Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Friday, July 9, 2010

From My Own Hands

2009. The year of my awakening. The year I decided there was something more to life than the horse industry. Admittedly I had a lot of help from, so I therefore should acknowledge, the economic bust the US is experiencing. Without this I may still have a business. But that is a different topic. Those who have followed my mutterings and ramblings over the past couple of years may remember that last year I planted my first vegetable garden. I planted some garlic last fall and Thursday I dug it up. As well as some shallots. It's not a lot, but it came from my own effort. I am oddly pleased by this.
My life was so consumed by my business that I had no time or interest for much of anything else. Growing my own food was very low on my list of priorities. Sometimes it is easy to realize the connection of one event to another. I had slowly become someone who relied upon processed food. It was so easy to put something frozen in the microwave at the end of a very long, tough day. This moved from an occasional meal to most meals as my herd and clientele grew.

Remember when gas prices were flirting with $5.00 a gallon? Only a few years ago. Food prices moved up as the price of fuel rose. I decided it was becoming too expensive to indulge in convenience. This was my reawakening about food. I am not new to cooking, I guess I took a long vacation. As is my way, when I made the decision to pass on processed, I passed entirely. The next logical step came last year with the garden. I have always grown herbs and tomatoes, but now I grow more of them, as well as zucchini, eggplant and artichokes. Fennel and sweet peppers. Not to forget the lettuce and spinach. And garlic. And onions and shallots. It's small, I know. But it is by my own hands. It is clean food.

I never intended to join a movement, I was simply taking a step toward my own well-being. But there is a movement of people who are thinking about what they put into their bodies. I know I feel better. 

A few mid-summer scenes on the farm. Summer sprung upon us when we weren't looking.

Nasturtium have always seemed to be happy to me.
I am having a hard time keeping up with the lettuce and spinach. I feel rather self-satisfied that I planted and have grown this, my little bit of produce. When my tomatoes begin to ripen my salads will be a taste of heaven.
A riot of color.
Amazing zucchini. I will be picking them in a couple of days. I love zucchini.
Perky petunias in a rotting barrel. I believe there is a metaphor in there.
My new garden from last year. I think the plants are happy here.
This is a half wild spot. Right outside the screened porch, it is a lovely sight with the profusion of mis-matched colors and lack of order.
Somehow the tomatoes got ahead of me. I will need to get them supported. I have a lot of them.
From my own hands. Hands that will stake tomatoes and pick zucchini. Hands which make rhubarb pie. Gnarled hands, but hands that still work, regardless.  


  1. When I finally settled, I found such joy in my gardens. Enjoy it all for me, too, won't you?

  2. I love this post. I'm a newer reader, so I didn't know about your downshift from the business world. This year I rekindled my gardening efforts too. Not much - some spinach, kale, lettuce, summer squash and tomatoes. Like you, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction watching my seeds grow into food. My zucchini seeds did not sprout, so I am green with envy, it's one of my favorites. I have begun slowly, each year, adding a fruit or nut tree or berry bush to the property. I have begun to look at my yard as a place to grow whatever will look pretty or provide food for me or the birds. If I can keep the deer from eating my apple tree, in a few years I'll be baking apple pie.
    My hands are gnarled too, but they like being busy. I'm trying my best to eat local and healthy, and my yard is as local as it gets. I wish I were able to quit all processed foods like you, but I have teenagers whose whims I still cater to, for now.
    I hope your garden continues to flourish and you keep sharing photos and recipes with us. Thanks.

  3. Love this post. There is such a deep sense of satisfaction from simply providing for ourself(ves). The most popular cookbook in our family right now is "Clean Food" - it is in all our kitchens and the recipes are so simple - but with products that are never produced or advertised by Kraft Foods!

    You should feel satisfied and proud. And the dishes you cook that you have shared here on your blog always seem so real, healthy and simple.

    Love your nasturtiums. Do you sprinkle the flowers on your salads? They are edible and peppery like radish - but I'm sure you know that.

    You are going to have fun with zuchinni!! Do you every cut it in ribbons with a mandolin and use it to replace pasta?

  4. I am on my way to my garden to harvest what is ripe...It is a wonderful feeling to look into that full basket and think wow, I did this.
    Your gardens are so lovely and as always I look forward to see what you make with your bounty.

  5. These photos are great! I love "home grown" vegetables. I have never thought about garlic... how could that have slipped my mind.

  6. gsc, every time I think of why you are still in the desert I realize what a wonderful thing you have done and continue to do for Alf. If I could give you a bit of greenery and shade, I would in a minute.

    Mel, yes indeed. Life has changed for me! It's not all bad, except for the no money part. : ) And the part about still having a job, but not getting paid! But getting a little bit of my life back, being able to have some free time, that's the good part. I would not be blogging if I still had a business.

    Bonnie, it really is satisfying. Mark doesn't like nasturtium on the salad. I think he doesn't like the idea more than anything! I have not used zucchini in place of pasta. I'll need to try that.

    Judy, you have those great raised beds. And somehow you get so much out of a small space. We are behind you so all I have to harvest is lettuce and spinach. Soon though.

    Missy, this was my first attempt with garlic. It went well. I'll plant it again this year and put more in. Give it a try.

  7. Sandra: I love growing my own! There's nothing quite like a sun warmed tomato perfectly ripe & straight off your own vines. The taste just explodes in your mouth. mmmm! I love your wild garden. Perfect ♥

  8. Ganeida, you are so right. There is nothing like a tomato out of your own garden. I like that wild patch myself.


I really appreciate the concept and sentiment behind awards, but I cannot participate in them anymore. I have too may and I have not got the time to devote to participating properly. To all who have honored me, I am grateful but I don't have seven more things to tell anyone about myself! And I'm a terrible passer-oner.