"What do you think?"
"That you could hide in a strawberry patch? If there were any strawberries ripening yet, that is. Very nice, actually. Match your fingernails as it happens."
"Gee imagine the odds. What'cha starting in the pots?"
Farm Girl could put two and two together, generally without much help.
"Let me guess", she said, "E is for endive!"
"No, Painted Hussy! E is for this!"
Uncle M plucked a seed packet from the table and flipped it at the Painted Hussy. The packet danced and fluttered, rode the thermals and came to rest like a file in a folder in Farm Girls' ample cleavage.
|SEEMS AMPLE ENOUGH|
"How do you do that every single time? You never miss!"
Uncle Mac made a few flicking motions with his right paw.
"Supple wrist", he nodded at Farm Girl, "big target. Years of practice."
"I see. How is it that no one has ever seen you practice?"
"Because, and I would think this would be obvious, I don't practice here."
Farm Girl dug deep and retrieved the packet.
"Ahah! Eggplant. Not a bad choice for a man in his dotage. And Rose Biancas from Sustainable Seeds! These will go nicely with the black beauties and caspers I started last month."
"You really should have started these already you know. We have barely 3 weeks before the all-clear for possible frost."
"No it will be ok," Uncle M assured her, "They are ready in 81 one days from germination. I'll force start them in a southern window under plastic and we'll put them in about May 15. Plenty of time."
"I really like Rose Biancas," said Mac, "they are huge, round and meaty,"
Here, he made the universal gesture of a man balancing two bowling balls in the palms of his hands, "sweet and yet firm. In fact, my dear they remind me of..."
"Watch, it, Hair Face, you're on thin ice as it is. Let's see what it says on the packet."
"Start transplants 8 to 10 weeks before setting out, which can be done 2 to 3 weeks after the final frost. Um, you're right, we're fudging standard operating procedure but it should work out. PH between 5.5 and 6.8, not a particular plant is it? ...average soil...seeds 1/2" deep...full sun...particular attention to watering once flowering begins...sounds simple enough.
"Leatherface will be cooking eggplant Farmer John like nobodies business!"
"With real farmers!", observed Uncle Mac, "and that really isn't any ones business. I hope it's better than that eggplant Building Inspector he fixed a few years back. That was a little rough."
At that moment Vida G. wafted in, looking unusually perky.
"What's the good word?" she inquired.
"Eggplant." replied Farm Girl and Uncle M as one.
"Ahah! Eggplant, funny thing I was just reading 'The lives and times of famous eggplants' and it seems the eggplant, known to science as Solanum melongena esculentium or the aubergine was first cultivated in India about 5000 years ago. The early varieties were white and egg sized, hence the name."
"Eggplant known in Europe nearly 2000 back but were considered to cause insanity because knuckleheads would sometimes eat the leaves and stalks. Eggplant being in the nightshade family this often ended badly. In fact, folks of European ancestry have only recently begun widespread consumption of eggplant for that very reason. Tomatoes had a similar bad rap from the very same misuse of the greenery."
"A mighty fountain of aubergine knowledge is our Vida", observed Farm Girl, "tell us, did your research reveal if eggplant have any special nutritive values?"
"Funny you should ask, FG. Eggplant contain really useful amounts of fiber, manganese, molybdenum, potassium and folate. Numerous other vitamins and minerals are present in lesser quantities. What is really exciting is that eggplant are literally stuffed with an antioxidant called nasunin which is especially beneficial in protecting brain cell membranes! And who want's their brain 'branes left undefended? Not me!"
"And there is more! Eggplant contain buckets full* of chlorogenic acid, some of the benefits of which are its anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-LDL (or bad cholesterol), and antiviral activities. I am lovin' me some eggplant!"
"Geeze who knew?" said Uncle Mac.
"And", continued Vida, "it is reputed to be an aphrodisiac!"
"Very uplifting, Vida, thank you! And now folks, you know why E is for eggplant!"
*Perhaps not actual buckets full. Vida G is waxing a mite euphoric here.