Sunday, May 20, 2012


So, we still don't know who gave us the tree, although there was an interesting development today. The neighbor we most suspected (because he posts paper signs in his yard warning people to pick up after their pets), strolled by with his dogs this evening and R mentioned that someone had given us the tree. The neighbor seemed confused, and remarked, "Oh, like an anonymous gift? Trees aren't really my thing." Then he walked away…suspiciously! (Roland says it was not a suspicious walk, but rather the cold & distant gait of a semi-stranger who's just been accused of gifting someone a tree).

R took this whole interaction as proof that this neighbor did not give us the tree, while I'm more convinced than ever that he did.
  1. He suggested it was an anonymous gift. Which it was.
  2. He carries around plastic bags & twistie ties (dog owner)
  3. He's got a penchant for paper signs.
The only problem with my theory is that he's not our direct neighbor -- he can't see our front yard from his house. I suppose it's still possible that it's someone else, but I'm not counting this guy out.
In other outdoor news, we got a huge radish yield from our backyard garden this weekend. We chose radishes because they take only 21 days from seed to harvest, but the problem is that 21 days after we planted them, we had a 10lb bag of spicy, bitter radishes. We tried sautéing them with onions and butter, but they just weren't as fun to eat as they were to grow.
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So, what to do with a bunch of radishes? Feed them to Roland's sister's chickens, of course!

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They seemed skeptical and frightened at first (Roland says chickens are always skeptical and frightened by everything), but eventually they pecked away at the greens. R is confident that if one of them decides that the radishes are safe, the rest will follow suit.

This morning we bought some okra seeds to replace the now-empty radish rows in our garden, which is fine. I never had or saw okra before moving to Texas, but it's tastier than it looks. Still, the one plant that I'm really counting on in that back bed?



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thanks for the tree, jerk.

Last weekend, we woke up late to the sound of a cat meowing frantically outside. Thinking I'd finally have a cat that I could adopt and call my own, I threw open the front door only to find…this:


An oak tree? Did a cat spirit really leave this for us? We looked around but no one (and no cat) was to be found. Okay, so someone left us a tree. What were we supposed to do with it? Roland had just planted a baby oak in our front yard a few weeks prior, and we were kind of looking forward to watching it grow over the next 100 years.


Still, the prospect of replacing it with a tree 4x as big was mighty tempting. And we couldn't very well anger the cat gods by ignoring it. So, Roland uprooted our baby tree and replaced it with our front porch gift (at least, we think it was a gift. If someone put that tree there for safekeeping that was a bad idea). After planting the new tree, Roland went inside to put away his tools. He was gone for less than 5 minutes before heading back out to finish cleaning up. Less than 5 minutes. When he came back outside he was greeted with this:


Someone must have waited for the very second that Roland turned around and then ran up to stake our tree. Not only did they drive the stake in the dirt, but they meticulously secured a twistie-tie around it before they vanished by the time Roland appeared back at the door. There was no one even around. What are the chances that the person who gave this tree to us was walking by holding a stake and twistie-tie at the exact moment Roland went inside after planting? The chances are not good. We were kind of creeped out -- was someone watching us from their window? We don't know any of our neighbors. But, whatever. We diligently watered it every day even though it started to dwindle because our benefactor had pulled it up by its roots (rather than dig it up) before giving it to us.

Flash forward to this afternoon. I get home from work and go outside to check the mail. What do I see?


A note, fastened to our sad little oak tree, chiding us for not watering it (even though we did). This really was a magical tree. Not only could it meow to get our attention, it was now sad at us for what it misinterpreted as neglect. And why not guilt us about the state of our lawn with SEVEN exclamation points while it was at it?

I thought about calling Roland to see if I could go ahead and uproot it in angry rebellion, but decided against it. When he got home he found the note and yelled into the wind, "I did water it! There are no roots!" (We're pretty sure our mystery "benefactor" is tapped into the wind and heard him.)

Thanks for minding our business, neighbor! Here is a tip: if you leave someone a gift on their front porch (like a tree), it is theirs to do with as they please. It does not make you overlord of their yard. Thanks.