My garden draws me into its minute details
derails my attempts to prevail with straight lines
or orderly arrangements, continually demanding
my engagement. The weeds are overgrown into
the path again. The bees, butterflies, biting ants
demonstrate business just like me, finding
sustenance in the flowers until their last hours.
The dragon breathes her last gusts of fire into
the approaching winter. She will hibernate
with the first frost and I too will curl up and dream.
Getting together some compost for my pots before the morning school run.
I tend to the kitchen garden and the west wing garden around here, but Mr. Mims tends to pretty much all the rest. Although gardening is a combination of skill, timing and hard labor, it can also be highly creative. Coming up on our seven year anniversary of our homestead, I am looking around and seeing his master touch everywhere. His latest contribution is a resting spot for people and birds too…
Today was a shopping day. I missed my garden. But tomorrow is a planting day. I have plans to put these two couples to bed, and nurture some grapes and blackberries. Two things you could never have enough of for jam and juice or just fresh off the vine. If all goes well they will outgrow their pots in a year or two. Then we’ll find a spot on the grounds somewhere, for them to flourish.
We had some heavy rain and even hale yesterday, and now the ground is soaked and I have some repair work to do in my garden. If the Big Daddy isn’t too muddy, then Mr. Mims will put in his lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower starters. I know he has some corn, but what he really wants is okra. He’s determined to get an early crop of okra this year. Last year there was a weather mishap every time he planted okra and we never did get a good harvest.
I’ve been weeding and carting loads of chicken dirt (top soil and chicken manure) and rolling and raking and hoeing too, for the last couple of weeks, with my feet and hands and my wheel barrow. When Mister Mims showed up yesterday with the golf course gardeners cart, well, I was all smiles.
There are many flowers and smells and sights to gush about in the spring and summer, but some plants offer pleasures year-round. Lavender is perennial and evergreen. Lavender leaves smell just as strong as the flowers. If you rub the leaves between your fingers the scent will stick with you for awhile. The leaves are a grayish-green in winter. I have both the English and French variety growing. In the winter time you can’t really tell the difference between them. Continue reading
It’s been almost a month since I wrote about working on a new garden bed, and the majority of that time it was raining. Mr. Mims bought new timber, and the plan was to make the frame for the new raised bed over the holidays so that the boys could fill it with compost and chicken waste for me before they went back to school. I wanted the mixture to marinate in place before spring.
A summer of record rain fall diminished our expectations for most of what we planted this year. Now, with unusually cold weather this week, we are bringing in the last of our crops. Even with less than what we planned, we have enough. What’s more, after my husband completed the chicken coop and we successfully raised fourteen hens, we now collect fresh eggs every day from our chickens.
Instead of the nightly watering rituals that we kept up each summer since we moved here to Greenville in 2009, in the summer of 2013 we did a lot of sitting inside watching the rain wash our gardens away. There actually was a short spring season with strawberries, cabbage and even artichokes, before the heavy rains really got started. We also managed to have a short fall growing season with some drier weather. Last year our okra was washed away every time my husband planted some seeds. This year okra is one of the few fall crops the we have harvested, along with some broccoli, eggplant, and greens and lettuce, a variety of sweet and hot peppers, and sweet potatoes.
In my entire school career, no one taught me how to enjoy myself. Our constitution proclaims that everyone is entitled to the pursuit of happiness. But sometimes the very things we think will make us happy turn out to be the things that cause us unhappiness. You might be happy that you can afford to eat out every night. But after six months, or a year or two, you might realize that you have sacrificed your health and gained twenty pounds. You could have spent the extra money on your future, instead of instant gratification.
Now in my fiftieth year, I have learned without a moment’s hesitation that happiness has only two sources: love and labor. We’re all victims when it comes to love. But labor, well either you work or you don’t work. You know which one it is you’re doing. You could be a master with a thousand slaves and never be as happy as the woman or man who has the satisfaction of achieving a goal, of breaking a sweat and accomplishing a task. We all must learn to find enjoyment in our work, pay attention to the details, do the very best we can and contribute to a common cause. But we also have to enjoy the benefits! Continue reading