Friday, May 23, 2014

...And in between we garden

"You're living the good life, Megan," one of my barter workers said repeatedly this week as we mulched, prepped beds, and seeded popcorn, okra, sweet corn, winter squash and melons. The lawn mowers in my neighborhood had ceased, the wind was calm, the sun was not too hot, the valerian and the chamomile flowers filled the air with a sweet aroma, and the birds were out in full force tweeting away. The pasture surrounding my property, with grass growing nearly to the height of our heads, provided a nice green backdrop to our day. As he sowed popcorn seed for the first time, he told me his favorite saying, "We come from the Earth, we return to the Earth, and in between we garden."

Photo taken at M R Gardens, by Vickie Burick
In mid-May, when plant sales, planting, and garden coaching all hit their peak at the same time, I appreciated the reminder of how lucky I am. Too much of a good thing can be, well, a bit much, and my body was starting to feel the effects of three months of labor. My worker showed up at just the right time to give me the relief I desperately needed.

In exchange for his good work, I offered him a homegrown lunch, several bags of produce, and raspberry crowns for his own garden. He insisted that the fun work and educational experience was enough of a trade. At the same time, the opportunity to spread a little knowledge about growing food and about the natural world felt even more valuable to me than the help.

Our interaction inspired two more entries to Why I garden: My growing list:

To share with others my love of growing my own food and my fascination with the natural world.

To spread out the labor of agriculture among a greater number of people. The more people involved, the less taxing the work. In fact, it becomes enjoyable.