Love keeps growing

By Mir
May 29, 2008

We’re just past the halfway point of the kids’ first week away this summer, and truthfully, the days are passing at a tolerable pace. It helps to have a major catastrophe to tend to, I guess, to take my mind off of other things. LUCKY ME!

Oh, I kid. The whole computer failure and subsequent retreat into the fetal position has only occupied a tiny (gigantic) sliver of my time. Actually, I’ve been quite busy with my little container garden out on the deck. And that’s because I love to garden! Oh, wait. Actually, I think it’s because some sort of mystery bug is eating through my banana pepper plants. I spend a lot of time out there trying to find the culprits, and shaking my fist at the sky, and watering, and pinching the basil, and just generally fussing over my plants because my children aren’t here to fuss at. Don’t judge me. If all YOU had was lemon verbena, you’d spend more time with it, too.


The kids call home every night, and they want to know how we’re doing and what’s happening here.

So I tell them about what’s going on out on the deck.

Chickadee likes to ask me how the strawberries are doing.

“I caught the first one turning red!” I tell her.

Pinking strawberry

“And then a couple of days later it was ALL red, so I plucked it and ate it. But it wasn’t very sweet. I think maybe it needed a few more days.”

“How many more are red?” She asks. “Can I have some when I get home?” We debate the relative merits of pie vs. ice cream, planning a feast because of a single, underripe berry.

Both of the kids want to know if I’ve seen Bob, our gecko, recently.

“I was out on the deck this afternoon and he ran right up the banister,” I tell them. “When I came up to him with the camera, he decided to show me his beautiful neck!”

Bob and his neck fan

He’s ferocious, you know. Also, it’s handy that the edge of the deck is kind of mildewy. It makes it easier for him to hang out and turn himself into a matching color. “By the way,” I tell them, “his tail is really coming back nicely. Pretty soon we won’t know it’s him anymore.”

Bob hanging out

“Oh! And guess what else!” I tell Monkey.

“What?” he asks, game to play along.

“I found a teeny, tiny little tomato starting to grow,” I tell him. He gasps with delight. If there’s anyone else in this family who spends more time than me poking around in those pots, waiting for a miracle, it’s him.

“Is it an Early Girl?” he asks, remembering that they’re supposed to produce fruit first.

“Nope,” I tell him. “It’s a Roma. But the Early Girls are starting to flower, too. Just you wait until you see this tiny tomato, it’s the cutest thing ever.”

Tiny new tomato

“I want to eat that one,” he tells me. “After it’s ripe, of course. Can you keep track of it for me?”

I tell him that I will.

“We’ll be home in a few days, Mama!” he tells me. “I am going to check on it then. I’ll see you soon!”

I’ll see them soon. And look at all the great things I’ll have to show them! While they’re looking, I’ll be able to check out how much they’ve grown in a week, while I wasn’t watching.

And then I’ll need to send them off again, in a little while, but right now I think I’ll think about my tomatoes and Bob’s tail, instead.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone.


  1. Deb

    Happy Love Thursday to you too! What a wonderful conversation with the kids! Thanks for sharing and hope the rest of the time passes quickly.

  2. All Adither

    It looks like Bob swallowed a strawberry.

  3. suburbancorrespondent

    Hey! We had one ripe, red strawberry on our deck, too! The kids were so excited. And then one of the #$&$*@! (sp?) squirrels ate it. Where’s a shotgun when you need one?

  4. Leandra

    Isn’t it amazing how much they grow while they’re gone?

    Our strawberries gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago, but man, our tomatoes are thriving. We have seven small tomatoes on just one of our 4 plants. Seeing as how I’m the only one who eats tomatoes in our house, I think we’re going to be overrun with them. Anybody want some extra tomatoes? Anybody?

  5. Anne Glamore

    I planted flowers last weekend and two hours later my 12 year old found me outside checking them to see if there had been any action.

    WHEN did I quit having the “tease your hair like Madonna” gene and develop the “I live for my flowers and NO I’m not buying Froot Loops” gene?

    I think your garden is action packed!

  6. Pam

    I used to have to go visit my dad every summer, too (no week for us, oh no, we had to spend two months. It was AWFUL. no, I’m not scarred at all.) Anyway. I used to call my mom all the time (mostly crying… I’m sure she really looked forward to that). Anyway. What was I saying? I guess… that I hope the time continues to fly by and that they are home soon and that there are red things for them to enjoy when they get back!

