It's not that I never heard about farming or gardening, it's just that I never had to do any. Once, however, I came close, when I was invited by a friend to drive to east Tennessee to help her family harvest their potato crop: "Sure, I'll help y'all pick potatoes! Will we be using paper or plastic?" I soon discovered that neither paper nor plastic was on the day's agenda, but garden spades and wheelbarrows, and mushy dirt (aka mud), and ants, and lots and lots of sweat. I also discovered that potatoes do not grow on trees or even bushes, but in the ground, of all places! Thus began and ended my early farming career.
So now that I'm a grown-up and I live out in the middle of nowhere on a farm in rural Georgia, my Tennessee family thinks it's quite interesting and a little amusing that I even have a garden, let alone work in it. It's not a huge, feed-the-world-sized garden, but one just large enough to suit our family's needs. Surprisingly, I discovered that I actually enjoy playing the role of "Farmer Jane." Some years we've experimented with things like heritage watermelons and winter squash, but mostly we plant the old standby vegies like beans (if the deer will cooperate) and tomatoes (if the blossom rot will cooperate) and corn (if the crows will cooperate) and okra (if the aphids will cooperate.) And we always plant my all-time favorite summer vegetable, yellow squash. This year was no exception, and during the spring we bought 8 tender seedling squash plants from a local distributor, and put them into the ground. The plants grew and thrived and began to have blossoms. I'm no expert, but I noticed that these plants looked a bit different than I remembered from previous years. Now, I may not have a rich heritage of farming in my blood, and I don't have much of a green thumb unless I'm using green paint, but I do know that when you plant 8 squash seedlings, this. . . r or plastic at the checkout line in the grocery store,
. . . is not what you expect to grow. This is what we city-girls call a cucumber. But hey, what do I know? I once thought that potatoes grew on trees.