Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Prairie Grl vs Prairie Dad

Prairie Dad uses the large prop technique
to make himself look like a Keebler Elf. 
Every Spring my dad and I start our "Who Has the Most Awesome Yard" gardening competition.  I start out strong.  (My strong start is due solely to living farther south than my dad.)  I plant containers of  pansies in late April and artfully arrange them around my front door.  I even add this folksy Tin Man made of soup and cat food cans.  Then I leave my dad a message:  "I'm winning!  I have seven pots of pansies planted and you still have snow!  HA!"  

(This thing is scarier than a clown.  Someday
Mr. Tinman is going to meet Mr. Recycle
Bin.  Oops, Eydie, I have no idea where
your little tin friend went.)

I feel smug for about three weeks, or the amount of time it takes for the snow to melt around dad's house.  (My parents are the only people I know who UP-sized after their kids moved out.  Dad wanted a bigger yard and my mom wanted to buy more teapots. ) 

Then Dad kicks it into gear.  He works steadily all day long.  (did I mention he is retired?)  Mixing potting soil.  Choosing vibrant annuals at greenhouses around the state.  Fertilizing.  Watering with mad abandon.  All this takes place while I am at school dealing with kids who think summer vacation started March 15. I get daily updates from Dad on how many pots he has planted.  44 pots, 73 pots, 121 pots.  I stop answering his calls.  I feel defeated, and my pansies are already starting to look straggly.

Dad then enters the next phase of the competition.  Emailing me photos of his obnoxious gardening successes.  The photo below was titled "Plover Man Broke Record for Growing Biggest Astilbe EVER!"  Meanwhile, my sad astilbe hadn't even reached my ankles.  I tell Dad I'm obviously growing dwarf astilbe and they are supposed to be petite.  He also emailed me photos of his huge hydrangea blooms, but I think I deleted them.  Oopsie .


(I had no idea what an astilbe was
either.  I'm still not sure.  Do you eat it
or smoke it? Is it legal?)

Fast forward.  I was at my parent's house over the weekend.  My dad was giving me the extended garden tour despite my sour disposition.  The dazzling daisies.  The impressive impatiens.  The handsome hostas. (Such insipid alliteration...)  I had obviously lost the competition again.  BUT WAIT!  WHAT WAS THAT??!?  Perched on one of his decks were two very, very sad tomato plants.

"Ah, my sweet little tomatoes, grow big and
strong for your dear old dad."

(Yikes, these are a bit pathetic. Eydie
made fun of my tomato plants all summer.
Mine look gigantic next to these.)

Woot!  Woot!  I happen to have the most fabulous tomato plants that I grew lovingly from seeds.  My dad bought his tomato plants from Aldi's (gasp) or Wal-Mart (GASP).  I had offered him some of the precious tomato seedlings I had grown in Keurig cups (Yes folks, that is what you do with those little bits of plastic waste.).  But dad said that he couldn't waste his time with my little plants.  The growing season is too short.  He needed larger and hardier transplants.  My question to dad is "Who is eating BLTs now?  Huh?" (Eydie is not eating BLTs.  She has eaten so many tomatoes since she started the tomato sorting gig that her mouth is a mass of canker sores, and she has sworn off tomatoes for the rest of the season.  She thought she was dying of some strange disease until I pointed out that man and womenkind were not meant to down three pints of cherry tomatoes and two giant Big Boys in a single 24 hour period.  Remember my discussion with dear Eydie about self-control?)

(And now Eydie is teaching her sweet
daughter, Lulu, to exaggerate.  Mommy's
 tomatoes are not that big.  Lulu, you
know it, I know it, and your mom
knows it.)

So I lost 98% of the challenge.  That is okay because I now know his weak spot.  Tomatoes!  Yep.  I am already planning my garden for next year. 

Prairie Eydie
The gauntlet is thrown down for next year's




  1. Love the last picture of you and your Dad!

  2. Thanks Jen!!! I can't believe how cooperative my dad was with the whole photo session. ;-)