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Six Letter Words

Updated: Jun 3, 2023

Recently, I decided to paint some signs for the outdoor garden. Sign making is all about space. How long is a word? How much space does each letter take up? Should there be more than letters? Perhaps, a carrot should be added. How big does the board need to be? What colors should be used? So many questions for such a simple task.

I started out with some old fence wood. After all, there is no reason to not recycle it. It is abundant around the property and it comes at no cost. Douglas volunteered to cut it “about so long.” No measuring tape needed. They didn’t have to be exact. Next, I gathered up the dust brusher to get all the loose paint, webs, twigs, etc. off the board. I thought about sanding it, but decided against it. I wouldn’t have gained that much more. Then with paintbrushes and a variety of colors in front of me, I began to paint veggie words on the wood. Getting close to the end of my signs, I realized there was a slight pattern. I kept counting to six. There are six letters in the word TURNIP, CARROT, POTATO, TOMATO and even PEPPER! Although, there is no pattern or reason I specifically landed on the six letter veggies, it did bring a question to my mind that I had to look up. Who named these guys anyway? A quick google search took me on a quick journey around the globe.

Let’s start with the potato. Basically, we had to change the name to call it English. It is our way of spelling the Spanish word ‘patata’. Tomato also came from our Spanish friend’s word ‘tomate’. Interestingly enough ‘tomate’ originated from the Aztec word ‘tomatl’ which simply meant “plump fruit”. Carrots originated in the Mediterranean, so the French take credit for ‘carotte’. Let’s just stop here for a moment. I can’t go on without saying this. Maybe you noticed the same thing. Really? Did we have to change what letter we doubled. Two r’s vs. two t’s? Oh, how we love our English language.

Now here is a name worthy of discussion. The glorious PEPPER! This spicey little guy was considered one of the wonderful foods Christopher Columbus found on his voyage to find great spices. When Columbus returned with the “aji”, translated “child”, a German Botanist, Leonard Fuchs renamed it the “Calcutta Pepper”. Of course, we can’t talk about the pepper roots without recognizing the fact that the Mexican Indian language used the word “chilli” for their chile peppers.

I hope you enjoyed the veggie journey as much as I have. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. Happy sign painting!

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