I grow a fat vegetable garden every year, and people often ask me how I manage to pull this off. The only answer I can think of is that I’m fairly obsessed (fairly being a synonym for completely).
My first garden was a stovetop-sized plot at a college rental. I peeled back a strip of sod and plopped in two cherry tomato plants I had purchased on a whim at the Boulder, CO farmers market. The plants stretched away from the shady house, falling flat on the sunny lawn like religious seekers at the door of their temple. I harvested ten delicious cherry tomatoes before the frost came.
Far as I can tell, this interest in gardening sprang from some deep, hidden place within, somewhere molecular. The origins hardly matter, really. I could write an essay about how I’m in love with the whole process: from sinking a tiny blink-of-a-seed into cold spring soil, to plucking voluptuous tomatoes from the vine in fall. But, it all comes from being completely obsessed with growing food.
There is energy in our obsessions. (I’m from California, so I can use words like energy). In the writing class I’m currently teaching, we’re mapping our obsessions, exploring the mysteries within what consumes our thoughts, letting the details spark the fire of our writing practices.
I want to say this: trust your obsessions. Follow them with the open mind of a child. Don’t worry about making money off them, or what society says, notice the joy that pays off like maturing dividends. Maybe you’re obsessed with knitting, or running, or educating your children, or finding delicious ways to eat vegan…or pizza! (one of my students wrote about that first piece of pizza from the box, almost too hot and the cheese that leaps off in strings). No matter the topic, it belongs to you. Dive in, and enjoy.
Kati and Col helping to rack my brown ale into the secondary fermenter. I am also obsessed with midwifing edible chemical reactions.
Current obsessions on the homestead:
Rose competes daily in the one-woman, indoor jump-rope olympics. She’s leading in the categories: jumping with eyes closed, jumping backwards, and jumping while looking up at the ceiling. Her favorite rope is the hot-pink one she bought from City Market with her own money ($1). Her current highest count is 53, which she only reached once, but is still the trophy that sits on the high shelf of her mind.
Dan is updating his buck chart daily and has pretty much sussed out where the fraternity of neighborhood bucks can be found at all times. (Correction: Dan says he doesn’t know where they are at all times, and THAT is part of the excitement). Antler-dropping season is now (we’ve found 3 already, I say “we” because even I found one a block from our house) which has made “the chart” like a big algebraic equation: if “tall-tines,” “big crab claw,” and “forky junior” all still have their antlers, but there’s one guy without antlers, is it “big 3 x 4” or “one horn forky?” Which, holy shit, I don’t expect you to understand any of that, it’s just to say that Dan’s in his late-winter element.
Updating the buck chart.
Col is making up for all that time he lived in an incubator, when we were only permitted to hold him for 1-2 hours/day. Seriously. If anyone is free from 6:00am – 9:00am, we could really use another set of arms around here.
Washing dishes and still baby-wearing at 8 yrs old.
Oh, and guess what? We’re going to Costa Rica for 2 weeks with my parents. I know, it’s not like me because it requires leaving the county. My parents are treating us to an eco-tour: volcanoes, boat trips (crocodiles), rain forests, beaches (Rosie-heaven), pineapple plantations (poisonous snakes), hanging bridges, wildlife preserves (monkeys), etc…(Rosie, curiously, is really excited about “rushing around all the airports.”) I’m unplugging for the trip so I don’t miss anything. I have a few posts lined up while I’m gone, mostly about good things we’ve discovered. Hopefully, they’ll actually post while I’m gone. Any problems? Call my assistant. If you usually get posts via Facebook, I won’t be updating there, so you may want to turn on your microchip, satellite IV settings, or something.
Also, sometimes I leave replies to your comments in the comments section, so check back, it’s almost like conversing.
Also, thanks for all your thoughts on what you know you don’t know. You’re all such smart and funny and lovely people and I’m grateful for your being here.
Also, what are your obsessions?
(Mine are: writing, growing food, local plants, kitchen chemistry, and raising Col and Rose)
Have a wonderful start to your March. March. How lovely does that sound?
ps: new favorite Google search term leading to 6512: homeschool in her undies. Fair enough.