Some of you may be wondering how our garden is doing. Those of you who know me as "the cure for kudzu" because of my lack of a green thumb... let me assure you that I have nothing to do with the vegetables that are planted in this garden. They are safe from my murderous clutches. I also promised Nirmala that I definitely would not touch the garden at certain times of the "month." (It is a superstition here that doing so will kill plants... I refrained from telling Nirmala that any time I touch a plant it is likely to die no matter what time of the "month" it is.) So, how is the garden doing? Well, it depends on what you think needs to grow in a garden.

If you are looking for green beans and cucumbers... well, my garden has that! And they seem to be doing pretty well! But if you are looking for loads of laughs... clearly I helped plant that in our garden. I am not sure where the laughs got planted, but I am pretty sure it is somewhere near the green beans. When we first asked Nirmala (our gardener) to help us plant the garden, I told everyone that she was going to plant the world (dhuniya) in our garden... I meant to say cilantro (dhanya). So close... but worlds apart. Learning this new language is exciting to say the least!

And if you are looking for peanuts in a garden... well, we got 'em! Yes, those are peanut plants! But they are not the only nuts ever found in this garden. Occasionally, a little goofball nut named MoMo seems to sneak her way into the garden. After she helps dig a few holes (she is a good gardener dog) she makes sure she adds a little fertilizer. We haven't figured out how to tell her that Nirmala is the gardener, and that we do not want MoMo's help. We keep trying to fence her out, but I think she has some cat burgler skills. She seems to find ways to get through the fence.

If you are looking for squash in a garden... well, our garden is happily decorated with squash! Although I am not sure what kind. They call everything here that remotely resembles a gourd or squash or zucchini "pharsi." I guess I will find out what Nirmala planted in a few weeks.

Yes, here is where we... I mean she... planted the world... um... I mean cilantro. And behind that is what they call saag. It is some form of greens. Spinach is called saag. Mustard greens... called saag, too. Lettuce... well, it's saag, too, but most people don't eat lettuce here. Not sure why. So whatever type of saag this is, it is green and needs to be fried.

Yes, we have lots of corn planted. Some are almost as tall as me. Others are small and just getting started. Here is where more laughs were planted... You see, as I have been practicing my language skills, it seems that corn (makkai) and fish (machha) get tangled up on my tongue. Yesterday, I confidently walked up to Dipikha and declared to her that since there has been lots of rain lately, the fish Nirmala planted in the garden are getting really tall. You should have seen her face! It has definitely provided laughs for a couple of days.

We also have asparagus and red chili peppers growing... But there are some seeds that are being planted that you may not see. They are definitely growing, though... Like the seed of helping out a neighbor who could use the money and something constructive to do with her time. And then we are planting the seeds of relationship. Nirmala is not saved. Oh, how I would love to see her come to Christ! The cilantro sure tasted good in the dinner last night, but there are sweeter fruits and veggies I hope will someday blossom...

Now if we could only convince our other gardener (MoMo) to stop planting and fertilizing!