Since we moved to the farm we have been creating the things that make life meaningful for us. For me, this came in the form of a big garden. Having been a farm kid whose mom fed all of us from a family garden, then spending years in the city and being confined to a coupe of raised beds and space at my parents, the idea of a big family garden has lived in my heart for literally decades.
Finally, my chance.
It started as a field of overgrown weeds, but with the grace and machinery of our neighbor, he and his 8 bottom plough quickly gave us new earth! Then came the tractor and disc, the tiller and finally by Labor Day I was like “enough refining the dirt, we need to plant!”
Now, a garden in northern MN is not like the garden in central MN. First of all, there are different planting zones and more importantly, CRITTERS! Up went a five-foot fence surrounding said garden to keep our plants safe from deer and bears, I mean what else do we have to worry about???
Apparently rabbits and woodchucks…
One day we were out there relishing in how well our plants were doing and the next day every single cruciferous vegetable was eaten to the nubs. Our squash plants were eaten off as every huge yellow bloom was devoured. OH, THE FURY!
I was so mad and honestly so disheartened. Is this what my dream garden was doomed to? Constantly being destroyed by whatever could dig under the fence? With Clarence gone helping a neighbor, I went to work with chicken wire to protect what I could, the squash and cukes. Please understand that after all the sacrifices of living in the middle of nowhere, my will didn’t have much left to be positive. Plainly, I stacked up another layer of fencing in tears.
When Clarence got home I was already surrounding the outside of the garden with chicken wire we recycled from our friend’s former garden patch. Sweaty, stinky and bug bitten we finished fastening another layer of tighter weave fencing to the deer fence.
I was convinced the look of my beautiful garden was going to be ruined by this extra layer but was relieved when it actually ended up looking just fine. We crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.
Fast forward to weeks of watering, of searching for new plants like cabbage (I’m German you know) cauliflower (I only found purple), and missing our broccoli and brussels sprouts due to the end of the season – and here we are.
Two days ago we ate our first tomatoes from our very first garden together. They were absolutely dreamy! The next day we picked zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, jalapeños, and green peppers that were gifted to a friend as we left for a week of vacation. Our friends will be harvesting from our garden while we are away.
A part of me is disappointed that the first of the firsts will be enjoyed by others than us, and another part of me is thrilled by it. It all reminds me that we are in this for the long haul. I’ve reminded myself a thousand (and I’m not exaggerating one bit) times that this endeavor is years, not days or weeks in the making.
Our peas didn’t come up at all…I’ll figure it out next year. Our beans barely came up and Clarence accidentally pulled out two of the four plants that did come up…oh well. It reminds me to stay focused on the moment, not to count my eggs, or squash or peas, before they hatch. To remember he and I are in this together, and not just two one person islands. It has taught me to appreciate him and see his desire for me to have things that bring me simple joy, like growing my own food and getting my toes and hands in the dirt.
It is teaching me sharing, which for me is really about me letting go of an old deprivation mindset.
Mindset has been an area of focus for me this year. Choosing my thoughts consciously, and acting on things that truly inspire me, means I have to be still enough inside to know those things, those truths, that come from inside me. These changes too are fruits, or vegetables of my labor, and the soil that a life fulfilled is grown from.
Forever the journey, Anne