I Say It’s My Birthday

. . . because it is, for another couple of hours.

Some years I take my birthday off. This year I didn’t. I’m drowning in work. I can’t afford to take a day off — but I didn’t really want to take a day off. My late winter and spring brought several big expenses, most recently Malvina Forester’s brake work, and not enough work. So having enough work is a pretty good birthday present.



I’ve been broke enough that buying seedlings for my dinghy garden seemed like a crazy extravagance. My chives wintered over well — maybe that would be enough garden for this year?

But being swamped with work means that in another month or so there’ll be money coming in, enough that having spent 40 bucks or so for seedlings, seeds, and potting soil won’t seem extravagant at all. It might even seem chintzy.

Plus I’ve learned over the years that it’s easier to be frugal if I don’t get into cut-your-throat self-denial. Cut-your-throat self-denial is like giving up ice cream because you think it’s bad for you and then obsessing about ice cream 24/7 until you break down and eat a quart of it all at once.

So this afternoon, it being my birthday ‘n’ all, I took myself down to Vineyard Gardens and bought a bunch of seedlings, two cubic feet of potting soil, and a packet of basil seeds.

First step was the planter on my deck railing. Into it went two coleus — I love the way its colorful leaves catch the light at different times of day — and some Greek oregano. I hope I didn’t kill the Greek oregano teasing its tangled roots into two clumps.

20130608 porch box

The rest of the Greek oregano, plus parsley, basil, two cherry tomato plants, and some marigolds, went into the dinghy.

20130608 dinghyThere’s plenty of room left, at least until the basil seeds I’m going to plant tomorrow are big enough to transplant. What should I put there? More tomatoes, more basil, more flowers? Watch this space.


About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
This entry was posted in Martha's Vineyard, outdoors, work and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to I Say It’s My Birthday

  1. Patricia says:

    Happy Belated Birthday dear girl! And I say girl because even at my age (and I’m wicked old) having someone say “girl” to me, makes me smile. My vote would be for more tomato plants, they cost so little as starters but to buy sun ripened tomatoes in season will cost MUCH more… so think of it as a tomato sale when you buy a couple of starters – maybe some heirloom. And don’t forget to drop in a couple of sunflower seeds – maybe five or six in the ground around the boat – there is nothing like watching the birds picking out the seeds to bring a smile to a morning.


    • Aha, that’s an idea about the sunflowers. The dinghy still has its keel so there’s not much room for roots to spread, bout outside the boat? Might try it. I don’t like tomatoes well enough to pay high prices for them. When I need them for a recipe, I’m happy with canned. But I do like cherry tomatoes so that’s what I plant. That empty space is mainly for the basil I just sowed in two planters, but it won’t be ready for a while.


  2. Sharon Stewart says:

    Belated happy birthday, Susanna! I think you gave yourself a wonderful BD gift. I love your dinghy garden. Are you the one who hates veggies? If so, I don’t recommmend any more tomatoes than you already have. Oh, wait. Aren’t tomatoes fruit? Never mind!


    • I don’t mind veggies, but I like bread and cheese better. 🙂 Veggies are a PITA, and fresh veggies sit in the fridge and spoil while you procrastinate. I love spinach but not all the prep that goes into it. I only use fresh when I make spanakopita, which happens about once a year. The rest of the time I use frozen.


  3. Betty Burton says:

    Happy birthday, SusannaI think you spent your money just right.

    Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2013 03:51:46 +0000 To: burtonsundman@hotmail.com


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.