Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cool Beans

First Harvest
My Garden
November 29, 2009

"Plants cry their gratitude for the sun in green joy."
~Astrid Alauda

There has been so much to give thanks for this season: health, prosperity, loved ones, the sun above my head...and this weekend, the fruits of my garden.

My vegetable garden is perched on the edge of my canal. It knows no chemicals, and is doused often with love, worm castings and Alaska Fish Fertilizer (ACE really is the is the only store that carries my favorite plant food). I returned from my second trip of the autumn to the mountains and found the peas and 3 tomatoes chewed to nubbins by fat, black caterpillar creatures. I dutifully picked them all off and fed them to snook and catfish in the canal. I've replanted with spinach, lettuce and dill. Lots of dill. Apparently hungry pests don't like dill much. Pity them. These guys are equally diligent in devouring every green thing they can crawl to; they even ate the leaves off the marigolds I planted to repel them. Not much of a first line of defense, it seems.

Tending the garden is a good bit of work, as most labors of love are. In 1871, Charles Dudley Warner wrote that gardeners need a cast-iron back with a really good hinge in it. There's always a learning curve for every climate zone. And gardening without harsh chemicals is not for the faint of heart or faith. A garden teaches persistence, patience and unconditional love. Are there more important lessons to learn in life?

I'll enjoy these beans, all dressed up in their pre-holiday red and green. Though just an early handful, I'll savor each bite as I share them with friends coming to a delayed Thanksgving meal tonight. I spent Thanksgiving day helping prepare food for eighty folks at my neighborhood association's annual dinner. Those without families or places to go gathered and devoured nearly all the 35 pounds of potatoes I hand-peeled and mashed, the huge trays of stuffing and enormous pots of gravy I made, and the five turkeys roasted and carved by five generous seniors. I was grateful for the opportunity to lend my hands and help prepare a meal that joined together so many people who live near me. For most, this day is a day of thanks and gratitude, which was shared equally with food. I walked home when everyone was fed and full, smiling and thankful that I'd spent the day practicing the other half of Thanksgiving - giving.

Nikon D2x - Nikkor 18-200 VR, my favorite red plate, a little spot of pretty light that caught my eye in the kitchen

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