I Do Declare: Gardening is a lot of work and a lot of reward, but mostly a lot of work

An herb garden out of an old chandelier.

I am one of the approximately 1 zillion people trying their hands at raised-bed gardening.

I happen to know it’s that many because when you google (or bing or duckduckgo) “raised bed gardens” you get a hillion-jillion links to articles and videos, and this, of course, is the best indicator of what’s going on at any given moment.

Squash and zucchini or possibly cucumbers. I’ll know in a few weeks.

We have a fairly sizable back yard, so we cleared out a patch of it and brought in various small containers and filled them with dirt.

And by we, I mean my husband. Because all this raking and clearing and hauling bags of dirt is hard work, and my job is writing about it.

(No, seriously, he’s much better at this whole “growing things” than I am.)

A few weeks ago, we did a day trip out to Mepkin Abbey for their plant sale and purchased some seedlings. Those monks really know what they’re doing when it comes to agriculture, and I like the idea of getting plants that have been prayed over.

Cucumbers are growing! I think they’re cucumbers. Maybe they’re squash. Hard to tell at the leaf stage.

We brought them home and popped them into the dirt. And now we wait – and mosey our way through the garden every day to see if anything is happening. (It is! Tomatoes are happening!)

When I thought about writing this blog post, I wondered whether I should do a tutorial or a photo spread or a short play.

And then I pulled on my background in journalism and considered how I would approach it if I were doing this article about someone else. In other words, what points would I want to go over, what insights would I want to reveal, what questions would I ask?

Here, then, is my interview with me on this topic:

Q: Why did I decide to do this garden?
A: Well, why not? Raised-bed gardening is all the rage, and plus I have this vision of me popping out to the garden and gathering all kinds of veggies for lunch.

Q: The plants might not all be ready at the same time.
A: Please don’t destroy my dreams.

Q: But why get into gardening now? It’s not as if I have lots of spare time on my hands. I already have a full plate, including a blog to keep up with.
A: Look, me, stop trying to make me feel guilty. I want home-grown veggies is all.

Q: What experience do I have?
A: Pretty much none. In fact, most plants that come under my care die an early death.

Q: What do I hope to gain from it?
A: A vast storehouse of tomatoes. Also cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and … um … what else did I plant? Lots of veggies.

Q: What is the actual return on investment (ROI)?
A: Okay, yes, we spent a lot on dirt and containers and plants to the tune of … let’s just say the tomatoes are going to be worth about $20 each. So what? I don’t like this line of questioning.

Q: What if it fails?
A: What if it doesn’t?

Q: Answer the question.
A: Fine. If it fails, I’ll have a cleared-out patch where I can build a labyrinth.

Q: Which will mean more money.
A: You’re judgmental for a former journalist, aren’t you?

p.s. This is all in fun. I do enjoy gardening very much. And, as I mentioned in last week’s Haiku to You Too, it truly is Holy ground.

Tomatoes are happening!
And more tomatoes are happening!

I Do Declare: I think about that sprinkling of water on my head all the time

Last Friday (April 9) was my baptism birthday. That day would end up affecting every other day of my life, though I didn’t know it at the time because I was 3½. Being baptized into the Christian Faith and in the Lutheran Church has done more to shape my world view — how I relate to others, how I understand myself, how deeply instilled in me is the need we all have for mercy and forgiveness — than any other event.

Here’s a photo of me that day at the church — along with my older sister and younger brother who were baptized at the same time.

I’m the one in front, holding my Bible. With us are my grandfather (standing behind me), my grandmother (holding my brother), and my mother (on the far right, with a fabulous hat). My dad was overseas at the time.

The image is blurry, but I’m glad it was taken.

The set of circumstances that led to my baptism (full insights on that will be a post for another day) are interesting, one of those things where you can see God’s thumbprint all over it. I don’t think I’m unusual in this respect — God is interested in all of our journeys — but the fact is that my coming to be baptized represents one huge cosmic connect-the-dots of God’s design. And I mull over this quite often. More so the older I get.

Last Friday is also the commemoration date for Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of my heroes. For many years, I wasn’t aware that I was baptized on the date of his death, and I’m positive that it wasn’t planned that way. But I like that this is my baptism date. It adds a layer to my reflections.

Here’s an image of him, along with one of his quotes, which I like to meditate on.