Gratitude Sunday: Down The Garden Path

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood in Bluebeard’s Egg

Sunday Haiku
What lovely surprise!
Hope eternal as flowers
spring sprouting from dirt.

Sunday Musings
How I miss having a garden! I used to be able to do it all, you know. I worked at a job outside my home. I kept my home clean (ish), cooked meals, did laundry, and tended gardens that became progressively smaller until I had only a few pots of vegetables on my porch. I loved walking barefoot on the earth surrounded by vegetables I could nibble as I pulled weeds.

In the style of my mother’s mother, I freely mixed marigolds and nasturtiums between the rows and plots. Chives and basil and borage gave their lives to season my food. Occasional success with strawberry plants optimistically led to more plants in the hopes of a yearly satiation which never quite happened.

I dug up yards in rental properties without the owner’s permission. I hauled pots of dirt from house to house looking forward to next year’s growth plans. My fingers were stained as brown as the bottoms of my feet, as no matter what grade of glove I bought they always tore through at the tips. I miss the smell of dirt.

My garden was always a fight. The hubster thought I should do it his way, but he never got out there and did anything except mow everything down with his lawn mower. He’d freak out if there were weeds, but he wouldn’t weed. He didn’t eat many of the veggies no matter how I prepared them, which was OK, more for me, but he used that to justify not helping. He is so not helpful, one hot summer he killed my rhubarb plant because he refused to water it while I was at work though he was home (yes, he can be bratty). You have to be really negligent to kill rhubarb, one of the hardiest plants the pioneers brought with them from back east over the Oregon Trail.

When the son arrived, I had even less time on my hands to tend a garden. Even though the son was allowed to play outside in the dirt, he resisted eating any vegetable that didn’t come from the store. He didn’t like to wipe off or rinse off the dirt, and he was creeped out by the thought of insects, slugs, and other critters crawling on his veggies, as if the store veggies didn’t have their own versions of these interlopers, sometimes on a more massive scale than in my little gardens.

Neither of my guys is particularly fond of veggies or fruit. I am a lonely eater. I would choose a salad or plate of greens any day. A baked potato piled with chives and chopped ripe red tomato or a piece of toast with thick slices of today’s hand-picked tomato and a sprinkle of sea salt is my idea of food heaven. Sliced bell peppers in shades of red and orange and yellow, crooked little carrots, chunks of broccoli with a tasty vinaigrette or ranch dressing and I am one full and happy fat girl.

My mother gardened at every place she lived as well. I have a picture of her, shovel in hand, digging up the yard of a duplex we lived in while I was in my toddler walker watching her. She gardened until the day she died. She had strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, rhubarb, garlic, onions, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, bell peppers, and whatever else interested her for the year. She faithfully staked out the strawberry runners for next year’s plants. As she aged and her emphysema progressed she got so she could only do a few minutes at a time, but she would go outside several times a day, depending on her strength level that day.

My father was also an enthusiastic gardener. Mom and Dad shared the work in our little victory garden which took up about a third of the lot they owned. Dad prepared and amended the soil, hauling manure to dig in every fall, roto-tilling every spring. He planted and weeded. Mom weeded and harvested and cooked and preserved what we didn’t immediately eat. Dad only allowed one child at a time to “help” when he was working in the garden; he didn’t have the patience to supervise more than one of us at a time and I can’t blame him, we were a bunch of wild ones. After Mom and Dad divorced, Dad dug up a bit of yard in the apartment complex he lived in so he could grow the jalapenos he loved.

April is the month I most strongly miss my garden. Dad was an old school gardener and he said when the lilacs bloom it’s time to plant. The lilacs are getting ready to bloom, so you know my mind is there. I have a lovely garden in my mind. It unfortunately requires the purchase of lumber, structures like trellises, a gate, some good quality dirt, and fencing to keep the neighborhood critters out. I have all kinds: possums, raccoons, squirrels, and feral cats, not to mention dogs who are allowed to roam freely without a person or leash. My garden structure would be at least mid-thigh high, be accessible from all sides, and have some nice wide, gravel-free, hard dirt paths around it. Because of the expense it is merely an amorphous dream; I have not bothered to sketch it or stake out the ground. I have not bothered to share this dream with the hubster because I want it done my way. If I tell him he will either have reasons it shouldn’t be done or want to do it his way. The disagreement is hardly worth it.

I need a raised garden so the hubster would not attack it with his lawn mower and it would be easier for me to keep the weeds plucked. I’d have to be careful choosing the size of plants so when mature they are not too tall for me to harvest. I’d eat what I could and share the rest. I have this fantasy of how I might even conquer a little pain because I take care of my own garden and eat what I grow, and ground myself by walking barefoot on the earth, and gain healthful movement while tending my own food. This may be as fanciful as the dream garden but it entertains me nonetheless.

Our society may soon need to go back to the Victory Gardens promoted in the 1940s with the way our political climate is. Who knows what is going to be destroyed by the person in the White House who knows absolutely nothing about what he is doing and is equally unwilling to take any time to learn? As luck would have it, most of us can stick a shovel in the ground, put a plant in the hole the shovel made, give it a little water, and have it result in something edible.

While my garden resides in my dreams, I have the second best thing for six months of the year. My little burg has a weekly farmers market close by my house with local gardeners and farmers who welcome us to come see their gardens and farms any time. The beautiful home grown food they bring to market are like visiting Mom and getting to pick through her garden for all my faves, without the work of tending to the planting, and weeding, and watering, and harvesting which are more difficult for me to do these days.

