Entries from February 2006

Attack of the Accidental Tomatoes

I was woken one day by my father, who had been visiting my house. He asked me about my tomato crop. I am no gardener and went outside, mystified, to see what he was talking about. Sure enough, growing in a line on a patch of sandy dirt outside were 10 or so tomato plants, many with small green fruit already in evidence.

We stood around scratching our heads until one of us spotted the obvious. The long narrow barren patch in the middle of my lawn had been caused by our sewer pipe rebuild of a month or two previous, in which we replaced with PVC an ancient tar-paper pipe, ruined by tree roots and leaking torrents of sewage into the ground. We turned this fertile soil over with shovels in the course of digging out the pipe and refilling the ditch, and the current theory holds that this brought close to the surface tomato seeds planted there by the old method that fruits of all kinds evolved to exploit.

That's right! WE planted them, every time we ate tomatoes and flushed the remains. Although some members of my family have expressed uneasiness at the history of this harvest, I'm sure that they'll taste far better than the supermarket product, cruel suggestions of the flavorful terroir coming through notwithstanding.

UPDATE: April 7, 2006

Fruits are being harvested and indeed they do taste better than commercial ones, like a typical tomato but more. Apparently we "planted" no less than three varieties: cherry tomatoes, nice mid-size round ones, and some kind of lobed Ugly-Ripe looking tomato.

Unfortunately, maybe 10% of my produce has been lost to boring fruitworm. Infuriating! Lecture me all you want on Organic Gardening, you lose your harvest and you'll be just as ready as I am to gas em' all and let God sort em' out! For now I've settled for moving the plants to the backyard (away from the sewer pipe insect-incubator) and tying them up higher to a plastic fence which I've installed (also keeping out marauding possums).

The Winter Olympics and the Perception of Time

Watching the closing ceremonies of the 2006 Torino games last night, I was struck by an observation on my own mental state, which must have been bubbling to the surface over the last two weeks: the periodic nature of the Olympics has fractured my personal flow of time. Every four years, more or less the same athletes come back and resume their stories; during the opening ceremony, I see some of the old faces and hear their names, and it all comes rushing back. Then for the next two weeks I experience time as running on a track parallel to the main, day-to-day chain of events—the Winter Olympic track. This train started at Calgary '88 or so, but it makes slower progress than the train of normal time, as it runs for only two weeks every four years. The Summer Olympics run on another parallel track because the characters involved are usually different.

I think this is why watching the games is so beautifully comforting; when I jump into Olympic time I'm able to reach back with ease to 8 or 12 or 14 years ago, to a time when I was a child or an adolescent. Each of those two week Olympic periods gets appended onto the end of the last one, so all the great events of Lillehammer '94 (and whatever I was doing at the time) are as though they happened only six weeks past.