Sunday, May 17, 2015

It's May in Indy and you know what that means...

It means it's time to plant the Angie's List garden!  Oh, and if you're extremely lucky or you devote your life to Indy car racing, there're a few activities out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway you can go to.

I'm extremely lucky. Not only am I a charter member of the Angie's List Garden Club, I work for Angie's List and got to go along on a quarterly reward trip to IMS.

The trip was for Fast Friday, and it was a super fun day. It was more fun for me because I was with some folks who were really fun to hang out with. One of them made the mistake of saying it might be fun to get a photo with a driver.

That driver happened to be Gabby Chaves, who Angie's List had sponsored in the Grand Prix. So iit was nothing to me to ask a staffer there to go ask him to come out. That's what staffers do. And of course he came out.

Never mind that it was also bike to work day and I looked just like I'd biked to work. 

Regardless of the fact that I was a sweaty mess, were were set us on a course of me asking for photos from celebrities who were strolling around the garages at the Speedway or doing their day jobs inside their garages. At one point, we had a group of Indianapolis Colts rookies going by. I got two to stop, not knowing who they were. Thankfully, I had Jared Hay around to both alert me to folks to bother and then tell me who they were.

Turns out one of the Colts players is our No. 1 draft pick. It was super fun and all of the celebrities were so nice.  

It was a fun day. It had started out great, too, with me picking up my friend Lori Kaplan who pointed out a rainbow on the way down. Friends from work stopped, too, and we almost made it to work before the rain started.

As I biked home, I took one more look at the Angie's List Garden, hoping some magic had happened and the weed fairies had been by. Turns out they'd spent the day at the track, too, and the beds were still full of weeds less than 24 hours before planting day. It looked almost tropical.

I hadn't planned well when I set an appointment for Ali and me to get our hair cut Saturday morning. Not keeping that appointment would mean keeping my gray. So I made the supreme sacrifice to get up early to weed before the appointment.

Let's just say I'm really sorry I haven't kept up with my upper body work-outs. About an hour after I'd been there working, Kelsey Taylor came by. She's not just our personal trainer and Fitness Director; she's the Chief Garden Gnome.  

She saw my pile of weeds, commented on my heroic efforts and said, "I'll bring you bags so we can bag those up."

I'm sure I was gracious when I declined to bag up the jungle I'd deforested. Hell. I may never pull another weed in my life. If I'd had matches I might have tried to burn them. My arms were barely able to move the steering wheel on my drive home. 

I'm glad I did it, though. I've never missed planting day since we planted that damn garden. So even though it was a stealth move and I starred in my own episode of The Lone Weeder, I'm glad I still got to contribute.

It's true that I grew up in the country and my grandparents, my dad and some of my sisters are/were huge gardeners, I didn't inherit their green thumb. My grandmother's garden was a thing of beauty stretching for what seemed like a mile perpendicular from the gravel road outside her house. She had flowers by the road, then strawberries, potatoes, melons, beans, corn, peppers, which we called mangoes for some reason. If it could grow in Indiana, it was out there. The garden ended behind the barn and chicken house and across from that was the orchard where my Grandpa had bees, apples, pears and peach trees. There was even a grape arbor.

My dad's gardens were across our road and between he barn and chicken house. They and my sisters need  tractors to till the soil, their gardens are so big.

I concentrate on ground cover and flowers to cover the patches of moss that came with my house. I usually will have some containers for basil and oregano. Maybe peppers and tomatoes. But  I mostly rely on the work garden for vegetables.

People assume that because I grew up in the country, I know stuff about growing vegetation and I let them think that. I have such a great con going, my neighbor who was prepping his yard for the season asked me to come help him decide what were weeds and what were flowers.

I told him what I'd learned from a Greene County farmer once when doing a story for the paper about corn detassling. (I was a terrible detassler for Pioneer. I coudn't reach the tassles so I just walked through the corn all day. I should send them a check for the three days I endured that terrible summer job.)

"A weed," that farmer said, "is any plant that sprouts up in the wrong place. It could be an orchid or a soybean. But if it sprouts in a cornfield, it's a weed."

It's a very freeing philosophy when you're the Lone Weeder and you look back at your pile of greenery and gasp, wondering if some of that stuff was perennial and the Chief Garden Gnome is going to kick your ass for digging it up.

In my defense, I did stop ripping out the cilantro after it's lemony aroma nearly knocked me on my butt.
Plus, it WAS planting day. Ergo: the beds should have been emptied and anything in them was a weed. Right?  Right.

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