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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Today... I am befuddled and frustrated but not defeated

On my wanderings in search of meaning of life and green plants on Sunday, August 12, 2012


The porch garden is beginning to look thin as we are drawing toward the end of summer. Not that I am complaining, mind you, we've had a great run. The salad plants ran wild for almost three months. One of the two tomato plants is still bearing fruit. Both kinds of basil are still growing like crazy, especially the spicy Italian basil. However, I am missing mint, thyme and oregano, and the chives are looking on their last breath - so need to get more.

Off I go to Lowe's to get a fresh herb and salad supply. Nothing. Say what?! Look, I understand that people only plant the big stuff in the spring and in the fall. But these are herbs and greens, for Pete's sake! ...Things you can grow on your balcony or kitchen counter. How can you not have them year-round? Don't people eat year-round?

They do eat. And, judging by the appearance of some of them, they eat very well. They just don't grow what they eat. Or they try and become frustrated and go back to buying stuff from the store.

Ok, maybe it's just Lowe's. Maybe they just don't get it. No. It's not just Lowe's. Home Depot - nothing. Any of the discount stores with gardening departments - nothing. While in the parking lot of one of the stores, I pull up VZ Navigator and look up plant nurseries in the vicinity. I find two. I drive over. They are closed. Oh, that's right - small business, Sunday, Bible belt... Silly me.

I am getting ready to stomp my feet and throw things - why is it so difficult to find live plants of herbs and salad greens in this town? I swing by the grocery store, because I vaguely recall having seen live plants there. I am looking, I am looking, nothing much except the nearly dead basil (all the more ironic, since the label says, "Living basil plants".) But I have basil. Sorry, guys!

I catch the scent and the "I-am-over-here-fighting-for-survival" vibe at the same time. In the depths of the shelves with hothouse flowers I finally find something I can work with. Mint. Badly kept, badly packaged, but alive and smelling delicious. Oh, my dear little survivor, you are coming with me! I grab both mint plants, thyme, parsley, and thyme. After three hours of searching, we finally have a start.

I still don't have the greens. Fine. I am the Lych Mistress, I shall not be defeated, I'll do it the hard way. So, I go back to Lowe's and get the seed packets for the rest of my plant list. ...And a few plants for the slope garden. ...And a bag of water control soil.

Why is it that when you have a paint brush and a roll of masking tape, the person at the checkout always asks, "Do you need help getting this to the car?" But when you have a 70-pound bag of soil and a sore bag, there is nary a knight in shining armor in sight. I think they are all hiding behind the plant stands making bets as to whether one 5-foot tall woman can hoist one 70-pound bag into her car.

We go home - the plants and I, concluding a nearly four-hour search. It is now late afternoon and we still have to get everyone into their respective containers or into the ground. Onward and upward.

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