Nature, green in tooth and claw

Our gardening proceeds apace. Per Harlan Holmes’ explicit and detailed instructions, we have been subjecting our seedlings to a strict regimen: 12 hours of blinding fluorescent light:
The goggles! They do nothing!

…followed by 12 hours at a ten-degree temperature drop (we put them in the basement.) The light makes them grow; the cold teaches them that the world is a cruel, unforgiving place, and that they should be cautious and not get all leggy. Gardening is one of those hobbies that, apparently, extends to every branch of the sciences, and this is a philosophical decision. No Fitzgeraldian coddling for these seedlings, this is the straight Horatio Alger stuff. Still, the point of selecting a guru is, if nothing else, to learn a point of departure, so we are giving our young seedlings the full-on Spartan regime. Grow, young seedlings! But grow cautiously!

So far, we’ve been getting the desired effect: the lettuce has sprouted, and immediately gone to leaf, without extending tender, leggy, insect-inviting shoots up into the air. It’s really pretty amazing. The damn things actually look like lettuce!
The miracle of life

However — and this is where the Cruel Tutelage of Harlan Holmes continues — we now have to destroy four out of every six seeds that we have planted, making room for only the strongest, the most industrious, and the purest of intention. Kate went in with a pair of sharp scissors, and we ended up with the World’s Smallest Salad:
(Lettuce and molecule shown to scale)

I ate some of the lettuces, which were about the size of an individual clover leaf each. And here’s where you’re just going to have to trust me that I’m being honest with you: IT TASTED AMAZING. I have no idea whether that was because it actually tasted that good, or whether it’s because it’s lettuce that, you know, I’m invested in and stuff. But it tasted like green… in a good way, and like, well, dirt, but in a good way, and it tasted like every hippie-dippie health food store I remember wandering around in when my family lived in Austin, Texas. Believe me, all those back-to-the-land-ers who get all holier-than-thou about the fruits of labor and Gaia and stuff? Like you, I want nothing more than to punch them in the face and say “STAY OFF MY SIDE”, but the lettuce, it was… goood.

And that was just the lettuce that didn’t make the cut, man. I’m starting to understand that gardening really is a pageant of life’s most basic urges. ALL of them, you dig?

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