This vegetable farmer has spent a lot of time weeding this summer, and a fair amount of time writing about weeding. Now I've outdone myself, by writing while weeding, or perhaps weeding while writing. Not long ago, on a hot dry day, as I weeded carrots for several hours, I made up several poems in my head.
Now, these were not serious poems. In fact, they were quite silly, especially since they were limericks, and especially since they were limericks about a certain carrot we had harvested the day before.
We've had odd carrots before, with two roots and legs, or carrots bent at 90 degree angles, exactly as if they were sitting in a chair, or two carrots twined around each other, or twins joined together at the carrot hip. But never had we an eight-rooted, eight-legged carrot as we had this year. They were short little legs, on a very wide carrot, and inspired me no end, particularly since I knew that the Guilford Vermont Fair was coming right up.
The Guilford Fair is a wonderful small old-fashioned country fair, with a horse show and a cattle show, sheep-shearing and vegetable and food and craft exhibits, along with live music and other attractions (such as cotton candy, and caramel apples). We entered vegetables and fruit and flowers this year, and we happily collected 15 blue, 4 red, and 6 yellow ribbons.
We were especially pleased with the blue ribbon on our giant heirloom tomato, weighing two and a half pounds, and in beautiful condition. We also had a blue on our three peaches, thanks to an unexpected peach yield from the tree on our lawn (well, it's really a pasture for our three workhorses, but it used to be a lawn). I picked through dozens of peaches for the perfect trio, and clearly the judges were as impressed as we were.
Another blue came from a miniature flower arrangement, not more than four inches in any direction. This was a little-bitty bucket from my collection of dollhouse furnishings, filled with the tiniest of wildflowers: a pink star-like bloom, a minute “daisy” (from our vigorous weed hairy galinsoga, or hairy gorgonzola, as we call it – which is another story, and one I believe I have told here before!), and the little yellow blooms of sourgrass. Oh, gee, it was cuter than you can imagine, and I had a fine time arranging it, and a fine time knowing that my farmer-fellow was, at the very same moment, at the Farmers' Market, upholding the productive, money-earning end of the farm.
But the crowning glory was, of course, my entry into the Richard J. Blazej Humorous Vegetable Contest. A humorous vegetable would, of course, be a vegetable who tells jokes, and I've had some good comedian-vegetables over the years.
This year my humorous vegetable was the eight-rooted, eight-legged carrot, and here follows those riotously funny limericks:
The Humorous Carrot Recites Limericks
There once was a carrot so odd
It grew a most marvellous bod.
One root wouldn't suffice,
But eight were quite nice,
And delighted the Great Carrot God.
There once was a carrot of choler
Who announced in an angry holler,
“I have to be me!
Unique will I be!”
And didn't earn the farmers a dollar.
The Humorous Carrot Can't Stop
The carrot had a very strong hunch
It could gow itself into a bunch,
Then go the the fair
Where folks gasp and stare,
And the farmers wouldn't eat it for lunch.
There once was a carrot with a curse
Of growing roots and reciting verse.
“All of this must cease,”
the carrot begged, “Please!
Because these rhymes go from bad to worse!”
Yes, the Humorous Carrot earned a blue ribbon. (And not only that, the Vermont fairs are so generous in their cash awards that we earned nearly $100 for our entries! What a productive, limerick-writing, mini-flower arranging, money-earning farmer am I!)
Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News, Sept 25 - Oct 1, 2019