Sunday, September 27, 2009

Step Into My Garden

Help getting the garden resurrected a few years ago.

Another helper

And wahlaw!

The Sunflowers are sad that I am going to have to remove them since I positioned them right in front of the beans thinking they were not as gargantuous as they would be!

When we weeded this summer we practiced memorizing The Spider And The Fly poem

Here is a draft of an article going to a mag.It has been a great growing season. A cold breeze sent me out to the garden one last time,

with a meshed yellow Rio Star grapefruit bag to fill with string beans. It is September and the vines are climbing up and over the willow poles. It seems just like yesterday that the poles were gathered down by the banks of the Snake River and placed in the dirt. I pulled up the familiar rusty stool that continually sits in the garden, and began plucking beans from the vine. My 6 year old son, Jaden, is delighted to be able to use the garden for his own purposes again. Now that the onions, peas, carrots and radishes have come and gone, he can make a BMX trail for his miniature motor cycle and


I pointed out a lady bug on a sticky leaf and Jaden coaxed it onto his finger then tried to get it to sit on the BMX seat. When it flew off he replied: “It’s scared!” and went back to jumping the bike.

It has been almost 4 years ago that we resurrected the garden. All the hard work has been worth it. Mainly because of the way the food enhanced the gatherings around the table this summer.

Although the kitchen is small, the people that frequent it are many and the food from the garden is abundant. When Dad came back from the coast with fresh Salmon, we smoked it and made a Hoison Sauce paired it with a Mint Cucumber drink and my sister’s canned Dilly beans, and had honedew melons drenched in fresh lime.

Using my mom’s silver pressure cooker Amy was determined to learn the art of canning. Brining her little baby over we joined forces to knock out the canning.

I dug up the carrots and red onions from the garden using a small shovel; washed them in

the hose and sliced them for the Dilly bean recipe. Adding vinegar and garlic along with the string beans she made a couple of batches of the delicious concoction.
We would drive the 15 minutes across town to her farm house in Iona to help her pick red raspberries for jam, corn flake topping in the morning, and a personal favorite; add heavy cream from the local dairy along with a lot of sugar for an after dinner dessert.

It was one warm evening at Amy’s, she sat on a lawn chair holding her son wearing only a diaper while Jaden ate his first fresh strawberry from her patch.
Barefoot he curled his toes on the end of the wood surrounding the patch and bit into a plump red strawberry. He closed his eyes and relished the mouth watering fruit. I smiled.

Before long we were enjoying the ripe tomatoes. Cutting them in slices and sprinkling them with salt and pepper; a staple at our table. That and the cucumbers swimming in water mixed with vinegar, a bit of sugar and onions. Amy set to making home made salsa and brought several batches of it, which we devoured with crackers and chips.

One of the things I enjoy most is taking fresh vegetable in ziplock bags to neighbors; mounting my orange cruiser and placing the produce in the wicker basket, I took

radishes to Connie, carrots and beans to Debbie, squash to Sherri.
But my favorite thing of all is to sit and weed in my garden. There I can contemplate life.
Slow down and meditate. The action of . I love to take off my flip flops and see my red toe polish against the dark brown earth as I weed. The quiet amongst growing things is bliss.

Methodically winding my fingers around the base of a weed and tugging it from the
ground; I make plans for next year’s garden and my life. Maybe I should add a
strawberry patch to the yard? Where?

One cold and windy spring, I surveyed the back yard as my son crawled on the tire Volleyball pole. The once sprawling garden of my youth came back into my memory. All that remained now was the rhubarb patch in the north east corner painted in by lawn.
Wheels began to turn in my mind. I walked into the garage and surveyed the faded yellow and green John Deere tiller; sized up the dormant garden tools hanging on nails behind the white door , and nodding my head I walked into the kitchen the screen door

clap, clap, clapping.

Then I laid out the big renovating plan to my middle- aged parents:
“I have a great idea!” clasping my hands together. “let’s resurrect the garden!”
Immediately my father’s face turned ashen, the ghost of preparing past gardens swirling around him “Nowww I d-d-dunnno… it’s uh l-l-l-ot-a o wa-wa work.”
“Dad, just think” I used my best persuasive skills, “fresh peas, corn on the cob, plenty of weeders” hitching my thumb to in the direction of my chest “and to top it off your grandson will learn to work!” The skepticism and momentary stuttering gave way to the same goal.

It paid off. When it warmed a bit we cut the lush green grass, pulling the earth’s hair and placing it into a rusty wheel barrow ferrying it to the trailer. Even my son toted small strips in his yellow Tonka truck using his working gloves.

That was 3 years ago; today a sprawling garden once again resides at 1220. It is
September and the beans are climbing the willow poles , creating a green canopy for the grandkids to run through. A rusty stool continually sits in the garden, always beckoning me to come and sit in the warm evening or cool morning

I smile to see the red striped white straws amongst towering Sunflowers, marked graves made by the grandkids for slugs that had been retrieved from the moist leaves of the peas, salted and then given a garden burial.

I chuckle at the kids trying to learn the trick to opening a pea pod; and marvel at my petite niece and the delicate way she plucks the bulbs off ripened raspberries with her miniature finger tips.

Bringing the wicker basket from my orange cruiser I set it next to the garden, I bend down to pull the green tops of the carrots and wash them in the sprinkler, then load it into the basket.

I gather red potatoes dug from around the roots, red onions, cucumber that survived the June hail storm and finally clip sunflowers for a table bouquet. Checking the for ripe tomatoes I pluck some noticing a small sunflower shoot smiling out at me amongst the tomato vine.

Mounting my bike I take produce to my neighbor’s where we chat for a few moments on the porch .

Then I head home to make our family dinner. A trip to the local farmer’s market to pick up items not in the garden this year; Honey dew melon, sweet corn, walla walla onions, Sassie Suzy’s Asparagus and a juicy plum for the ride home. The plum makes my fingers sticky and juice dribbles down my chin but I don’t mind. It’s summer and it wonderful!

My sister Amy comes over to can Dilly beans as we make for a celebration. The menu includes Mint Cucumber drink, Smoked Salmon with a Hoison Mustard Sauce, honey dew melon drenched in fresh lime and family.

I love a garden. I love the bounty. Especially of family.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely get the feel of life with a garden. I was not sure where the article actually began, but I loved the cute pictures that accompanied it. good job!


Blog Archive