Hello Old Friend

So I haven’t been blogging for the last month, but instead have been tweeting (@susanrebwhite) and updating facebook (susanrebeccawhitebooks) and going on book tour and taking photos of boiled peanut stands in the deep south.
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But I have missed the bloggity blog! There’s more room to breathe in a blog–when you’re not limited to 18 characters, or whatever it is twitter allows.

So I have this issue: I have a front yard garden.  It used to be grass, and in a fit of environmentalism and “stewardship” I ripped out the grass and put in an organic vegetable garden.  I’ve posted about it here before, and put up gorgeous pics of the globe eggplants I was growing last year.  And I made baba ghanouj and stuffed eggplants and all was well in the world except that we ended up with about 200 more eggplants than we needed.  And our tomatoes–which grew great–were eaten by the squirrels the moment they turned  red.  (The tomatoes, not the squirrels, but believe me, I had blood on the brain when thinking about squirrels once they started using my garden as a cafeteria line.) This is all to say that the organic garden had its ups and its downs.  But this spring came a big down in the form of my jet black cat, Moses. Moses is a great cat, very chill and sweet and funny.  But for some reason, he has taken to peeing in the garden ALL THE TIME.

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Obsessively.  Like every five minutes.  He will run into the garden, kick up the hay that I’ve got as ground covering, and squat and pee.  I think he’s trying to leave his scent to scare away the big orange cat that likes to stalk around our neighborhood and intimidate all of the other animals.  (Big orange cat once delivered an enormous dead rat onto the welcome mat on our front porch.  Big orange cat is no longer welcome chez moi.)

Anyway, it occurred to me that Moses’ pee might not be that healthy for my organic soil.  Or hell, maybe it’s great for organic soil, maybe I could buy a bag of pee-infused dirt at Whole Foods for $20 bucks–but that is for someone other than me to discover.  And then there is the heartbreak of the squirrels, and the issue with too many eggplants.  Which is all to say that this year I decided I’d plant two tomato plants only, in pots, and fill the garden with flowers.  Which I have done.  And man, the flower garden is beautiful, if slightly less idealic than a frontyard farmers market.

Speaking of food–that’s what I’m speaking of, yes?–I just read a great food book: Spoon Fed by Kim Severson.  Kim writes about the eight (life) lessons she learned from eight different women chefs.  Her writing style is straight-forward and very personal without being operatic, and I just really loved reading her take on life.  I particularly liked the chapters on Alice Waters and Edna Lewis, two of my heroes.   And now I’m reading a fantastic book about New Orleans food and culture (one in the same, methinks) called Gumbo Tales by Sarah Roahan.  I give it five out of five Sazeracs.

2 Responses to Hello Old Friend

  1. Anonymous May 27, 2010 at 3:47 am #

    Keeping cats out of the garden …

    Toss some pine cones or magnolia pods in with your mulch, and the cats will stay away. Pine cones were recommended to me, but I have magnolia trees, so magnolia pods got the nod. Cats don’t like the prickliness of either one, and it works like a charm. I use them instead of mulch in all my potted plants, too!

  2. Anonymous May 27, 2010 at 3:47 am #

    Keeping cats out of the garden …

    Toss some pine cones or magnolia pods in with your mulch, and the cats will stay away. Pine cones were recommended to me, but I have magnolia trees, so magnolia pods got the nod. Cats don’t like the prickliness of either one, and it works like a charm. I use them instead of mulch in all my potted plants, too!