Good-bye, California!

I once gave a talk in Toronto, and the woman who introduced me joked, “I want everyone to sit up and listen very carefully to Mrs. Hole, because if she can manage to grow things in Alberta, she must truly be an expert on gardening.”

Now it’s true that Alberta’s climate poses some real challenges to a gardener. But it has its advantages too. Some crops—like lettuce, spinach, and asparagus—absolutely love our cool spring nights, while others—like tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers—take advantage of our long, sunny summer days to make the most of our short growing season. And even though a frigid January morning might make us wonder what we’re doing here, there’s something to be said for the cycle of the seasons. Our long, cold winters make springtime so special.

And, as friends of ours once discovered, even paradise has its drawbacks.

They had moved to California from Edmonton in pursuit of endless sunshine and prosperity. Unfortunately, although they managed to scrape by for several years, luck was not with them. Their situation went from bad to worse, and they decided it was time to come back home to Edmonton.

They sold their car to help pay for bus tickets, packed their belongings into boxes, and started the long trip north. As they were cruising along, they spotted a Volkswagen Beetle, crammed with suitcases and boxes, also heading north. As the Beetle pulled ahead of the bus, they saw a hand-lettered sign on the back: “Good-bye California and all your God-damn geraniums!”

Our friends often chuckle about that sign, and say how nice it is to live in a place where geraniums have the good sense to die every winter. Hear, hear!

-Lois Hole I'll Never Marry A Farmer