Friday, September 10, 2010

foto friday: sperma!

Andrew's Italian grandfather, nonno, is part retired construction worker, part backyard farmer.  Every square inch of his 10 foot by 10 foot lot (if that) is completely divided into small plots of vegetation, spices, or fruit.  He grows pears, grapes, cherries, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, basil, several varieties of lettuce (or, as they refer to it in Andrew's family: "salad"), and even figs (which are not native to Canada) - every winter he lays the fig trees down in a hole he dug in the earth and covers them to keep them alive...every spring he uncovers them and sets them back up.

Andrew visited them a few weeks ago and as nonno prattled on in Italian about his harvest, Andrew realized that he used the word sperma for "seed".  Nonno told a story of one day seeing the most beautiful tomatoes but, pity, they grew in the garden of his French neighbour (nonno is very precise regarding national heritage).  Nonno walked up to the Frenchman's door, introduced himself, and asked to have a tomato.  The Frenchman refused.  Nonno, undeterred, impressed upon the Frenchman how amazed he was by the tomatoes, how he himself grew vegetables, and how he wanted the seeds (sperma) in order to introduce them into his own crop.

"Ah!" said the Frenchman.  "In that case, take three."

That was 15 years ago and nonno still uses keeps and uses the best seeds of the Frenchman's tomatoes.

It makes me wonder what we miss out on in our society.  I love that an old Italian and an old Frenchman can bond over their love and knowledge of growing vegetables, though neither of them were farmers.

Now that the nonno-genes are beginning to flow through my own Italian husband, I can see why he takes such pride in our tiny vegetable garden.  Instead of regretting the end of the summer, I'm looking forward to the harvest!





...the size of my head.

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