Cold Weather Woes

My good friend Evie has been telling me for the last ten years or so, “You are so stoooopit!” She reminds me of this only slightly less often than she calls me “fool.” Having completely convinced me I don’t have the sense to get out of an elevator by myself, I decided to stay home yesterday because it was Friday the 13th. It seemed the wise course of action to keep myself out of trouble. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Things went okay until 10:30 that night when I was about to congratulate myself for escaping harm. It dawned on me that it had been cold all day and I should probably check Live Doppler Weather. I turned the television on, clicked over to Live Doppler and this is when things started to go south.

According to Live Doppler, it was going down to 28 in my neck o’ the woods so I ran outside with my gray knit cap crammed on my head (you don’t really expect me to admit I was already wearing it, do you?) and proceeded to protect my prized cabbages (prized because they are the first I’ve ever grown). Mind you, the only light I have on the garden is the 40 watt glow from the front and back porch lights which happen to face east and west while the garden faces north and south. We don’t have much in the way of street lights in a rural neighborhood.

A few bed sheets were already lying out in the yard from the last freeze and I picked each of them up by the corner and shook it real hard in case a snake was underneath. Remind me to tell you about the snake in the rocking chair.

I got two of the sheets over the cabbage before something went wrong with my footing and I heard this awful crunching sound as one of my cabbage gave way under the assault. Mortified, I yanked my foot off the poor cabbage and completely lost my balance.  I went careening and flailing over the row of cabbage in a manner that probably terrified the wild life watching from the woods. Finally, I cleared the garden rows and fell face first in the dirt. I went down with a thud that could have been heard in Georgia. I lost one of my air-conditioned shoes somewhere among the cabbage, my glasses fell off, but despite it being Friday the 13th, I didn’t break any bones. Immediately, however, I thought of that possibility. Can you imagine me lying out there all night in freezing 28 degree weather hollering “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Mom and Dad wouldn’t have heard me because they are too far away and Country Boy, my neighbor with the barking dogs, happens to be hard of hearing and unwilling to spring for hearing aids.  I would have been a popsicle by morning.

Mutant Veggies

This cabbage is Early Jersey Wakefield. I had no idea it would pop out of the ground with such a bizarre-looking pointy head. I’ve got one foot on the banana peel that’s slipping towards geezerism but the existence of pointy headed cabbage was news to me.  Honest.  Momma knew about them but never bothered to enlighten me until I started complaining that half of my cabbage crop had gone mutant. She came stomping down to my veggie garden to see what was going on.  It was then that I learned we have flat headed cabbage for cooking and pointy headed cabbage for coleslaw. However, a fair number of folks on the internet thought it was the other way around – flat heads for slaw; pointed for cooking. I don’t care who wins that argument. I want to know why I’ve shopped in the grocery stores for more years than I can count on my fingers and toes yet never saw anything but flat headed cabbage. The even larger question is this: how did I get to be so old and know so little?

The radicchio was the first mutant to show up in my winter garden. I actually emailed the seed company to inquire why my radicchio looked more like lettuce and the response involved something about needing colder temperatures. My neck of the woods has now experienced several nights of temperatures under 20 degrees and still the radicchio looks like lettuce.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the seeds sprouting from my dirt don’t quite match my expectation. After all, I spread the greenbacks around when I shop for seeds. Some of the companies I order from go on seed hunting expeditions to backwater burgs at the edge of the earth. Then I order these exotic sounding seeds to play with new and interesting stuff despite the fact that “no photo is available.” Just today, I opened a package with a nursery certificate and several stickers proclaiming “may be opened for agricultural inspection.” Out tumbled seeds from Germany, South Africa and, of course, the back water burg at the edge of the world, Ichtheeluwookistan. If I disappear from these pages for more than a week, please send somebody to my plot of paradise to check on me. The exotic vegetables may be holding me hostage.

Cabbage Envy!


My cabbage is heading up. I had a bad case of cabbage envy last January when I discovered that my neighbor with the bees, chickens, and the dog named Chance, had grown a winter vegetable garden. His cabbage were the most beautiful I had ever seen because I’m a fan of those dark green leaves that you never see in the grocery store.

Not particularly fond of cabbage, he gave me a few and I kept going back for more while promising to grow my own in the fall. Other than lettuce and bunching onions, I had not attempted a fall garden because Momma said it wasn’t worth the bother. I should have known. She’s been famously wrong before. She couldn’t have possibly been more wrong about the spelling of Wednesday back when I was a first grader.

Following my neighbor’s example, I now have bok choy, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, collards, onions, radishes, radicchio, shallots, sweet potatoes, turnips and cabbage in my garden.

I first told a close friend about my cabbage heading up and she asked, “Do they head up by themselves?” I don’t know what she thought I could do if the cabbage failed to cooperate. Point a gun down the row of cabbage and bark, “Head up or else?”

Her question and a few of my own batty questions sent out to the internet demonstrate just how far we have separated ourselves from our food.