Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tracheotomies and pulled up mint

We've finally got around to our garden, a little less ambitious this year: lettuce, onions and various herbs. Also, we have been cultivating the volunteer mint in our garden for the 2 years we've had a garden, with a view to mint drinks and mint preserves (we made pesto using oregano, mint and chili instead of the usual basil - it was divine. The magic ingredient was lemon juice, to taste. We have it on toast). Proud and excited about our crop of mint this year, we started making more plans for it (mint syrup! mint tea!), only to catch our rather unobservant downstairs neighbour pulling them out. Definitely an odd duck: she claimed that we'd told her that that was where the sunny part was (for her tomatoes) despite the fact that she was digging in the shadiest part of our garden. It turned out that she intended to plant her onions there. Ryan then pointed out some volunteer tomato plants that were growing where we had planted tomatoes last year and asked her to avoid them. She promptly trampled them as she trundled over to plant her tomato plants. I think she is new to gardening (as am I!). Ryan replanted the mint she pulled out - most of it is seeming to recover, so not a huge tragedy. 

We are going to buy some more plants this weekend at the farmer's market: a stevia plant and some more exotic greens.Currently, we have two mixed salad greens patches, designed to be harvested regularly for fresh salads.  I even found a cardamom plant for sale at the market but couldn't fit it onto my bicycle (our recent routine has been to wake up on Saturdays, eat a leisurely breakfast and then bike to the farmer's market and food co-op for vegetables (market), cheese and locally produced butter and yoghurt. With the exception of dried beans and grains, we are done shopping for the week.) The cardomom plant was in a little stall full of interesting plants and as I was exclaiming about finding cardomom, a hand gripped my upper left arm and someone whispered something in my ear. I turned and saw a white bearded, jolly faced man standing next to me, who repeated his whisper: 

"Can I help you?". 

I replied, 
"No thanks, I was just excited by your cardamom plant." 

Ryan stepped forward and asked him about wintering the plant, 
"Surely you can't keep it outside during the winter...?"

The man leaned forward to answer and I noticed he had a large white gauze patch taped to his throat, but the medical tape was coming loose on the side closest to me, revealing a gaping, dark hole at the base of his neck that had a sort of orangey yellow crust around the edges. 

"No, you bring it in, in the winter." He whispered back.

Ryan said, "It's a pity about your voice." and I cringed. 

"That's life." 

As we walked away, I asked Ryan if he knew why the man was whispering. He shook his head and I said, 

"He'd just had a tracheotomy."

Ryan had apparently thought the man was suffering from laryngitis. 

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