the trouble with pregnant tomatoes


The gardener muttered to himself and shoved his hands in his pockets. “Tomatoes aren’t supposed to get pregnant.” He’d tried some of those newfangled heritage varieties with that hippie fertilizer his son was always going on about. Organic – that’s what he called it. The gardener shook his head. “All-natural,” his son said. Yep, he bet. Lotsa things were natural, he reckoned, didn’t mean he wanted his tomatoes gettin’ knocked up.


farewells of the year’s first frost


The green things lay covered with fuzzy white frost. Not a bee buzzed in the silent morning, and the smell of wood smoke lingered in the valley.

“I guess that’s that, then,” said the garden gnome, packing up his tools. He double-checked to make sure the asparagus had a thick blanket of fallen leaves and straw to keep it warm through the winter. Then he tucked a few frost sweetened carrots into his backpack for the journey.

He tipped his hat to the nearby house, smoke curling from its chimney. “See you in spring,” he said in a gruff voice, and set off for his winter home, deep in the forest and far beneath the earth where the cold couldn’t reach.