Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Old Man and The Dill

    Lots 'O Dill

Our neighbor across the street shows up around this time every year with tons of Dill.  His Dad (The Old Man) maintained a pretty nice vegetable garden in the lot behind their house for nearly 50 years, and the Dill always comes back in droves.   For awhile after the Old Man's passing, other things came back too.  The Son would bring us enormous zucchini - we all know that they are pretty useless, but I never had the heart to tell him that he may want to look for them a tad earlier.  And, for awhile, he'd bring us a few cucumbers or a volunteer tomato.  The Son is not interested in gardening and actually shows disdain for it.  I think because his Dad devoted so much spare time to it, but that's just my hunch.

The Old Man has been gone for nearly 10 years now. We still miss him sitting out on his stoop, telling us all sorts of tales of the "old neighborhood" and neighbors long gone. I have stored away every story I can. I treasure those kinds of chats with the folks who were here in those old South Philly days.

And so, the Dill delivery every year continues. However, this year - for the first time ever - the son pulled the Dill out by the roots!  I usually get a big bunch of cut branches, which make no mistake, I am thrilled to get.  We have used the Old Man's Dill in our pickles for years.  But for some reason, when I went to the door this year, there he was with huge stalks of Dill with big fat root systems intact. 

His usual question:  "Can you use this?".  My usual answer:  "You bet!". 

I sat outside this morning, cleaning the branches of the dill.  Some I will freeze, some I will dry - as usual.  I kept coming back to three good sized stalks with really nice, well established root systems, and I kept talking myself out of planting one more thing, of setting up one more garden "experiment" to fret over.  Too late.  The Old Man won.  So here are the three stalks which I have trimmed and planted.  I have also for the first time decided to harvest some seeds.

    The Dill Experiment

Maybe he's been sending me messages all of these years.  Or maybe there is just something inherently wonderful about growing dill from his long ago loved plants here, across the street, in our garden.  Maybe someone else will do the same in the years to come.  Who knows?  Everything happens for a reason, right?  

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