  7. Flea

    Happy Love Thursday!

    Bob’s an anole. We used to wear them on our ears as kids. I miss them, surprisingly enough, living in Oklahoma.

    And how cool for you, strawberries and tomatoes! Our tomatoes are blooming, and my dog has already eaten our first ripe strawberries. :(

  8. The Mom Bomb

    I can’t plant any fruits/veggies because of &%$# Bambi, but I’ll enjoy them vicariously through you.

    I’m not a big fan of reptiles, but Bob has a certain special somethin’. As long as he doesn’t launch into a sales pitch for cheaper car insurance.

  9. Aimee

    Happy Love Thursday!

    Bob is very impressive and scary, and that tomato is very proomising!

  10. celticbuffy

    As hard as it is to let them go, on the bright side, it seems to be that their visits to their dad are spread out over the summer. Because of distance my kids’ visit to their dad is a solid 5 weeks. I’d much rather spread it out as I think it’s going to be too hard on all of us to uproot everyone’s lives for this 5 weeks. Of course, I am grateful that he didn’t choose to take them for the entire summer, which is his right according to our state laws. Yours will be home soon to kiss & hug!

  11. Heather

    Bob’s tail will always look a little diffrent too. The second tail it supported by cartilage, not bone and isn’t as pretty (guess what my kids have wanted to learn about this week????) So you’ll still be able to tell it’s him.

  12. threeundertwo

    I love Bob. Does he keep the bugs off the plants?

  13. Sheila aka Manic Mom

    Your garden looks like it’s off to a great start. Over here in CA things don’t grow for me as easily as they did in FL. I try every year & nothing happens. Lord help me! :-)

  14. elizabeth

    we have a Bob too, I think, but he hasn’t shown me his neck like that. last weekend he did show me how he changes color, from dark brown to the neon green. way cool.
    how is your mint doing? taken over as everyone predicted?

  15. Esme

    Some of the comments make me so sad… didn’t anyone enjoy spending time with their other parent? I’m the Otto in our family… I’d hate to think that my stepkids spent the summers wishing they didn’t have to be with us.

  16. Megan

    Well, I hate to brag but right now in my yard I have growing:

    grass. Sort of. Mostly growing, except for the bit where the Male child likes to pace while it talks to its girlfriend on the phone.

    dandelions. Thriving!

    1 carrot which the male child planted last week because he felt it was sprouting. Also it claims to have planted a potato but I haven’t found that yet.

    Yes, kneel before my mighty gardening skills.

  17. StephLove

    I want to eat that one,” he tells me. “After it’s ripe, of course. >>

    It sounds suspiciously like this boy has not been introduced to fried green tomatoes. Now that you’re a Georgian, you have a duty to learn how to make them. That and fried okra.

    We had some fried green tomatoes this weekend with farmers’ market tomatoes. We’re not even from the South and I have to have these in the late spring and early fall.

  18. jennielynn

    A big hug to you, dear.

  19. Lindy

    Yep, not to be overly pedant, but Bob’s a green anole. Great for hanging on your ears and playing with if you can catch them, but not the particularly nuturing type and tend to eat their young (sort of like my step sister-in-law, haha!) The only type of gecko native to Georgia that I know of is the mediterranian gecko, which you used to only find in southern Georgia (they’re much more prominent in Florida). (but then, I saw an armadillo in north Georgia the other day so who the hell knows anymore).

    And as far as the peppers go, my dad puts a little Sevin dust on his plants, keeps the bugs off. I’d suggest about a 5-7% formula. You can get it at feed stores and hardware stores, places like that. Works like a charm. I gather from reading about your escapades buying outrageously priced organic milk and whatnot you might not be too keen on insecticides on the food your children will eat, and I don’t know of anything organic, but if you’re hesitant to use a sevin powder, a permethrin power might be a better choice, or at least something to try first.

    Just some info from a girl who spent way too much time playing in the dirt growing up.

  20. Sheila

    I’m thinking I need to buy my plants new suitcases and send them off to their father for a week to see if they grow, because it’s just not happening here in their own yard.

