The Soupster hears about a woman whose quest to become a real Alaskan involves getting dirty.
Submitted by Lois Verbaan
Hunched over a large garden pot, examining the contents closely, Jo poked at the mixture of soil and peanut shells.
“Looking for something?” a voice called out from the sidewalk. It was the Soupster, out for his evening stroll.
“Hey, Soupster! I’m checking the moisture level,” Jo replied.
“Trying to grow peanuts?” the Soupster asked.
“Nope, the peanut shells were in the compost. Went through a peanut stage about 6 months ago…think I was depressed…sat at home eating peanuts night after night. What I’ve got growing here is lettuce babies and I’m trying to decide if they need to be watered. It’s hard to tell on a drizzly day. I mean, it looks damp, but it could just be surface moisture. I would hate to be responsible for either starving or drowning these little suckers. Given my track record, I’m probably not qualified to be their mom. No offence, babies,” Jo said, directing her attention to the pots. “I actually wanted kale, but being the end of summer, it was already sold out.”
“Yeah, kale is the way to go in Our Town,” the Soupster agreed, “unless you’ve got some fancy greenhouse thing going on or a guaranteed slug-free garden.”
“So, Soupster, I hope you like lettuce, because in 45-60 days, generous donations will be coming your way,” Jo chuckled, scanning her 6 pots of soil.
“How about making lettuce sauerkraut?” the Soupster suggested.
“Funny you should say that, Soupster. I’ve just done a canning and pickling course and we actually learned to make sauerkraut!” Jo said. “In fact, there’s a jar of it fermenting in my laundry as we speak, nestled between 4 crock pots, a pair of winter boots and several kayak spray skirts. Fermented cabbage is supposed to be super good for you… something about gut health affecting brain function via the vagus nerve,” she mumbled.
The Soupster raised his eyebrows. “So, you decided to branch out and try something other than hiking and bike riding?” he said, feigning shock.
“Yes, Soupster, precisely. I’ve got to be more well rounded if I’m going to be a real Alaskan. Well, to be fair, I have crossed some things off the list” Jo announced. “I’ve made jam, cut black cod collars, owned three pairs of Xtratufs, done a few off-trail mountain hikes and kayaked to the Lighthouse. So really, all that’s left now is to find a second-hand fish tote to use as a hot tub, learn how to can salmon and wait for my lettuce babies to be born.”
“At this rate, you’ll be a Sourdough in no time,” the Soupster laughed. The sky had darkened and it was starting to rain. “You can probably quit your soil moisture check now, and I’d better get going. And, by the way, congratulations on the babies, hope their birth goes well and see you in six weeks with some salad dressing!” He winked.
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