At the beginning of this year, we took E, our 5-year-old daughter, out of preschool. There were several factors that went into our decision, one being that she had been attending either full-time day care or preschool almost her entire life. She had never had the opportunity of completely unscheduled time. And, frankly, neither had I. Honestly, I wasn’t sure we had made the right decision, but now I could not imagine it any other way. We seized a fleeting opportunity.
Now, our days are fluid. We have the freedom of visiting our local children’s science museum three times in one week if that is what we feel like doing. And, we have been there a lot. This particular museum really lends itself to E’s current interests. Aside from playing with her various versions of little animals, her other favorite thing to do is anything outside. She is very interested in nature these days and constantly has her eye out for something interesting to add to her collection of leaves, sticks, animal bones, rocks, bark, etc.
Every gardener is familiar with failure. Seeds don’t germinate, pests take over, things just don’t grow, you name it. Over the weekend I sat on my back porch staring at bare soil, willing my tomato seeds to sprout. I was looking failure in the face (or so I thought).
Just a few days earlier I found myself contemplating a heavy wooden trellis laying flat, like a lid, across the garden bed holding my biggest cabbages. The plants sustained considerable damage with many leaves cracked and broken. It looks like they are going to recover, but my heart fell into my stomach as I surveyed the broken mess. All this failure got me thinking about, well, failure, but also success.
Backyards, while glorious in so many ways, have their limits. They often have fences to separate us from our neighbors. They have trees (also glorious) and other structures like garages and patio coverings. These things create a lot of shade, especially in the winter. In my backyard, in the winter, these things create too much shade.
All winter I have watched my garden creep along, eking out an existence with very little sunlight. I just harvested the first bunch of kale, which I sowed in September! I fantasize about tearing up the lawn, taking a swipe at the neighbor’s hedges, anything to gain another hour or two of sunlight.
Well, the election has come and gone. Last Tuesday evening, many of us in the United States anxiously awaited the election returns on the presidential race as well as many ballot initiatives. Of course I was disappointed by the defeat of Proposition 37, but there were many things to celebrate in other states. Throughout the evening we were barraged with all kind of numbers: percentages, tallies, exit poll numbers, electoral votes, etc. In the spirit of all this counting, I will share some of my numbers, tallies from the garden.
Starting June 1 of this year I began keeping track of everything I harvested. I weighed and counted everything, or tried to. Certainly things got by me occasionally, especially as the summer season wound down. Continue reading
I honestly did not know what I was going to write about when I sat down to my computer to compose this post. I am tired of the upcoming election and can’t bring myself to write about the struggling Proposition 37. Not a lot has been happening in the garden, not enough to inspire a post. What has stuck with me is the perfect fall afternoon we had and the time I spent with my children in the backyard this afternoon.
It started out with me determined to get something done in the garden. I am feeling really behind, and having a sick family these last two weeks has made it almost impossible to do any significant work out there. So, I did manage to turn the soil and plant shell peas in one bed. My daughter helped out, which she hasn’t done in a while. I have a sneaking suspicion that she realized if she helped I would finish faster and we could get down to the real business of playing with her plastic animals. Continue reading