Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I has a pea pod

The container garden is creeping along. My pea plant has produced one pea so far. When it became apparent that the pod was not going to get any bigger, I plucked it from the vine, popped it open, and ate the one pea inside. All that work, all that time spent mulling over it, and it took me 10 seconds to eat its fruit. But oh, it was good - as fresh as it gets, and extra tasty because I grew it from one dry pea to a 14-inch vine in a clay pot in my bedroom window. Actually, I find it a little funny that it went into the soil as a pea, which grew into a plant, and produced another pea, this one edible. And now there are two more pods growing, likely helped along by the stinky organic fertilizer I gave it. Hopefully each pod will grow more than one pea. In the meantime, I will have to enjoy the bounty of sugar snap peas from the farmers market - little gifts from heaven. There is just nothing quite like a handful of fresh sugar snaps. Oh, if only the season were longer...

We have some other harvestables in the windowsill garden as well. The parsley is growing strong, the basil has sprouted but hasn't gotten much taller and the cat grass is tall and half-chewed by the cat. The zucchini plants have exploded out of the container and many flowers have bloomed, but as the seed packet warned, the first flowers are usually male and produce no fruit. Fingers crossed that we get some girls in that pot soon. The pepper plants have finally started to grow taller - I think they like it hot - but no sign of fruit anytime soon. Maybe in the next month. So, no feast for me this year, but this was just the beginning of my experiment. Knowing I can grow a pea pod in my window sill gives me hope for acres full of peas in future residences, and perhaps this season I can eke out a couple of meals worth of zucchini, basil, peppers, and parsley. If nothing else, this endeavour has reminded me of just how amazing nature is, that we can put some seeds into some dirt and grow something that will nourish our bodies and souls.

Le Tour

It's Tour de France time again. I've been watching the race at work in the background, and I'm a little torn because I'm cheering on team Garmin Slipstream, and yet despite all attempts to the contrary, I can't help but cheer on Lance Armstrong's comeback on team Astana. I didn't want him to do well. I wanted him to let the young guys take on the tour, a passing of the torch. I was slightly smug about his 10th place overall standings through the troisieme etage - still a good showing, all things considered, but still behind some of the Garmin upstarts. In today's team time trial, a challenge that doesn't appear every year in the Tour de France, Garmin took the lead, losing two racers early on but eventually clocking in with the fastest time, with two other teams to go. All this despite Phil Liggett's assertion that they surely couldn't keep up the pace and finish with the fastest time with only 5 of their 7 racers (I think this has to do with both some laws of physics and a team player mentality - I'm still learning about racing strategy and such). At the first checkpoint, Astana and Garmin had the same time, but Astana was really booking it because a fast final time would mean that Lance could take the maillot jaune (yellow jersey the stage winners wear) from previous stage winner Fabian Cancellara on team Saxo Bank. Astana had to finish at least 41 seconds faster than Saxo Bank in order for Lance to take the jersey. In the end, Astana finished ahead of Garmin Slipstream (rats!) but only 40 seconds exactly ahead of Saxo Bank. I wanted to send an "in your face" to Lance, but in the end, I admit I'm a little disappointed for him. He's an amazing athlete, no doubt about it, for a 37-year-old or otherwise. If he does well in this race, maybe he'll call it quits for good (at least as far as the Tour is concerned), and focus his efforts on raising money for cancer awareness and spending time with his family. And as for Garmin, I was worried about Lance stealing the spotlight, but after their strong second place showing today, the press won't be forgetting about them anytime soon. Ride on, boys. Ride on.