Friday, September 9, 2011


Ok, I’m ready to accept it: I have a green thumb.

Ever since we moved in to Flartopia Manor, I’ve been working various beds, both vegetable and flower.  Miss Chef tends to build them, I tend…to them.  Sort of.  Everyone who sees my pictures of fresh, happy vegetables or bright flowers comments on how they thrive.  No, no, I insist, notice these are all close-ups!  You don’t see the bed next to it, overgrown with grass, or the half of the garden that’s dried up and dead.

There’s also a tradition at the office that every new employee gets a cutting from a pothos plant in my supervisor’s office.  It probably started as an attempt to cut it back, but today at least half the desks in the office have a plant on them.  And people frequently comment that mine is the most healthy and pretty.  No, no, I insist, it’s just that I bought a pretty blue strawberry pot to wrap it around, so it looks big and full.

But now, I’m ready to believe that I must have some extra talent with growing things, because of these:


Just a handful of green beans, picked from the garden.  Not much, but let me tell you two details:

1. I haven’t tended the garden since we got back from the Big Trip two months ago.  I’ve watered it twice, and 7/8 of the space is overgrown with grass.

2. I didn’t put a single bean in the ground this year.

These are what Dad calls “volunteers.”  We often have tons of tomato volunteers, and sometimes dill (which isn’t called “dillweed” for nothing!).  But three bean plants came up late this spring, all on their own.  Two of them just happened to spring up right next to where I’d put in the tomatoes.  And when those delicate fruits began to pout from neglect and putter out, the beans were happy to take their place on the poles.

All I had to do was recognize the seedlings as bean plants (grudging thanks to Mom and Dad), and not pull them as weeds.

So, okay: my name is Flartus, and I have a green thumb.

Now, here’s a blast from the past for those who’ve been reading for a while.  A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon a food I’d never tasted, seen or really ever heard of before: persimmons.  They grew on a tree in our neighborhood common area, and I had never seen it fruit before. 

If you happen to know persimmons, there’s a good chance these are not the same: most persimmons sold in the States are an Asian variety (bigger, sweeter, easier to clean seeds out).  This is a native variety, which I suspect is fairly rare.  I wasn’t sure why the tree fruited that year; maybe we had a wetter than usual spring; maybe the wind blew in just the right way to aid pollination; maybe Tinkerbell moved into the neighborhood and sprinkled fairy dust on it.

Sadly, the tree did not fruit last  year.  I was afraid Tinkerbell had moved out.
But this year, it’s back again!


Aren’t they beautiful?  Ok, there aren’t many, but they are kind of a pain to harvest.  There are a couple of reasons.  First, they must be absolutely ripe, or they are incredibly tart (or so I’ve read).  That means they have to feel like a sac of gel, and be ready to fall off the tree.  Which they’re more likely to do, than to wait for you to come by and pluck them gently from the branch.

Secondly, this particular tree grows at about a 45-degree angle over the pond, at the base of a steep bank.  Which means Flartus has to clamber out onto the trunk and try to reach out her short little arms in all directions without falling in!  (I took my mom with me one time, and watching me made her as nervous as she used to get during my horseback riding lessons as a teenager.)

I’m hoping to get more, enough to freeze and do something with.  Last time Miss Chef had wanted to make a sauce with them for our Thanksgiving turkey, but…well, since I’m in a confessional mood…we didn’t freeze the pulp in time and it went bad. Crying face

If we manage to make something of these, I’ll be sure to share it.  In the meantime, click here to read about the harvest and processing from two years ago.  Really, I could have re-posted it; it was almost the exact same experience today!  And there were more pictures then.

…and then I walked happily home in the dusk…and straight into a giant spiderweb.  Gaaahhhh, spiderweb dance!


  1. You are one seriously dedicated persimmon picker!! Loved the description.

  2. I've never tried my hand at growing stuff, including plants. They grow nicely in stores so I leave them there.

    Honestly, I'm too lazy to tend a garden.

  3. Free food - my favourite kind! Both the persimmons and the beans! You are Flartus, and you are the Green Thumb Queen!

    I remember being amazed when we moved here to Vancouver Island that we could pick blackberries - succulent, juicy, tasty blackberries - by the pail full for free by the side of the road. Of course no rowboat or tree clambering was required - just diligent thorn avoidance!

  4. Flartus, anytime you want to come turn my little bit of prairie into garden, you are most welcome. The only thing I can grow is thitle.

    The persimmon is a symbol of transformation since it changes from tart to sweet. I like that.

  5. Hooray for Tinkerbell, Green Thumbs and for Volunteer plants!



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