Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Gardens and Neighbors

I'm nervous about the kids next door.

They're really quite nice little boys, ages 6 and 4. With all the changes in our backyard this year, they were curious. Gary, being neighborly and kind, showed them what's been planted. They responded with "Ooooooh, strawberries! I love strawberries!" and "Oooooh, good! I like grapes!" I began to wonder if they are thinking that these plants are available to whomever.

When I was planting the apple trees last week, they came over to see the excitement. "What are these?" I told them they were apple trees. "Oh, good! I love apples!" I quickly responded that these apples were for MY family, that I would be making applesauce with them, that they would be lunches for my children. I feel so mean and selfish and greedy saying, "No, no, keep your hands off. Those are MINE." And yet, their mommy goes to work and earns money, and my kids don't expect to get their hands on part of her income. There is no more reason for the neighbor kids to get their hands on the fruit of my stay-at-home labors.

The kids saw some of the little green apples that had fallen off the tree. They wanted to know if they could pick up the ones off the ground. I told them yes, but that they ought not eat them -- they're not ripe and the boys would get a tummy ache. They kept asking, and I kept reiterating, "You really don't want to bite those!"

Then they saw the cherry tree, bright and colorful. "Oooooooh! What's on that tree?" I told them it was cherries, but they were MY cherries. "Can't we have some?" NO! Those are MY cherries. I am picking them and canning them so we will have them to eat. I told them their mommy buys food for them, and this is part of what I do to give food to MY children. "But can't we have just ONE?" I finally decided to let them have one each. But I did not let them pick a cherry. I told them I get them a ripe one. I made a big production of getting the ladder, climbing it, hmmm-ing over which one would be ripe and have no bugs, and then chose two cherries from high in the tree. I handed them to the boys. I told them to remember the pit and not hurt their teeth. They bit the edge. And ....

"YUCK! These are TERRIBLE!"

Oh my goodness. I'd forgotten. These are sour cherries, not the sweet Bing cherries the kids would know from the store.

Whoa! That was a lucky move. They wanted apples that I impressed upon them would give them a tummy ache. And they wanted cherries that they hated the taste of. This may bear fruit for me.

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