Tuesday, March 20, 2012
When we last left the Horticulture Chimp, she was grubbing out two baby rhubarb plants from an abandoned farmstead in North Dakota. Ann Hoffert had just seen and heard her life veery, and everyone was happy. Except perhaps the rhubarb plants, which rode to their new home in Ohio in the Chimp's boot, got potted up, yellowed and dropped a couple of leaves and then shrugged and made more. It was mid-June 2011.
The rhubarb went into the Heirloom Bed, where only the most special vegetables and flowers live. It's full of sandy loam and manure, memories and dreams.
The rhubarb liked it there with the asparagus and the spearmint and the old birdbath my dad made out of a disc. Disc, like a disc from a tractor implement. I'd be using it as a birdbath yet but it rusted through, iron being iron. I took it to a welder to fix it but it rusted through again so now it is an odd and not very pretty lawn ornament, unless you knew my dad, and then you'd think it was beautiful.
The rhubarb grew and grew, spreading great flat leaves to the sun, making lovely red stems full of tart flavor.
September rolled around and Ann Hoffert came to visit and attend the Midwest Birding Symposium with her lifelong friend Terry. Who is wearing my binoculars in this photo but don't be confused. I'm a little taller.
I took them for a walk down Dean's Fork (a must-see for Ohio guests)
and Ann Hoffert was so happy to see my habitat, as I am always so happy to see hers
that she hugged us both as we took in the old houses and barns of my favorite dirt road.
I shook her down a pawpaw and showed her tall ironweed
and great lobelia
and an adorable young guy who was checking the oil rigs in a homemade truck made out of plywood, Plexiglas and an ATV
and we went home and I made Ann and Terry the perfect avocado and homegrown lettuce and tomato BLT (I am drooling just looking at this)
and we ate and talked and for dessert
I had finally harvested the rhubarb
and mixed it with fresh September local apples
and covered it with cobbler crumbs cut with almonds and coconut
and butter and vanilla
and baked it (this is before baking; we were too busy eating to take a post-baking picture)
and served it, this rhubarb that had grown beneath the singing veery, Ann's life veery;
rhubarb that had come home in a boot from North Dakota and was now growing happily in Ohio, donating stems to a dessert I'd made that was now on a plate in front of our dearest North Dakota friend.
It's for full-circle moments like that that I live.