Life rarely falls nicely into place for me. The dinner I meticulously cook is shunned by at least two boys; my morning tea is cold by the time I have time to drink it; and the toilet seat is usually wet. This is why it is so difficult for me to express the great pleasure I feel when I arrive at the lake, and see that the Bean Fort it is miraculously thriving; despite our absences, the deer, the rabbits, the slugs and are inability to water the fort like we should. Still, this fort, which has taken me 10 years of failed attempts, is thriving.
Those little Jack-in-the-Beanstalk tendrils that reach out and grab the junkyard poles captivate my heart. The black plastic has efficiently eliminated the need to weed, although I did tear out some baby weeds last week that were growing along the edges. The sandy soil has stayed moist; thanks to the plastic.
The plants, that started from this big fat seed, are now stretching to 6 feet, expertly winding themselves around the bamboo poles. Many plants were running out of places to twine, and had already started the journey back down the pole.
I spent an hour or so in my fort admiring their delicate tendrils, while I worked to add string from the current poles to give them more places to reach, stretch and grow. One vigorous bean ran out of “pole” and was climbing back down again. I tied string to the top of the pole, and connected it to the one directly opposite; to create a “roof”.
A storm knock down a pine tree (yet, remarkably, my fort was unscathed!), giving me a new source of “poles.” I dug three more holes along the perimeter of the fort for these new “poles,” which added a bit more of that “enclosure” feeling within the inside of the fort. They kind of give the fort that “petrified forest” look, a neighbor commented.
And, some extra height. A bonus. Insects, so far, have only attacked on plant. The offender left holes all along the leaf, turning it into a shadow of green lace.
I know from my 10 years of failure, that these holes could be the kiss of death for the entire fort. I briefly entertained the idea of using some kind of insecticide, but wisely decided against it. I scratched my head and thought, “what would Mr. Green Jeans do?”
Mr. Green Jeans was the beloved farmer from my favorite childhood show, Lucy’s Toy Shop. Then, relying on my solutions from Hot Pepper, Toilet Paper Tubes and Irish Spring, I remembered the chive plants planted by the back road. Using a shovel, I dug both up, and planted them strategically around the fort. (Hot Pepper Wax has been difficult to track down this year.) We’ll just have to wait and see if it works.
I know it’s a wild chance, putting all my dreams in one place; in a few simple seeds that could easily be destroyed by the force of nature. With parenting, it’s hard to know if what you’re doing today is helping. We won’t know for decades the impact of our parenting choices. But with plants; you see results in a week. Instant gratification is something that’s seldom seen in the important parts of life.