Either the soil was bad, or gardening was a far more complex task than Anne had previously thought. And because she knew that the soil was fertile and well drained there was only one explanation for the lack of fruit that her efforts bore.
Surveying her yard in the sweltering heat of an uncommonly warm early June, her mind raced as she critiqued the work she had done earlier that spring. Jotting down in her notebook she was ever the diligent, lest she make the same mistakes twice.
Anne: (quietly, to herself)
Peas planted to late and over watered late in the season. Tomatoes planted too close together, remember to treat with calcium to prevent soft fruit. Pole beans more space efficant to bush variety. Stagger root vegetables in closer intervals for constant supply.
Sylvia: (Bringing her a glass of tea)
Don’t know much about this whole operation Anne but it seems to me we’ve a bit of bad earth Miss!
Anne: (Humbly) Oh Sylv. You are kind…no, it’s not the earth I’m afraid. It’s the gardener who tends the earth.
Sylvia: Well that just can’t be. What did you go to school for all those years? Why growing things…
Anne: I’m sorry to say that what I went to school for all those years was for what you would refer to as vanity Sylv. I spent the better part of my time learning how to prounounce names of unusual plants in latin, cross pollinate, graft trees and vines but for all the time I have spent on my education I can’t seem to grow a simple tomato.
Sylvia: I was going to say don’t be so hard on yourself but you and I ought to be ashamed of ourselves really!
(Anne looks at her, smiling greatfulyl that Sylvia has included herself as being responsible with her)
Anne: You’re a good friend Sylv.
Sylvia: I am not! I’m a lazy roust about who’s riding on the good graces of a hardworking young one whose hit hard times and has been good enough to take in a family who’s no relation to her own.
I’m greatful to ya Miss Hibbert. (pause. Sylvia is sincere) I don’t know what we would have done with out your kindness these last months.
I’ll not say an ill word against your efforts seeing as they have been in honor of my young ones as well as yourself.
Anne: I wish I knew how to yield more fruit.
Sylvia: (Still with a sincere look on her face she muses as she surveys the garden with Anne.)
It is a shitter, isn’t it?
Still, I have some news…Morenos Butcher shop just down the way wants to hire on Tom to do some work for them, regularly. They say they can’t afford to pay him much but told me that in place of cash they could offer meat.
Anne: (mulling this over) Meat huh?
Sylvia: Yes, you remember what that tastes like?
Anne: I think so. (Smiling) Tom would be willing to do that?
Sylvia: It’s his place among us. He is my eldest son, Anne. It’s good and right. I’d not deny him that honor.