Elie keeps saying, “I’m so happy. I’m just so happy.” Of course, I also made her cry this morning when my endless patience evaporated without warning. But we’re just out of the garden now, where, for about an hour we pulled and thinned spinach, arugula, mixed greens, carrots, beets, onions and snap peas, weeded a bit, re-staked some luscious—but drooping—tomato plants, and finally, offered our garden a well-deserved deep soak from a leaky hose.
All the while River grunted and squeaked from a swaddling sling on Elie’s belly. River seemed pretty into the gardening scene, and we’re quite relieved.
It doesn’t take much to get us going, and hard work with a tangible result is the best of rewards.
I’ve kind of stumbled into this gardening thing a bit late. As a kid, you couldn’t have paid me to weed or rake for more than about fifteen minutes. I was much more interested in worthwhile ventures like skateboarding and idly strumming a guitar. Among other shortcomings, I didn’t cook. Anything. I didn’t even make my own toast.
So it was a welcome, but mysterious, surprise for my parents when I came home from college one summer and began cooking all the meals.
I’ve since become quite passionate in the kitchen—someone who loves to be involved in the process of making, whatever that may entail.
Last year Elie and I worked on organic farms in New Zealand, and I’m no longer a stranger to weeding, harvesting, and planting. Elie had previously been the head gardener of a one-acre children’s vegetable garden in urban Minneapolis and I trust her green thumb with the life of our produce. She often had delightful encounters with city kids, who, wide-eyed, pulled purple carrots from raised beds—the same kids who had previously thought food magically appeared in the grocery store.
This year, we planted our first garden together. It’s been a joy, from the idea to turing the soil and marking rows, to the first sprouts and beyond. Even as newbie, I know I’m in this for the long run.
All it takes is one harvest to be sure.