    But! That will not stop me from leaving you with this gardening tip:

    The mint is eating through your banana pepper plants.

  21. Shelley

    We had Bobs growing up, but we just called them lizards. I’d never heard of an anole until today.

    We used to catch them & say “lizard, lizard, stick out your blanket.”, and almost every time they would. That’s one of the first “tricks” I taught my daughter. You’ve never seen anything cuter than saying that to a 9 month old & having her stick out her little pink tongue!

    Ah kids, they sure are good for a few laughs.

  22. Burgh Baby

    Could Monkey please teach my kid how to wait until things are ripe? She will happily eat a green tomato or strawberry and it freaks me the hell out. How can that possibly taste good?

  23. Jenni

    I attempted to start my plants from seeds this year. No I have a bunch of pots with mostly dead plants in them. And yes, they are just mostly dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. :)

    However, their mostly deadness is NOT my fault. Seriously. I had to go to California for a business trip for 3 days and no one watered them while I was gone. Not even the 8 yr old who is the actual owner of at least half the plants.

    Your plants look beautiful. I’m jealous.

  24. angie

    What a delightful photo blog! I hope your kids getta see the pretty pictures, too!
    Happy LT

  25. Sunny

    I have been spending time contemplating my arugula. It was big and healthy and delicious, and someone ate it down to the nubs.

  26. Daisy

    Romas are delicious. Mine won’t be ripe for a long, long, time, though. Maybe I can come eat yours? And you can visit to eat mine late in summer when yours are all gone!

  27. Wendy

    Makes me sad thinking of the ten days mine will be away soon. I think you’re doing great! I bet it helps that they call every night. I hope mine will be able to.

  28. Kailani

    I love it when Monkey says, “Mama.” It gets me every time. There is just something special about a boy’s love for his Mama.

    I have never thought of container gardening, but I’m thinking that Man Cub and Kitty would get a kick out of tending their own containers. Thanks for planting the seed! HA.


  29. Shannon

    Bob the gecko looks like a green anole lizard to me. :)

  30. Cele

    A kid who gets into gardening with you, that is perfection.

  31. dad

    Great post.

  32. Laura

    When I lived in TN, Mom kept several of those anoles in the house, to keep bugs off the houseplants. Several of them were eaten by the cats, but the one we named Beethoven liked to sleep on the stained glass hanging lamp over the kitchen table. (On a green slab of glass, of course.)

    One night I had a (somewhat prissy) friend over for dinner. We didn’t realize Beethoven was on the lamp until he decided to decamp… he leapt right off the lamp and onto said friend’s nose.

    You can imagine the panic…she and her chair went over backwards, scrabbled on the carpet (her, not the chair), and poor, panicked lizard tried to crawl into her hair and promptly got stuck in her hairspray. (Hey, it was the late 80’s.)

    Beethoven emerged unscathed, but my friend never did come to dinner again….

    Perhaps this is a good method if you ever have unwelcome dinner guests?

  33. mommytherobot

    the one thing that i do like about living in the South (the one reason let me get that clear enough) is how my little potted vegetable garden grows so well! my banana pepper only has one… do you pick it off and a hundred will replace it or leave it on just in case i jinkx it?

  34. Astrogirl426

    Ahh, summer. Good for you that the garden seems to be going well. Per some readers’ difficulties with Bambi, last year when I had a big garden over at my sister-in-law’s (long story involving the shale we call soil in upstate NY, and the fact that she had a well-turned-over hayfield just going to waste) I sprayed some kind of smelly fish oil concoction (purchased in concentrated form at the local Agway) on it every week or so and that kept the deer/squirrels/chipmunks away. It smelled a bit when I sprayed it, but when it dried it was odorless. Worked like a charm – and we live in deer country out here.

    Per the bugs – Oy, I had similar problems with cabbage worms as well as other critters eating my hot peppers. I wound up having to use Sevin as well (no, I’m not a big chemical freak but they were eating every last cabbage, and it was either that or give up any hope of sauerkraut). And you inspired me, dear Mir – today I just put in my herb garden (no mint, but lots of basil, oregano, hot peppers, rosemary, and fennell; this week the tomatoes go in). Yay for gardens and the people (big and little) who care for them! And yay for Bob (from your ears? Really? The Northern girl in me shudders to think…)

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