February 27, 2014
Grow Write Guild #21: Gardener
My mom is a gardener who grew flowers, plants, shrubs and trees and my dad always worked in the yard keeping it manicured and lovely, so I think I have always been interested in dirt and flowers and trees and such. I recall a garden in my Meemaw's yard on occasion, too. I remember playing in the dirt and trailing around through the plants and trees when we lived in the Conroe, TX area and when I visited my Meemaw in Louisiana in the summers when I was small. My mom always had lots of plants she would tend to. One of her favorite things was wandering around watering plants and washing off the sidewalk when the pollen and dirt were really covering things. It is interesting that I find joy in that as well. I love watering in the mornings before the heat of the day sets in or in the cool of the evening when they need an extra drink in the long hot season of the summer.
Everywhere we have lived I have had some kind of flowers or plants that I have worked on but it was not until we moved to Kansas that I really found my niche. I grew this raised bed of vegetables the summer we were there and it was the most wonderful thing I had grown, up to that point. It was wonderful to grow something I could actually eat instead of just decorative plants.
Before we moved to Kansas we had been in a small little church in a town called Paluxy, Texas. It had a church, a post office and two houses up on the little hill that were marked by the city limit sign . People came from out of the woodwork to come on Sunday mornings. It was a little farming and cattle community. I think it has been my favorite church we have served in since I have become an adult.
There was this little old lady, Mrs. Macrimmon (Mrs. Mac for short), who took me in and nurtured this young wife and mother in the most beautiful of ways. She encouraged me and taught me and every summer she had the most magnificent home garden full of lettuces, root veggies, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and a variety of squashes. She would send something home with us every weekend when we were there for services.
After we left Paluxy we moved to Kansas and it was the time I spent with her that drew me into the idea that I could even grow vegetables in the first place. We had this little patch in our backyard that was walled in with lumber and we pampered that little space with chicken manure from a local church member, fertilizer, compost and then we planted. We took an old tire and filled it with good soil and grew strawberries in it, too. It was the first moment I picked a fresh tomato and zucchini out of that garden that I knew. I knew I would be a gardener.... a vegetable gardener... in some capacity for the rest of my life.
That summer we had fresh veggies and salads on the table almost every day. We had local farmer and gardener friends share things with us from their gardens, too, and it was the first summer I tried my hand at canning. I canned bread and butter pickles and gave a ton of jars away with plenty to spare for my husband to enjoy a plethora for himself.
That summer made me brave.
It made me aware of the possibilities.
It made me a vegetable gardener.