By posting these photos, I stand in minor danger of turning this blog from a gardening blog into a dog blog, but I couldn't resist sharing these new pictures of Bella. Mrs. ProfessorRoush took them with her iPad after she returned from helping me pick these strawberries, and slightly blurry as they may be, I thought they were adorable. Look at those beagle-hungry eyes. I think Bella would like a strawberry, don't you?
To deflect any criticism about yet another post reflecting the intense love between a gardener and his faithful companion, we will feebly pretend instead that this blog entry is about my triumph over the fickle scarlet-skinned god of the strawberry patch. Because, really, that's what it is, a bragging post unmitigated by any trace of self-restraint, even while I know deep down that I'm depleting my gardening karma account and probably will soon be punished by a June freeze for my impudence.
NEWS FLASH: I HAVE HARVESTED HOME-GROWN STRAWBERRIES IN KANSAS!
Devoted readers of this blog know of my deep, life-long love for strawberries. You've endured my epic, all-out campaign to get a strawberry patch through the August heat and drought, the bitter winters, and the late spring freezes that define Kansas gardening. You have suffered through my purchase and erection of a shade house and my defensive measures and counterattacks against marauding deer. You have bravely endured the whimpers and the whining and the woeful wailing against the cruelties of nature and the Kansas Flint Hills. I have successfully spared you (till now) my agony during the past 3 weeks of cold, March-like temperatures and rains that have conspired to prolong ripening and increase rotting.
ProfessorRoush can publicly declare now that it has all been worth it, every drop of sweat, every aching muscle, every curse muttered in the general direction of the unsympathetic earth. Mrs. ProfessorRoush, Bella, and I harvested 2 or 3 quarts of sweet strawberries over the last week or so, and last night we filled this bowl with another 4 or 5 quarts. I'm sure there will be a few more quarts to come over the next week. Not a grand harvest, but they exist and they made it to the reddened finish line. And I accomplished it all through perseverance, labor, and sheer determination, not to mention the wad of cash I bestowed on the shade house manufacturer. I refuse to calculate what a $1000 or so total divided by 10-15 quarts of strawberries works out to be on a per quart basis. Not including, of course, my time and emotional trauma.
Whatever. These are my strawberries, and, as Bella's twitching nose confirms, they are sweet and they are ripe and mouth-watering. For one season, for one year, I have grown strawberries!