I wait all winter long for the chance to play in the dirt. There’s just something about digging your hands into the soil, planting seeds and watching them grow.
I’ve always loved gardening. Flowers, fruit, veggies, herbs. It was one of the habits I picked up from my mother when I was small, and I find myself passing it on to my young stepsons.
Our youngest came walking into the kitchen today and found me setting up seed trays, and he asked me if he could help. So there we were, as was our now yearly habit of me setting up the soil in the trays, opening the seed packs and organizing them, and poking the holes to ready them for him, and his planting the seeds and covering them carefully over with the soil.
It always makes me smile at the way he loves to run outside to check on the seeds, to see if anything new has sprouted in his absence, or to see if the seeds need any water. He always comes running in full-speed to tell me if they’re dry or if “Jen! Jen! The zucchini’s sprouting!”
If there’s one thing he and his brother both love more than homemade banana bread fresh out of the oven, it’s fresh zucchini bread straight out of the oven. And every year, when they see those seed packets on the counter, they always look to make sure that I remembered to buy the zucchini. Forget the tomatoes, forget the cilantro, the watermelon, the green beans. It’s all about the zucchini for those two.
Then again, their dad’s not much different. Second week of March, when the air first starts to hold onto its warmth, my husband starts talking about bell peppers– orange ones, green ones, red ones, yellow. He eats them like they’re candy, cuts them up and dips them into dressing and suddenly it’s “who needs candy?”.
Not that I’m much different. I go outside every day to check on my baby apricot tree. Have you ever had an apricot right off the tree in the summer, when it’s still warm from the sun? You bite into it, and the juice runs down your chin, and it tastes so good and rich you don’t even care if it’s making a mess.
Every afternoon I’m out there, checking on my tree like clockwork, checking for weeds, pests, making sure she’s got enough water. Every day watching, waiting for the chance to enjoy such a simple pleasure.
And until then? I’ve got my roses and my veggies to keep me busy.