27 May 2009

New Farmer's Market in Fairfax, VA

The greatest delight the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

For those of you in the Washington, D.C. area, another Farmer's Market is set to open in Fairfax County this weekend. As my readers know, I am a big fan of buying and eating fresh and local. An article in the Washington Post today says it best: ". . . there are four seasons and that until the advent of global trade, there were only certain times of the year when you could find, or at least afford, a juicy tomato."

Amen, brother! And anyone who has ever tasted a tomato fresh from the garden knows exactly what he is missing in the cold winter months when he is surrounded by nothing by monster tomatoes or hydroponic nonsense that passes for tomatoes.

In other green news, the garden is planted! More on that next time I post.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

22 May 2009

"How Does Your Garden Grow?"

Life is full of beauty. Notice it….
Live your life to the fullest
and fight for your dreams.
~ Ashley Smith

t has been entirely too long since I wrote to you, my dears. Not that I have stopped writing of course. Only that other duties have stolen my time and attention. The stereotype of the starving artist is all too true, I fear. So when one is offered a stable job in a time of great instability, one must take it ~ even if it does not make you spring out of bed in the morning and sprint to work. But then I was never that type of a morning person anyway. . . .

This morning, however, was my kind of morning. If only it were Saturday, then I could have spent as my being ached to. Temperatures are just reaching seventy-five and there is a pleasant breeze that counteracts the sun’s touch. A day best spent in the country amid blue birds and fruit trees and a tall glass of sweet tea.

Alas, I am chained to concrete and steel.

Tomorrow, however, I hope to work in the garden. My housemates and I are very late this year. Life has a way of exploding at the most inconvenient times and so our little patch is a battleground upon which the weeds seem to be winning against last year’s hardy sage, oregano and rosemary. I believe that my one roommate is feeling a tad discouraged over the loss of our tomatoes last summer ~ the rats with bushy tails carried every last one off and we could only shake our fist at the trees.

Gardening is difficult, back-breaking work. And more often than not, the fruit of your labors is non-existent. But something about getting your hands dirty; feeling the earth yield to the spade; inhaling the scent of dirt and heat and spray and plant perfume; watching the green shoots poke their little heads up and reach for the sun. The soul is fed, if not the body and memories are made that last a lifetime.

As many of you know, I grew up in the country. Just five acres but those five acres were my world. For several years, at least two to three of those acres were covered with vegetables: zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, corn, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, sugar snaps, green beans, black beans, peanuts, squash, carrots, potatoes, cucumbers and of course, okra. I think we even grew watermelon one year. Some of my most cherished memories are those lazy summer days spent between the rows, squishing my toes in the soft mud, cooled by droplets from the old sprinkler, picking sugar snaps and eating them pod and all.

Something inside of me aches for the ease and innocence of those times. The ache becomes almost unbearable this time of year and on days like today. Perhaps that is why I garden.

To remember.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela