Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Black Thumb Finds It's Yogic Self

I've been bad about posting lately - lots going on. And I've had a few posts kind of meandering around in my head, but I must say that knowing that there are a few readers out there made me feel a little self-aware - I don't want to self-edit, but it's hard not to... But I'm also glad not to be writing this for nothing too... I'm not saying at all not to comment, by the way, dear readers. It's kind of cool, knowing that you're out there. I just hadn't anticipated the reaction I had to seeing comments. So those posts will come some time when I don't have Bridger trying to type with me, and crawl off the couch.

Anyhow... on to the subject of this post. I am a plant killer. Every holiday my wonderful mother-in-law buys me beautiful plants, and they all die. My mother even gave me an aloe vera plant, saying that they are practically indestructible, and lo-and-behold -I killed it. But the summer after we moved into this house (in '05), I extended the little stone-walled garden around the side of my house, with the thoughts that perhaps I'd grow herbs. I did that summer, manage a few herbs, but the next two summers I never got to it - wedding one summer, baby the next. So it overgrew - the lemon verbena ran rampant. It looked pretty wild...

Until today! I finally cleaned the whole bed - put in lovely compost that we've been working on for a whole year. It's a lovely dry loamy mix of chicken poop (love our girls!) and vegetable matter that should improve that soil greatly. I'm also going to mix in pulp from my juicer.

I had a very strong feeling that my great-grandfather was with me while I was working (he passed in '84). My only memory of him was gardening - he was teaching me that if I buried dead plants, they would fertilize the soil, and grow more beautiful things the next year. I think he would have been very happy - watching three generations of his kin gardening on such a beautiful day, using the knowledge he passed on to my father, and me. In this way I don't think it's glib to tell Isabella that we keep those who pass in our hearts, and talking about the dead is a way to keep them alive. Great-Grandpa is alive while I teach Isabella what he taught me, and he will continue to be as she passes his memory along.

So as I was tilling the soil I was finding not many worms, and tons of grubs. I have a crawly thing phobia - I guess the summer of '79 was a bad gypsy moth caterpillar year, in which I screamed the whole summer - and it's never left me. Crawlies freak me out - make my skin crawl literally, turn my stomach, the whole nine yards. I have no qualms about killing them (except spiders - they eat bugs, so someone else takes them outside). But as I was taking out the grubs, and smashing them with glee on the stone wall, it occured to me that I was blatantly violating the yogic principle of non-harming. So... I thought to myself, I wish we could bring the chickens over to my garden to let them at the grubs... oh wait! I can bring the grubs to the hens! Then I'm honoring the omnivore tendancies of our girls, not wasting the grubs, and not killing them just to kill them - they are going to good use! Aha! My yoga teacher would be so proud... And I think the garden is lucky - I found a newt! Little and reddish brown. Very cool - Isabella loved it. Hopefully the snake that lives in the wall won't eat it.

So this week I'll go out and get my plants - I'm only planting what I cook with, and hopefully have some pictures to add of my efforts. And the plants will live to tell the tale.


  1. Say, you and Tyler should talk gardening sometime! He composts everything he can, and he's putting in raised beds in the yard this year with the intention (in part) of raising more edible plants.

    p.s. I am so jealous that you have chickens!

  2. DH would love to have chickens some day. We're avid landscaping and perennial gardeners and are trying our hands vegetable gardening for the first time this year. He built a small raised bed and we planted basil, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and cukes. We'll see how it goes!