Love of Gardening

With the beginning of spring (and it’s continuing as California has yet to have summer), I started a garden on my patio.  Even though we don’t have a yard, I wanted to have a place to grow herbs at least because nothing beats having fresh rosemary or basil in a dish.  What began with just a herb bushel from Trader Joe’s and basil, grew into red bell peppers, lettuce, spinach, scallions, and tomatoes.  Oh, and strawberries because who can resist strawberries?

Today is the first time we’ve reaped a small harvest of strawberries.  We only have one small plant but we’ve already have had eight or nine strawberries.  Everything is growing well for the most part, except for the oregano.  I’ve had to replant some of the tomatoes because they’re growing like mad! And the rosemary was ambitious too, so I decided to give it more room.  It’s nice being able to come home after a long day at work and be with my plants.

My earliest memories is of gardening.  In Colorado, my parents planted several trees around their property.  I can remember the trees coming, and then seeing them later planted.  Also, I remember following my mom back into our home from her garden.  She began washing what she had picked, and then offered me a bite.  Being only three, I fully trusted her and took a bite.  It was awful.  The bitter tasting thing was a turnip, so I was told after I took a bite.  And when our family eventually drove out to California to live in the city, my parents tried growing vegetables in any space available (even among roses).   As a child I only remember the small carrots (“they’re not like the ones we buy at the store.  They look funny.”) and snap peas (my favorite).  So I guess gardening is in my blood.  Even though I don’t have dirt really to plant in, I do have pots.

On a quick note – my favorite book is Grow Great Grub from the blog You Grow Girl!.  I just wish I was able to have a rooftop, though our patio has ample space (even with a grill).  Gayla just inspires those who live in small spaces to be able to grow their own gardens.  It’s infectious (after reading her book I started seeds for the spinach, lettuce, and scallions).

Family Living and Health

“We lose our health — and create profitable diseases and dependencies — by failing to see the direct connections between living and eating, eating and working, working and loving.”  Wendell Berry in “Body and Earth” from The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture

I picked up Wendell Berry a few weeks ago, starting with his novel Hannah Coulter.  It was the life story of a woman who lived on a farm in Kentucky, from the second World War to present day.  It spoke of her struggles and happy times.  But more than just being a heart-warming story, it had several snippets of wisdom.  I fell in love.  And quickly requested many other books by Wendell Berry.

Perhaps the most thought-provoking so far (and the second book started), is his Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture.  Because if anyone reads Wendell Berry they know how large a part farming and agriculture is a part of his heart.  And in light of Michael Pollan and Food Inc., food is on America’s brain.  However, I think even with organic food most of culture still does not understand the values that Berry speaks of.  Organic food is still an economic choice in the end rather than value choice.  Organic food is chosen because it promises better health for our bodies (we comfort ourselves that we are benefiting the earth – the earth does not benefit us).  And now it is the perfect marketing option for anyone in the food industry.  Nothing has really changed except that the future of eating organic food has promised us greater health.  We choose organic food for selfish reasons.

Rather than writing an long extended essay, as this is meant only to include a few of my thoughts (things I have been thinking about and discussing for quite some time).  In short, I think what is still missing is this notion of community — family households.  Thirty-minute meals is not the answer.  Family is the choice.  Balance sustains it.  For in the end too, Berry focuses more on a lifestyle and ethics too. Its about our connections to each other, more than where we live or how we eat.  Which is why I like reading Berry.

“Is our nest a place of consumption only or is it also a place of production?” Wendell Berry

Another year…and life continues

Turned in my first assignment for summer school.  I think this is the first time in my life that I am taking summer school.  It started literally in the middle of the last week of the Spring Semester.  But in the end, I am starting another semester of grad school.  Sigh.  I can’t wait to be done.

I’ve learned about managing time better — making sure I get home, make dinner, and do laundry as needed.  Maybe even clean the house.  But I’m still worn out.  Things I’d like to do if I weren’t in school right now:

1. Read

2. Garden

3. Crochet

4.  Cook

5. Write

6.  Take care of those last unpacked boxes (though I’m scared that I’ll finish unpacking those last two boxes only  in timem to move again).

Soon (December 22, 2010 – yes, there’s a date now!).  With better skill, I find that I am slowly doing all these things now.  I have tomatoes and basil on my patio outside, with seedlings for spinach, lettuce, and zucchini inside.  And I do crochet more, with my second blanket almost finished.  It will just be nice to not have to be tied to something else.  Though I know I’ll miss school once it is finished.

On another note, we just celebrated our one year anniversary! Can’t believe it’s already been a year.  Still loving him.  Still loving it.  Can’t wait for what else is in store.   Even being in the midst of education, life happens.  I just make sure I don’t miss it.  I need to remember the moments of playing Rummy, eating good food, having good conversations over tea, and walking in the hills close to our home.  For classes and school only become overwhelming when I forget that life is still happening.  It’s all a matter of what I am choosing to remember.