Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Almanac

I am a happenstance gardener, unlike my Grandpa, whose abilities are housed in his whole being because a single thumb just isn't big enough. Whole catalogs of wisdom and experience are etched in his memory as clearly as the lines on his hands. Talking to him and my Uncle Gary is like flipping through the Farmer's Almanac, except much funnier. Gary knows what fish are biting in the lake by which tree is budding out. "Old Timers say the crappie are biting when the Redbud blooms" he explains with a smile that is one half respect and one half amusement. The old timers are always right. We both subscribe to this natural science, as most gardeners do, that boils down to the fact everything is connected. Water and air temperature, moon phase, soil health, sun and shade, everything has it's place and purpose.

You would think gardening would be a simple science then wouldn't you? Basically propagating, planting, growing, and harvesting are simple, but the motions aren't enough. The difficulty of gardening is in the letting go. You plan, you toil, you hope and pray, but in the end, you have to let go because you are only a tiny part of the equation; you are not in control. Nature is in control and even though you do all the legwork to the best of your ability, you have to eventually step back and patiently wait for the outcome. Whether you are rewarded with the juiciest red tomato, or foiled by an unforeseen drought, you are the better for having trusted your instincts, listened to the wisdom of those before you, and participated in one of life's concentric circles. I am reminded of something my dad said when I was pregnant, " Don't worry about the one thing that could go wrong; recognize the miracle in the hundreds of things that go right."
I have a rocky yard so I garden in pots and small raised beds. This weekend, inspired by the surprise sunflower blooming from my compost bucket, I put some seeds in soil and will wait patiently (so not my forte, but I am working on that) to see what happens. Hopefully the pumpkins will be a reality in October despite the fact I planted them when the moon is waxing rather than waning. If nothing comes of them, I'll have learned a lesson. Either way gardening, for me, is time well spent.


Mom said...

Words well said...great post! Sunflowers are the most happy of flowers. They always make one smile. And even when they are dead, the birds still love them!

the Lady said...

Well, you might get pumpkins, they just won't be as big.

magnusmog said...

I agree with your mom - wise words indeed :)

Heather said...

Wow! I love that advice from your dad. It's actually pretty amazing to be able to see life that way. Cool. Just cool.