is a belfry), roaming the neighborhood with several jangly bells hung from various parts of my person...you know. Just everyday weekends.
So he wanders over (brave man!) and we chat about the weather and what a mild winter it was and the entire time he's not making eye contact, the entire time he's watching me water herb seeds, tomato seedlings, and flowers with my giant jug o'vodka. And of course I know what he really wants to talk about, and it ain't the weather. But I've got a small streak of sadism in me, so I was in no rush to enlighten him. Nope. I was gonna make him ask. So I up the chatter: "...but I don't have time to dick around with fertilizer, if they're gonna grow, they'll grow, and really, it's up to the fates..."
He finally cracks. "They'll die."
"...and what am I, am I the god of herb gardens? Ha! Hey, in a pinch I'll use the dried stuff...get it? In a pinch? Because lots of recipes require a pinch? D'you see what I did there with my play on words? I..."
"They're gonna die."
"...can't really the tell the--what?"
"Your plants. They're gonna..." He breaks. "Why are you watering tomato plants with vodka?"
"Because I really. Hate. Parsley. Die, parsley seeds!" Okay, I didn't say that. But boy, I sure wish I hate. What I really said: "I'm not...although I had the flu last week and my doctor did tell me to drink lots of clear fluids."
"I don't think that's what he had in mind." He gives me an appalled look. "Who's your doctor?" Like the quack in question was lurking in the nearby raspberry bushes, ready to jump out and force a liter of vodka down his throat.
"And they need lots of liquid. Don't you, my pretties? Ahhhh, yes..." I cooed, shaking the vodka bottle to get out every drop onto the moisture hogging tomato seedlings. "Mama's here." I finally took pity on him. "I didn't have a watering can and I stupidly made iced tea without considering all the consequences. I drove myself to this! Accidentally. So I'm the victim. Twice!"
"Oh." He nods. "Okay."
"Desperate times call for desperate measures."
"Pot gardens aren't a hobby for the cowardly."
"I have to...uh..." He made a vague gesture back the way he came. "So, okay."
"Come back anytime!" I called after him. "Just some advanced warning, gin is also a clear liquid!" He quickened his pace. "Don't judge meeeeeeeeeee!"
Huh. I never know what to make of weird neighbors; does anyone?