Unitarian Universalist Hysterical Society
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For Harvest Celebrations

Things I learned from my first year gardening:

1) There is deep wisdom to be found in the cycles of nature.

2) Pinterest is full of DIRTY ROTTEN LYING LIARPANTSES.

3) Sunflowers are scary.  They grow so creepy fast that you start to worry that they are not real plants, and they are ALWAYS SMILING REALLY WIDE.  If Sunflowers were people, they would trend on Instagram and make us all hate our own lives before crashing in a heap of exhaustion from blowing over in the wind from being so tall before they are ready.

4) I do not want to be a a sunflower in life.  This is why I did not boast on the Gardening in Saskatchewan Facebook group that I have been successfully growing a watermelon all summer because have amazing rookie talent.   Even though watermelons are the holy grail of Saskatchewan gardening, but I did not boast about my achievement.  I petted it and talked to it and took it's picture a lot.  And I tried really hard not to get smug, but couldn't resist sometimes thinking how talented and one with nature I am to be able to grow a watermelon FROM SEED on my first try in Saskatchewan.

5)  Sometimes, a thing can really look a lot like a watermelon and then as it gets bigger your realize that it is actually just an ornamental gourd.

6)  I like planting but not weeding.  Next year, I think I am not going to bother with weeding.  I am just going to put up a sign that says “weeds are a social construct”.  Cause they are.

7)  I also don’t like thinning.  It is arbitrary and ruthless slaughter.   I am too invested in the inherent worth and dignity of every spinach seedling, which is interesting because I am not a huge fan of them once they grow up.  Which, if you don’t thin them, they don’t.  Win win.

8)  Carrots are sneaky little suckers.  Sometimes, they look all carrot-ey like a real garden, but you pull them up and it turns out they were just PRETENDING to grow.  This causes marital disputes about whether or not there should have been thinning going on earlier in the year.  These disputes are easily solved by reframing the "carrot patch" as the “fairy carrot patch” in which each plant’s unique soul is honoured, and the resulting carrots are the perfect size to arrange on a tiny tiny plate and leave out at night for the fairies.  (My garden is on a balcony, and when you leave food out for the fairies, it sometimes disappears.  It’s magical.  This practice also causes marital disputes, because when the fairies come they tend to leave behind pigeon poop).

9)  Mint is like reverse-carrots.  It’s all “don’t mind me I’m just growing, here” not too tall or anything, but the whole time it is sending out underground stealth agents.  Then, when it's army is in place, it all of a sudden kills everything around it like some kind of Loch-Ness-Monster-Greek-Hydra.  Then it stands amid the crumpled brown corpses of it’s neighbours and smiles sweetly and says “time for tea?"

10) Compost bins are nicer as metaphors than in person.

11)  Harvesting is also nicer as a metaphor than in person.  As a metaphor, it involves self indulgent reflection and writing.  In person, it is mostly digging and hauling.  That said, digging and hauling is the way that you find out that the mint is a serial killer and the carrots' hippy commune mostly did not pan out except for the occasional huge mutant zombie killer carrot.  Which is important because sometimes when you dig up the wisdom you thought you'd grown, you discover that it is a rootless nothing, and sometimes it's huge mutant zombie killer wisdom that kicks ass.

12) I am putting the mutant zombie killer carrot on Pinterest.

Editor’s Note: You can find the original, including a fabulous picture of the mutant zombie kller carrot (which really adds to the story), here. You’re welcome to use this reading, modified to suit your purposes, ideally with attribution (either to the UU hysterical society, or to the original author, Liz James)… and, if you’re using electronic medium, a link is always greatly appreciated!

Weeds ARE a social construct…. both plant-weeds and people-weeds. Looking for that perfect sticker for your watering can, wheelbarrow, or shed door? Weeds Are A Social Construct stickers on sale here!

Liz James