Greeeeen Acres……

  I just washed my hands.  I wish I had of thought to take a picture of them before lathering them in soap and scrubbing my nails.  They were an amazing sight.  First of all, I have never had fingernails that were long enough to have caked top soil and Miracle Gro jammed under them so deep that the top of the nails were black.  Second of all, it has been a LONG time since I have had reason to drive my fingers deep into top soil and Miracle Gro. 

We planted a garden.

Well, it’s a small sort of lawn box actually.  It’s an eight by four foot patch nestled next to our equipment shed at the top of the hill my kiddos used to practice snowboarding last winter.    We built a frame, pulled up sod (transplanting it to a bare patch next to the driveway in case anyone wonders how we could destroy actual growing grass), filled the space with 12 bags of $1.19 top soil and one huge bag of Miracle Gro soil and planted vegetable plants.  Tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers.  Two seed rows were also set in place – one with summer squash and the other with sugar peas.  We planted a half row of peas today and will finish the row in a couple of weeks in order to extend the picking season for them. It’s what it said to do on the envelope.  It’s mostly likely going to be too crowded for the size but I don’t care.  I’ll weed things out.

And I can’t wait.

I sat out on the grass in the sun for a long time looking at all the hardy little fellows in their mounds and tomato cages wondering if they were truely going to make it to harvest.  I was planning to purchase a watering can to make caring for them easier.  (The prince likes to squirt the little darlings with the hose not realizing he is washing away the soil around their roots. Heh) I was also wondering what sort of garden the Obamas have planted at the White House and how big of a garden my friend Mary and her little Rabbit are  planting this weekend.  And I was singing the inevitable ‘Green Acres’ theme song in my head.  Heh

When I was growing up the back end of my parent’s half acre of property in the middle of Michigan suburbia was planted and cultivated by my Grandfather.  He planted corn, cucumbers, tomatos, potatos and pumpkins (which we sold in October for spending money) every year.  We also had a stand of sour purple grapes (perfect for squirting in the faces of any ‘enemy’ we captured and tied to the clothesline post while playing with neighborhood friends), a row of rhubarb (you haven’t tasted rhubarb until you have had it straight from the bush – warm from the sun – the end tamped into a Dixie cup of sugar), raspberries (again – eaten warm from the sun out of a dusty, dirty hand) and a pear tree.  I remember detesting being sent to the fields to pick corn for dinner.  There was one summer when my father’s oil seal plant was on strike, that the garden became our supermarket.  I remember dinners of corn on the cob, sliced tomatos and cucumbers.  And that’s all.  Yum.

My mother had a love/hate relationship with those garden years.  I found out later that she liked having the produce readily available but hated having to constantly yell at us to ‘stay out of the garden!’  I can still hear her voice from the back door of our house.  Things were much more relaxing for her when my Grandfather remarried and planted his garden closer to the home he shared with his new wife.  Then that back field became a baseball field, a minibike track, home for an underground fort (my dad had a conniption about that one when his riding lawn mower took a nose dive into it one day), a tree house and a ‘snowmobile death trail.’

I always managed to carve out some little space for a garden though.  Nothing much.  Tomatoes…sugar peas…. pumpkins.  One year I was growing watermelon for fun.  Just one little melon actually formed and I went out each day to turn it so it would be perfectly round and green.  One day I went out, lifted the little thing to turn it and it was suspiciously lighter.  Something – a rabbit or a rat – had eaten a hole in the side, and then cleaned out ALL of the pink melon inside.  Arrgh.

I got married and we moved into to a ‘controlled community.’  My parents sold their house and moved to another state.   Our ‘gardens’ became  a few pots of patio tomatoes.  I had mulled over a raised garden bed for years but could never get anyone motivated to do it.  Until this year.

So today, at last,  I sank my bare toes and fingers into warm, rich and loamy soil.  I dug holes and slipped in tiny potted seedlings, added water and covered the roots with dirt.  The sun was hot and the wind was blowing cool.  And I was humming.  And wondering.  And remembering.  And loving the entire process.

Now, there are shovels and clippers and diggers to put away.  My back hurts and my bare feet itch.  And I have vegetables growing in a  garden again.

Life is good.

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2 Comments on “Greeeeen Acres……”

  1. Pam/Wordgirl Says:

    There’s something so powerful about a return to the earth, isn’t there? I find it so miraculous — truly — so amazed that the little shoots become stronger and hardy — almost without help — and I love the reminder of the warm rhubarb —

    I look forward to a vegetable garden — for now its mostly prairie plants and a container of basil…our growing season seems short here and I never seem to get tomatoes — or not many anyway until the frost sets in and I’m left with lots of green ones…

    beautiful writing, beautiful thoughts — ah, the growing season…

    XO

    Pam


  2. […] lesson learned In May of 2009, my husband and I finally got around to carving out a bit of garden space.  It was   just a 4X8 boxed space next to our shed  filled with a mixture of  top soil and […]


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