Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Abundance

You know that saying, "As you sow, so shall you reap?" I feel like we sowed our garden with a lot of energy and good intentions, and our garden is responding in kind. Our produce is not large, glossy and perfect, at least, not for the most part. Mostly it is on the small side, sometimes oddly shaped, often with a few insect bites or sun spots. We have mutant carrots and zucchini, and the tomatoes seem to be having it a bit rough.
Okay, so this tomato actually looks pretty good. Yah! I don't take pictures of the ugly ones.
Our spring mix lettuce and snow peas are picture perfect though, and the beans are generally pretty good looking.
I believe that snow peas and their curlicue tendrils are some of the most fascinating, intricate and beautiful things on this earth.
Now, you may be judging me based on my judgement of the vegetables solely on their aesthetic. But aesthetics are important to me. So yes, the weeds are running rampant in our garden, but I barely have time to keep up with watering and harvesting everything, let alone fight a losing battle against weeds who have decided to take up residence. So the garden itself is not incredibly aesthetically pleasing, unless you happen to go for that wild, overgrown look. So I don't think it's unreasonable to look for aesthetic pleasure on a smaller scale, in the beauty of the plants that are supposed to be in the garden and their fruits. I'm not going to go all Oscar Wilde and start proclaiming "Gardening for art's sake!" I haven't mentioned the way the vegetables taste because it's a given. Eating something that you have planted, watered, watched, nurtured and harvested becomes an incredible taste experience. You can simply taste the freshness, be it real or imagined. When you pick a tomato off the vine one second, and the next second it's in your mouth, it's very easy to understand how you are being nurtured by the energy of the sun, and the nutrients of the soil, and you become incredibly grateful to this plant for doing all of that hard work of gathering the energy and nutrients and producing this luscious and delicious fruit for you to enjoy. So no matter what the vegetable looks like, once it's in your mouth you're happy and grateful.
I know what you're thinking: Those beets look pretty darn good! Those aren't ours - they're a gift from a garden friend that had too many, as are the carrots and some of the peppers. If you can't/don't garden yourself, just hang out with gardeners, they love to share, and they'll be especially happy if you ooh and ahh over their produce.
Our garden is giving us an abundance of produce. I come back every week with my bike crate full to bursting of fresh vegetables. I feel like such a happy hippie as I ride my bike home with beet greens and carrot tops trailing behind me.
The bottom shelf of our fridge is devoted to garden produce, which makes its way into things like salade nicoise, Lao cuisine, zucchini brownies, stirfry, and onto the grill. Although we didn't sow our garden with an incredible amount of skill, knowledge, or forethought, it is reflecting back to us our abundance of enthusiasm and hope in its bountiful harvest cornucopia.
La salade, made with our very own lettuce, tomatoes and green beans (we haven't started raising chickens yet) and my lovely friend Janna.

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