“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” —Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Patience is a virtue, right?! Sometimes the waiting can be agonizing. We started our seeds way back in March, planted them out in May (as soon as we knew there was no chance of a late frost) and I’m still waiting for tomatoes and peppers! It is hard sometimes to lose sight of how far you’ve come throughout the gardening season. It was just back in the beginning of June, Todd and I took a trip to Tennessee for The Homestead Festival, and it was last night while walking the garden with our daughter Catie, her husband Drew and our granddaughter Avery Jean, that Drew mentioned something that caught my attention.
While we were away, Catie and Drew farm sat for us. Among the many chores they handled was watering the garden. Last night, Drew said “Dang, it seems like we were just out here watering dirt, now look at it grow! Why exactly were we watering dirt?!” We laughed as I looked around, astonished by the sea of green that surrounded us. Drew was right. Seemingly, in the blink of an eye, that dirt started sprouting seeds! Those seedings grew and started producing food. Yes, not as quickly as I had hoped, but dang they are growing! The corn is as tall as me and tassled out!
Last week, Covid hit our household like a freight train. Both Todd and I were more sick than in prior bouts with the virus. It took us out for almost a full week. The garden, the farm, the chores, the household…it all suffered. Yes, the necessities were taken care of. Our animals were fed and taken care of on schedule, albeit slower than normal. We took care of ourselves the best we could. The hardest part for me was having time at home but being unable to physically do the chores that needed done.
On about day five, I was up early and without a fever. I decided to get outside early, make the feeding rounds, and spend some quiet time in the garden. As I strolled, with Ellie by my side, I started to take notice of the things that were neglected. Tomato plants had not been tied up, they were falling over and in desperate need of pruning. Weeds had taken over much of the new, large in- ground space where corn, squash and pumpkins are growing. The potatoes needed dug up, raised garden beds needed to be trimmed around. The radish bed had bolted and all those beautiful radishes were now pithy.
In spite of all that was “wrong” the garden was still growing. It was still absolutely wildly gorgeous. There were still tiny peppers and green tomatoes on the vines. Why?! Because in spite of it all, your garden wants to grow, and grow it will! It does not have to be picture perfect, weeds will grow. In that moment on that cool morning, I chose to see the good. Everything else would be handled eventually. But in that small space of time, I rejoiced in knowing that those times of watering dirt had turned into my place to rest in. I found peace in the cool of the morning, harvesting cucumbers and cleaning onions.
The next day, I headed out to sit and dig potatoes. Digging potatoes is by far my favorite job in the garden! It’s like digging for buried treasure. One of the posts I wrote last year was inspired by potatoes as well! https://headwatershomestead.org/2022/09/13/dare-to-dream/ So I grabbed a small plastic tray, my garden shovel and and old feed sack to sit on. As I sat digging, I quickly realized my plastic tray was no match for the harvest I was bringing in. Plant after plant had hidden so many potatoes beneath the soil. I had to grab a large basket to finish the harvest. In the end, we had just under 35 pounds of potatoes from one raised mound! This garden went days without being tended to and still gave us her bounty.
And just this morning while doing my rounds, I caught a glimpse of yellow out of the corner of my eye. The first sunflower in our south field had graced us with her beauty! She was (almost) in full bloom and just as gorgeous as ever. This garden will grow, in her own time. There is no rushing her perfection. She will give us her bounty when it is time.
It’s easy to get caught up in the every day hustle of life and lose sight of the little things. On that beautiful, cool morning I felt God’s presence and was overcome with peace. I prayed and thanked Him for allowing me to experience the beautiful abundance of our homestead. I watched the chickens and turkeys run though the pasture, the goats leaning way over the fence to get to the good grass, the dog ever so carefully tearing apart the cabbage leaves I discarded and the little chicken who refuses to stay in the coop happily romping through the tall grass. (His name is Mr. Belvedere!) And I laughed as I harvested teensy tiny carrots and exclaimed “WE EATIN GOOD TONIGHT BABY!”
I pray that no matter the season you are in that you experience the joy in the simple things today and every day. And always remember, it will grow.