This is a story about eggplant and patience.
As some of you have probably already ascertained, when I’m not making things, I’m in the garden, trying to make things grow. Here in North Texas, gardening is almost a competitive sport, with the obstacles of heat, minimal rain (often compounded by water restrictions imposed by city governments), and ridiculous infestations of annoying pests adding to the joy of the occasional victory. I swear, only masochists garden here. It’s brutal.
Anyway, I take great joy in growing things I can eat. Every year, I over plant tomatoes, which are fairly easy to grow here, and seriously way better than those mealy red things you buy in the grocery store. I keep trying to grow cucumbers, but they don’t like the heat, so I usually only end up with a few mean, bitter cukes for my trouble. I love squash, but this year, they were a bust, thanks to the bumper crop of squash vine borers, which seem to have hit every garden in this area hard. Yes, I’m rambling—I could talk about vegetable gardening all day long, and I do talk about it at least once a month, on this blog dedicated to my garden.
So, last year, I planted Ichiban eggplant from large transplants I found at my favorite veggie gardening nursery. Those are the small, skinny eggplants that grow fast. They were fun and tasty, so I decided this spring to add full sized eggplant to my garden. In April, I planted teeny tiny seeds for Black Beauty eggplant. And then I watered, weeded and waited. And waited. And waited…
Did I mention eggplant has a really long growing season? Yeah. The package says 120 days from seed to fruit. So, all through May, and June, and July, I watched the plants get bigger and fuller, and produce a ridiculous number of lovely lavender flowers—which did nothing. It was starting to look like I was growing small ornamental trees.
And then, about a week ago, I noticed three of the tree sized eggplant bushes were hanging low—and sure enough, there were three dark, round eggplants hidden in the leafy jungle. I started Googling recipes.
All three Black Beauties were harvested on Wednesday, and they were so damned pretty, I had to photograph them. I took the photo above in crappy lighting, kind of on the fly, but when I plunked it into PhotoShop, and tweaked a few settings, it turned into something quite lovely. I posted it on Facebook, to Neil Sperry’s fan page, so I could brag to fellow local garden enthusiasts—and Neil asked if he could swap me a subscription to his magazine for a high-res copy. This made me squeal like a little girl, because I seriously suck as a photographer. Having someone who sees hundreds of gorgeous gardening photos as for a copy of one of mine was like hearing angels sing.
Meanwhile, in my non-gardening life, Patti’s book in my design team’s Bind Your Own Book round robin had been sitting on my desk for a while. I was a little intimidated by it, because it’s so—small. It’s barely 4″ tall, and the pages are sort of ATC sized. It’s a sweet little book, and already filled with some lovely work. Mostly journaling, which is not my strong suit. And hand written, which is bad for me, because I so loathe my own handwriting that I have amassed an enormous collection of letter stamps so I don’t have to look at it. Also, the book’s theme is Everyday Miracles, and I’m not the most spiritual girl on the block. So, small, journaled by hand and kinda thankful. I spent a few weeks thinking I’m kinda screwed on this book.
Then, I got over it.
I don’t journal, but I do love to do very personal layouts about what I’m thinking. They just have a lot fewer words in them, and they’re stamped instead of written by hand. And although I’m not very comfortable discussing spiritual things, I do regularly have moments in my life that make me say “oh, cool” out loud. Like growing enormous eggplants from teeny tiny seeds, or taking a decent photograph after years of shooting nothing but crap. I focused on those. As for small-sized layouts, well, I just had to get down to the essence of what I wanted to say. My work in this book looks nothing like what Patti and Corinne did before me, but so far, I’m happy with what I’ve done. (More of it is posted here.)
Elsewhere on the ‘net, someone posted a link somewhere to SendSomething.net, which I reposted at Go Make Something. SendSomething is sort of a random mail art site, where you sign up, grab an address, and just like the name says, send something. I miss getting weird postcards mixed in with my bills, so I decided to get back into random postcard mailing. I used to do this at PostcardX, and then at PostCrossing, and for a while I did random mailings to people on Alterations. I like designing weird postcards and sending them through the mail. There’s something really odd about sending your bare artwork out with just a stamp on its backside.
So, I turned my lovely eggplant trio into a late summer postcard, and sent four of them out yesterday. One to a longtime mail art friend who hit me with mail already, and the other three to folks who listed themselves as vegan and/or gardeners, because I though they’d appreciate the joy of growing, photographing, and then cooking and eating them.
They were delicious.