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Ignorant Purchases • Southern Rural Route

I hate going into big box lumber stores. Mostly because I don’t know the name of the something I want to buy. That ranks right up there with telling the mechanic your car’s making a “boinkety boinkety” noise. Or going to the feed and seed store with all those cowboys and farmers standing around and you want to buy alfalfa but you don’t know squat about alfalfa. You just know somebody on some blog somewhere said to buy it.

I didn’t even know whether alfalfa was spelled with an “f” or a “p” in all the appropriate places. The one thing I did know, for sure, is that it’s food for some kinda critter. I try to do the right thing in life and it didn’t seem right to use critter food as fertilizer. I had visions of all those cowboys and farmers finding out I intended to use their critter food as fertilizer. Who wants to be kicked to the curb with metal plated cowboy boots?

It had to be done, though, because I had already wanted that alfalfa for a year. Besides, I finally had another purchase to use as cover for my audacity.  I had just learned about some “dirt” I could get at the feed and seed that was mooshed into 60 pound cubes that would take up far less room in my greenhouse than those 2 cubic foot bags of garden soil. The 60 pounds might even be cheaper than buying 3 or 4 of the 2 cubic foot bags but I don’t know how to convert cubic feet to pounds. If converting is going to involve “x,” “y,” and an equal sign, let me just say I’m not a math wizard.

I showed up at the feed and seed store around lunch time thinking that business would slack off until after lunch. Wrong. I should have done this in the dead of winter but I only recently learned of the mooshed dirt. Once I located the dirt, it occurred to me, for the first time, that I wasn’t going to be able to lift it and they don’t have grocery buggies in feed stores. Did you know this? It came as a surprise to me.

I slunk around the seeds, then the chickens, watching as people checked out and left. Finally, it was down to me and some gal in a dress who didn’t look like she belonged in a feed and seed store any more than me. She urged me to go ahead of her, probably because she didn’t want me to hear her stupid question any more than I wanted her to hear mine.

After arranging for my dirt purchase, and someone to haul it out to my car, I leaned as far over the counter as I could and whispered, “Do you sell alfalfa?”

“Yes, ma’am, but we are out of it” and then she started talking about 50 pound bags and I muttered something about not wanting a lifetime supply. At this point, the cashier squinted at me suspiciously and asked, “You wantin’ it for yer roses?”

Roses? I thought roses liked bananas. This was a first but, hey hey, using alfalfa on roses immediately and completely decriminalized my desired purchase. I don’t think I answered her but my face must have lit up because she said, “We’ve got some 5 pound bags of cubes over yonder,” and she led the way. When she picked up the 5 pound sack of alfalfa, I reached for it reverently. Finally, a year-long desire was about to be joyfully fulfilled.

Still unaware that I had no intention of fertilizing roses with the alfalfa she started babbling about a recipe for roses that involved alfalfa, bone meal and something else. She tried to find her recipe for me and assured me she would have it the next time I came in. Hope she lives that long. I try to stay out of places I don’t belong.

my alfalfa

To learn about using alfalfa in your garden, visit LearningandYearning.