Sagging fruit is made for mischief

Exploding fruit helps seed next year's garden

Three Christmases ago, we staged a ballistics display in the garden. A combination of factors led to the event. I had a new video camera. My husband Richard had a new suppressed AR15 rifle and Santa had just brought Richard’s friend - I’ll call him Ralphie - a Daisy Red Rider BB gun. A certain amount of celebrating had been done. In short, there was a need on everyone’s part to play with their prezzies.

 The details are sketchy, as they say, but I think Richard was the one who remembered the melon. Left growing untended outside the garden fence, a deer had come along and stomped it and drank from the split melon hull.

It was lying in the grass, sagging and broken but still pleasantly plump and begging for trouble.

 The guys thought it would be funny to have *Ralphie* doing a sales pitch for Daisy and aiming the BB gun at the melon. Meanwhile, they giggled, Richard would sneak up behind him with the big gun and shoot the target.The end result? The Red Rider would seem to decimate the fruit but really the suppressed semi-automatic rifle would do the work.

  Ha ha. LOL. Right?

 To gun nuts, this kind of thing is hilarious. To most people in the country this kind of thing is hilarious. That’s partly because there is frequently NOTHING TO DO HERE. The last visitor to our house was A LARGE RAT ON THE BACK STEPS. You can judge the level of hilarity and mayhem by watching the video here, if you enjoy hearing someone from Wisconsin aping a Southern accent.

*Warning: don’t try this at home unless you are an expert marksman like my husband and you are better with a Southern accent than *Ralphie*

As my friend Sarah recently said, some fruits and vegetables are just asking for mischief this time of year.  What else were squash and melons made for? The last of the summer fruits are now either wilting on the vine or sitting on countertops attracting clouds of meandering fruit flies. (My boss, a true country dweller, calls them drunkards.) What to do, if you’re not into canning and you can’t *gasp* look at another tomato sandwich?

 If you’re aiming at being bad, melons look especially good splayed out on a front porch or even on a friend’s vehicle.  When my brother Andy was a toddler he and his friend Will caused a minor stink in the neighborhood when they spent a pleasant spell chunking old tomatoes over the neighbor’s fence and laughing themselves silly.

In the city you have planking. In the country we have pumpkin chunkin', in which – you get the idea from the name - the gourds are sent sailing through the air with catapults. Step right up and pick your target. I’m looking at you - neighbor across the creek who plays Dixie in the backyard on his air horn.

Of course, there’s nothing like outright thievery for causing mayhem. The man who said “Never put your sickle in another man’s corn” did not know how to have fun. An acquaintance from Ohoopee, Ga. grew up across the river from a melon farm. He swam the river many times in the summer in pursuit of the ripe melons until, one day, his mother looked across the table at him  and spotted a telltale dark mark in the corner of his mouth. It had been left there by a melon vine he had clamped into his teeth as he tugged the fruit across the river.

What about our own little project mayhem? There is a moral to the story. Our melon shooting episode might seem like mindless mischief, but every spring since then, the ground has yielded a good crop of melons with no planting and only minimal tending when the volunteer vines curl around the newer garden items. We’ve had melons in the fridge and melons on the counter and melons in the garden all summer. Maybe in the future, with enough melons, we’ll finally get around to making that grilled watermelon salad, the one with the watercress and pickled radishes. One word of caution around us. Just watch out for flying seeds. They might put your eye out.

Do you have any fruit chucking stories? Tell us, and don’t forget to head to Garden Bones Plant and Seed Swap on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 2 p.m. at at 1145 Mitchell Bridge Road in Athens.


While Garden Bones columnist Nancy Zechlla takes a little rest, gardener Joan Stroer White is turning over a few words for us.




Meg Dure September 04, 2011 at 03:07 PM
How wonderful to start my day with this smile-inducing video and commentary. Joan, Nancy is beaming too while taking a breather! I just know it.
Nancy Zechella September 04, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Big boy mischief...I love it! I just might have to look up your address and swipe a watermelon or two. Joan, thanks soooo much for sharing this with everyone :) Melon story in my family: When my son was young we were vacationing in Florida and he took melon pieces and dropped them from a 6 floor balcony...wanting to see how they would splatter. One tiny piece droppd on an old lady's car. She swore it ruined her car and wanted us to pay for a paint job.
Joan Stroer White September 04, 2011 at 07:15 PM
It was a lot of fun filling in for you Nancy. My first attempt at commentary. I have to say, you guys just make it look easy!


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