My Antonia(s)

Awhile ago I read this book called My Ántonia. As you may know, (depending on how throughly you read my blog), I am trying to be a "life long learner" by reading a ton of 20th century American classic literature.

And true to a lot of books that make my yearly reading list, I discovered this book randomly. I saw it sitting on my friend Amy's table. Since Amy and I have very similar tastes in lit (and well everything), I went home and added it to the list. That's the only reason why I read it. I knew nothing about it or Willa Cather.

This book is simple and beautiful. Taking place on the homestead in Nebraska, it paints a breathtaking picture of the barely inhabited prairie.

Even though the book doesn't take place in Kansas, I feel like it is close enough. I was actually thinking about this book a lot this afternoon as I puttered around in the garden. Not because my garden is like a beautiful prairie in any way, but rather because I was planting watermelon.

Okay. I am not sure if I know how to grow fruit in the prairie. Last year, I tried to start a strawberry bed. But then I left for Chicago and the heat killed them (which is why I opted to plant peas this year instead of trying again). The Baker's had peach trees in their yard, but they died too. (Or so we thought, one half of them actually came back to life. So after significantly pruning, we are giving it another chance. I am not holding my breath even though there is fruit on it).

But growing fruit is such a nice idea. I dream of having a ton of fruit trees and bushes someday. If my father can grow tons of berries in his tiny backyard, than I certainly can someday as well.

This brings me to watermelon.

Whenever I go to Stone Creek to look at seeds, I always get hooked on impractical things - like watermelon. (Their name is Sugar Baby. How can you not love them?)

I bought them. Planted two mounds of them. And then Scooter trampled all over one.


I replanted it this afternoon, which brought me back to My Ántonia. There is a scene in the book where, after this particular minor character (whose name I don't remember) has to sell everything and leave his homestead. He sits down and proceeds to eat all the watermelon he grew that year.

He grew watermelon in Nebraska.

Sure this is a fictional story, but it is historically actuate. And it is motivation enough for me to try and grow some of those sugar babies myself. If that defeated Bohemian man can sit on the ground and stuff  himself with watermelon, certainly I can too.

After fixing what Scoots destroyed, I decided to plant two more mounds behind the compost pile,  out of the range of destructive paws.

I debated for a long time in my head as to whether or not I was going to plant more watermelons here or pumpkins. Even though I want fruit, I also dream of a day when my pumpkin patch can look like Hagrid's from Harry Potter. (This is the way my brain works).

(Maybe without the hippogriff though)
But there is that mysterious squash growing in the compost pile already, and I now have two pumpkin mounds in the garden patch. So the sugar babies won out.

(I really hope this is a pumpkin and not a dumb gourd). 

If the watermelon grow big and beautiful and strong I shall call each them My Ántonias. 


In other garden news: My peas are almost ready! I cannot wait. I have already been harvesting spinach, mint, and an odd radish or too.

However, once I pick the peas, I will really feel accomplished. I cannot wait.

Also, during my composting/watermelon-mound-creating I noticed for the first time the trees behind the compost (in the ally behind our house) have berries on them!


Apparently fruit can grow in the prairie. Apparently I am not very observant.

We think and hope they are mulberries. (I say hope here because Leah asked me, "What if they are nightlock?" (Hunger Game reference).

I think I will take my chances.