When I was in Jr. High, my family lived on 3 acres of land in Nebraska. Although we only lived there four years, and moved in 1997, those 3 acres come into mind when I think of “home”. Maybe someday I’ll take the time to describe it’s beautiful, white, farm-house, red barn and chicken coup, my woods and my reading tree. Today though, I’m thinking about mom’s garden.
Our garden was enormous. Truly. I wish I could give you exact dimensions to give you a true picture, but my best guess is that it was larger than the 300 square foot garden that I’ll be digging into tomorrow. Aside from the garden, we also had a 3-story pear tree that not only gave us canned pears for an entire year, but made mowing the back yard a gooey mess. My mom did such a great job taking care of not only the garden, but the pear tree, the chickens, the landscaping, and four wild children. The poor woman; although I was fully capable of doing so, I griped and complained and nearly refused to help in caring for the land.
I was a selfish child, who preferred reading The Babysitters Club in the tree outside to doing any sort of manual labor. You’d think I could have at least chosen real literature. Ah, the things you learn.
Ahem. So the garden. I remember tomatoes, and those annoying tomato cages. I don’t remember much else. Heck, maybe my mom didn’t plant anything else since she couldn’t get any help. Although I remember canned pickles, so there must have been cucumbers at some point. Gardens take a lot of work. They take time and sweat and courage to face crawly things.
This summer I’ve decided to help a friend with her garden. A few weeks ago, we planted corn, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, and black beans. I have no idea what I’m doing, but my friend does, so I’m not worried. I am shocked, shocked, that I’m actually interested in planting and caring for a garden. You read the first few paragraphs. You should be shocked as well. Since I am a philosopher by nature, I must explain to you my reasoning.
Watching things grow is awesome.
That was a terrible sentence. I don’t care. Moving on.
By my own hands, I cannot make lettuce grow. If you have never done so before, take a second to think about the process of your favorite vegetable. I have to plant a seed, water it, make sure that the sun shines on it, make sure that the soil is appropriate for that seed, and keep it safe from bugs and weeds. However, I still cannot make the vegetable grow. What an amazing process. Making something for nothing. Caring for it. Watching it grow, and then being able to use it in a healthy meal. Something that I participated in creating.
One of my goals for the summer is to learn about gardening so that I can pass the knowledge down. So that young women who are broken can one day participate in watching something come from nothing. So that young women can watch the process. So that they can physically see change happening. How beautiful.
Thanks, mom, for teaching me, even if I was a pain in the rear. Apparently, I learned something.