Did I inform you about my sweet-
potato vines within the window?
I’ve been wanting a houseplant however haven’t found out the place to purchase one right here in China. My pals and downstairs neighbors go most weekends to go to her grandfather’s farm. They often deliver me again some greens — garlic leaves that I sauté with Napa cabbage and lotus roots or candy potatoes that I steam in my rice cooker, and final week, an enormous mess of fava beans.
These have been enjoyable to shell, giant inexperienced knuckles that fell into the bowl with a metallic thump. My pal stated they’d be good and candy if I steamed them and added salt — they usually have been — particularly after I drizzled them with sesame oil.
Earlier than I may end the candy potatoes, they started to sprout. I minimize off the ends and put them in a blue bowl of water, the place they seem like two tiny islands in a lake.
The vines develop upright on the hills like minuscule timber with purple trunks. The darkish inexperienced leaves are outlined and veined in purple. White, virtually glowing, roots develop each day, branching and wrapping across the heels of the potatoes, like a self-weaving basket. We will get meals from vegetation — and vegetation from meals.
You’d love our little courtyard backyard within the canteen. It’s on the second flooring, so it’s each a courtyard — surrounded by partitions of home windows — and a rooftop backyard.
In mid-March, after I bought my bearings, I seen it — the stays of a uncared for mattress, rows of tattered cabbage heads by no means harvested, and a few sort of mustard greens bolted way back.
In April, the door was open, and a few kitchen employees have been ripping all of it out, tossing the greens right into a wheelbarrow.
A few weeks in the past, I seen a lady with a blue watering can. What was she watering? Seedlings of corn in excessive rows. Now it’s about eight inches tall. I will probably be on my manner house earlier than it’s knee excessive, and it will likely be harvested earlier than I come again.
I like my morning routine — a stroll throughout the flower quad to my workplace. The roses are fading, however the coreopsis is in full flower — wealthy, sunny flowers the colour of the yolks of our chickens’ eggs in summer season.
Typically I name Michael to indicate him our gardens, and generally he walks me across the yard at house. He’ll say, “Have a look at these pink flowers,” and level the cellphone. It’s like peering by a blurry two-inch periscope, however ultimately, the image will focus, and I’ll see he means the candy rocket — bouncing spires of delicate clusters of blossoms.
Or, “Have a look at these purple balls!” He means, after all, the allium, spherical clusters of maroon florets atop a stalk. Yesterday, he was attempting to indicate me the tadpoles with out dropping his cellphone within the pond, when right here comes Maude, the renegade turkey hen, to get a protracted drink.
I feel I informed you that she had disappeared, rising instantly every so often. I used to be satisfied she had a nest within the barn, however Michael had searched merely EVERYWHERE, so she couldn’t have, may she? It appeared she has simply gone rogue.
Nonetheless, I prevailed upon him to comply with her, simply casually, you perceive, so she wouldn’t be suspicious. And what do you suppose he discovered within the barn? A nest with 18 speckled eggs.
Because it’s her first season, they might not hatch. We don’t even know in the event that they’ve been fertilized, although every week in the past, a wild Tom got here calling, getting right into a duel with Marcel, our bronze Tom.
Michael bought a video of the 2 jousting, and Marcel got here out forward, hightailing it to the woods. We’ll wait to see what tomorrow brings, perhaps a parade of 18 turkey poults following their proud mom.
Wait in magnificence; hatch in peace; blessed be.
Mary Lucille Hays is visiting China. When you’re lacking your weekly dose of Birdland Letters in The Information-Gazette, you’ll be able to nonetheless learn them each week within the Piatt County Journal-Republican. Take into account subscribing to assist your small-town newspaper. You possibly can see photos about this week’s publish on Instagram (@BirdlandLetters). Mary may be reached at email@example.com or by way of snail mail care of the Journal-Republican, 118 E. Washington St., Monticello, IL 61856. She needs to thank her pals for writing and can reply you all quickly.