This blog post falls under the heading of ‘be careful what you wish for’…and it was all because I wanted to make Mojitos.
I guess I should back up a little.
Several years ago Tripp, Kelsey, and I took a vacation to the Florida Keys. We flew into Miami and then drove the entire way to Key West on US Route 1 (Tripp got to cross that one of his bucket list) After we made it to our hotel and got settled, we walked over to the nearby Cuban restaurant and sat down for dinner. Our engaging server suggested that we start with their classic cocktail, The Mojito, so I, hoping to completely immerse myself the Cuban dining experience, happily took his suggestion. And as our server promised, I thoroughly enjoyed my delightfully refreshing cocktail.
It was at this point that I made it my personal mission to to sample the Mojitos at every opportunity while on vacation in the Keys. Which I did enthusiastically.
Because I am an overachiever.
Anyway once we got back at home (having developed quite the taste for Mojitos) I began experimenting with making them myself. The nice thing about that was being able to tinker with the basic recipe, adjusting the main components according to my own taste. So for instance, I prefer my Mojitos on the less-sweet side with lots of lime, and then the amount of rum…well that kinda depends on the day. But the mint! Mint is what gives a Mojito its signature flavor and it is my favorite part.
Fast forward a few years and I have perfected the Mojito (for my taste anyway) but the problem I usually uncountered when making this delightful cocktail was finding suitable mint. I found that #1) grocery store only sporadically carried fresh mint in the packaged herb section of the produce department and #2) when they did stock mint, it didn’t always have the same robust essence that gives the Mojitos their mojo.
So to circumnavigate this problem, a few years ago I decided to plant some mint in my flowerbed. So here’s the thing…I am seasoned gardener and I was well aware of mint’s pesky reputation for taking over gardens. But I told myself that I would keep an eye on my mint and not let it get out of control.
Famous. Last. Words.
This end of the flowerbed used be be full of Shasta Daisies, Coneflowers, and Lilies but the mint completely choked them out. And now it’s starting to threaten my Salvia! And I LOVE my Salvia – it’s one of my very favorite plants.
I love Mojitos as much as next guy (or gal) but not so much that I want to devote half my flowerbed to mint. So with an eye to the sky Saturday, I made it my mission to remove every last bit of mint out of my flowerbed. And it was not an easy task. Mint has a mischievous way of creating a web of underground runners and roots which make it nearly impossible to dig up. Employing the services of both the pitchfork and shovel, I worked for almost two hours pulling out every last stem and root. Much of the time on my hands and knees.
Although it was a lot of hard work, I enjoyed the solitude and quiet time spent in the garden Saturday. It gave me time to think about my life and how I am bad about not paying attention and letting things get out of control sometimes. Like simple household chores…letting them pile up until they become one huge, time-consuming project.
But the thing that really struck me about the mint was that I planted it. I wanted it in my garden.
But instead of beating myself up about this whole mint thing, I’m going to use it as a learning experience. A cautionary tale about letting things (even things I love and enjoy) get out of control and take over.
And I’m kinda excited about that.