And so while I dream, how does your garden grow?

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Many yards full of dime-sized white daisies. A weather-grayed bamboo pole, pink and white fluffy tulip, and soft fuzzy sage green lamb’s ears. A creamy white pieris Japonica (thank you, Michelle!). Another yard full of yellow and purple shooting stars. Glad to have gotten this picture when I did last year of the deep pink crab apple blossom, as the tree has since been terminated.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} The Women (2008, rated PG – 13) with Meg Ryan and Annette Benning, a start studded movie about a troubled marriage and the group of women who support the betrayed wife. This movie was a remake of the 1939 version, also star filled with Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell which was adapted from a play written by Clare Boothe Luce. I realize many readers no longer recognize these older classic actors and authors. Now is as good a time as any to learn about them. The funny thing is I had this movie mixed up in my mind with a 1930s novel I read many years ago called The Group by Mary McCarthy about eight friends who graduate from Vassar College in 1933 and how their lives turn out. Interesting where the brain goes but this movie is not related to this novel. * Thor: Ragnarok (2018, rated PG – 13), another in the Marvel Comics series. These movies are so over the top in plot, stunts, special effects, and acting, it’s part of what makes them amusing. The repartee is tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and such silly fun, I find myself laughing out loud at super-heroes and super-villains. * I, Tonya (2017, rated R) about the infamous ice skater Tonya Harding. This “fictionalized” (which means it takes some theatrical license where the producers want to) biopic, filmed in a time jumping semi-documentary style, tries to stay true to her story as recorded by newspapers and film at the time. Forgive my soapbox here, but her story resonates with me, and the movie reinforced what I have thought for many years. Most people, including my hubster, jump to conclusions about her and denigrate her out of hand. What is it we say in the MeToo movement? Believe what the woman tells you. Here are my reasons for empathy and sympathy for Miss Tonya. Of course, even though I have read and seen much about her and her life, I don’t know all the parts of the story; I did not get to live her life nor am I a personal friend, but in my life I have not been believed or my words have been twisted to fit what the listener wanted to think when I told my story, so I know some of the ways she might feel. 1. She is a home-girl, born and raised in my home-town, and she went to my high school, even though she was years younger and not a classmate. 2. In the area we grew up there were clear delineations of the haves and have-nots who struggled with just living. Tonya was a have-not at the time. 3. She said she was beaten and abused by her first husband. I believe her. 4. She had an amazing skill/talent and was taken advantage of by several people in her life. 5. Her success with her skill she earned on her own with the help of coaches who might not have had her interests 100 percent at heart. 6. Whether she knew about or was involved in the “incident” involving Nancy Kerrigan in advance or not, moronic men in her life, likely jealous of her success, proceeded with an idiotic plan and seems like they would have done so with or without any objections on her part. Those men did not pay for their choice with their careers, but their stupid plan killed hers. Had those men not proceeded for their own selfish purposes she likely would have become an Olympic champion. 7. Not only did the stupid plan of men kill her career, and even though the men were convicted and served a minimum amount of time for the crime, she was the one who was blamed and she has been the brunt of jokes and blame every since, grossly out of proportion to her involvement or non-involvement. The men who perpetrated the mayhem did not suffer in the same way and if their names are mentioned, people say “Who?” So thanks for listening. It just seems like one more case of jealous men making a mess of everything by thinking they can control stuff beyond their control because they wanted to be important in her life. Then there is always this fact: She is the first American woman to land a triple axle in competition. Nobody can ever take that away from her.

Currently ReadingThe Lonely Hearts Hotel (2017, fiction) by Heather O’Neill. The title refers to the place the 25 year old male protagonist dies a junkie’s death. I felt the author did not achieve the tone or flavor of the time period she was writing about. Yes, I read the whole thing. Meh. * 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (2016, fiction short stories) by Mona Awad, a series of connected stories about being a fat girl and losing weight, but never losing the feeling of being a fat girl. * Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2000, history) by Rebecca Solnit. We are walking down the garden path, through the countryside, beyond the open gate.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Lawn mowers chirping all over the neighborhood.
  • The old oak tree that fell in my neighborhood wasn’t close enough to damage any of my stuff.
  • Weather warming just enough to go without a jacket.
  • Turning off the room heaters, even for a day.
  • My abundance of worthless stuff valued only by me.
  • Still having my home and the privacy of my own bathroom.
  • Being able to lie down when the daily headaches I’ve had since my last MRI plague me.
  • The fat robin who watched me from the fence while I was in the pool as I was watching him.
  • My local lending library, that can order me just about everything I want, old and new, for viewing and reading pleasure.
  • My own personal library where I have many treasures.
  • Barbara Bush, who promoted reading and literacy.
  • The lilacs are coming!
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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One Response to Gratitude Sunday: Down The Garden Path

  1. piratesorka says:

    I did not know that Tonya went to MiLHi…. I too followed her and had great sympathy for her as I felt she had these bozos screwing up her life. Did you know she is going to be on Dancing with the Stars this season?
    You are a patient woman Kate. I’m sure I would have divorced your mister after all that horseshit. I can’t have a garden either the shade/sun ratio on my back “patio” is pretty dicey.. Plus I just cannot bend down and do the hand work I used to. I do miss it.

    Like

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