I am not a baker.

Seems to me, there are two kinds of people in the world.  Well, actually, that’s total crap, but for the sake of this argument, work with me.

There are bakers and there are cooks. Bakers are exacting, precise, accurate. Cooks are inexact, get-it-in-the-general-area, close-enough kinds of people.

I used to read cookbooks like novels.  Every word, every recipe, every comment.  I am at the point where I can almost taste a recipe as I read it. Over time, I have become much less dependent on the exact recipe, and more confident to figure it out as I go along.  A little more or less garlic is perfectly fine.  Got some extra pesto?  Bah — just toss it in, it will be great.  Oh!  Sausage would be good in this.  Ginger?  Not so much.

This hubris gets me into trouble with baking.  You have to have BOTH baking soda and baking powder.  I’ve made cakes that are hard as a rock.  Muffins that act like hockey pucks, etc.  Why? It has something to do with chemistry. Chemistry is a mystery and makes no sense.  Don’t even bother trying to explain it.  (Fingers in ears LA LA LA LA).

Baking is to cooking what carpentry is to gardening.

When I build things, they are crooked, and messy and sometimes have a zillion pilot holes.  I actually see crooked, so even when something looks straight to me up close, at a distance I can see that the left side is always down a bit.  This is true of labels on jars, lines on pages, trees that I’ve planted, you name it.  It’s annoying, but I prefer to use the word charming, thank you very much. It’s a charming characteristic.

You would think that, knowing my eyesight deceives me, I would err in the opposite direction.  Well, I do.  And then when I stand back — it’s still crooked.  Still by the same amount.  No matter what.  I try using a level, but they don’t work for every application.  So I have sort of given up with the whole “be exact” thing.

When it comes to carpentry, there is the old adage “measure twice, cut once.”  For me, I really should measure sixteen times, get ready to cut, and measure again just to be sure.  Then cut.  And then stand back and see that it’s still crooked.

Eventually I have learned that, if it matters, have Todd build it.  Case in point, the Playhouse:


It matters.  It will stand for years.  It houses a lot of equipment.  Better to have the expert, exacting, detail-oriented person I am  married to build it.  Early on in the building process, he had to get a floor joist level, and it took many tries. When it was done, it was a total victory.


Had I been in charge, it would have taken 15 minutes, (BOOM! Done. Eh, it’s close enough). And today, the building would not be level, things would all roll to one side, and it would probably leak.

I am a gardener.  I wanted a better way to grow strawberries than this. So I decided to turn some pallets on end, cut and chop a little, and voila!  New strawberry stands!  That I don’t have to bend over to harvest! That save water!  Yeah, they are a mess.  Crooked, tilt-y, leaky, etc.  I couldn’t care less.  These pallets are not going to house me.  They are not intended to protect me in an earthquake.  They are not going on the front page of Fine Gardening (I don’t think.  They haven’t called).  They hold soil and plants.  They are off the ground.  They are visually interesting from the street.  They do everything I need them to do.



The point is not for these strawberry planters to stand forever.  The point is to have a great place to grow a backbreaking crop in an upright structure, using free materials, and not letting the crookedness be a problem.

Totally charming.



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One Response to I am not a baker.

  1. Carol Butler says:

    I LOVE that you write like you talk. It’s all about telling the story. With sidebars.

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