Want to know one of the most satisfying parts of being a 50 something? It’s simply the ability to do what I could not do as a child. I’m referring to
creativity mess making here. How many tantalizing dreams did I entertain, lo those many years ago, only to be thwarted by some short sighted adult saying “Girls can’t do that”, or, “I will not take you to the store”, or “PUT THAT DOWN RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!!!”
Before long I was an adult myself and in charge of OTHER people’s messes. I was all for turning a refrigerator box into a spaceship, or the living room into a cavern made of bedsheets. I tried never to say “Girls can’t do that,” but I did on many occasions say sternly, “PUT THAT DOWN RIGHT THIS MINUTE!”
Now, as an empty nester, I can come up with whatever big idea suits me, and proceed to make as big a mess as I want to. If my first mess making attempt does not pan out, I am free to try the same schemes over and over again! There is no one stop me, which is one of the reasons why I need to go to France right now.
Didn’t you ever want to get as close as possible to the very beginning of whatever you wanted to make or do? For instance, to not only paint your own picture, but to stretch the canvas as well? Or to not only make a quilt, but to also dye the fabric yourself? That’s my approach to farming. I want to grow plants from the seed right to the table. Also I will admit that colorful seed packets remind me of the penny candy we used to be able to buy at the TG&Y. And I want them all.
Each spring, having had the winter freeze my memories of whatever farming peccadilloes I got myself into the year before, I vow that this year I will be organized and efficient as never before. And because of my vow, now seems like a good time to go to France.
This year I kept meticulous records of which seeds were planted in which little container. I didn’t want to wind up not knowing what was where. On April 12 I transplanted almost every seedling into my garden. It was a calculated risk, because I knew I was going out of town before long. I thought the plants might do better in their natural habitats instead of crammed in those little plastic trays.
I moved the tender plants onto the patio in preparation for planting. I likened their journey from seed packet, to seed tray and to the garden as a kind of Middle Passage. My young plants had not chosen to come to my yard. Rather, one day they were dislodged from a seed packet and packed together, head to toe, in plastic seed trays. Today I would free them from their rude vessels and release them into a New World, where they could freely reach toward the sun. I am nothing if not a benevolent farmer.
Did you know that it is very difficult to get a miniature seedling out of a plastic tray section which is only 1/16th of an inch wide? As my planting day progressed, despite my lofty plans, I grew weary of trying to gently pry out the seedlings. More often than not I turned the whole tray upside down and shook, then tried to turn the seedlings right side up. There was no one to stop me. I also ran out of room. I resorted to finding a spot that didn’t look already dug up, and stuffing the darn things down right there. So much for organization; I could find out what things were whenever they got big enough. At 3:00 I stopped, having only one more tray of peas and a couple more seed packets to take care of at some later date.
That Tuesday night we had a FREEZE warning. I spread tarps over as much of the garden as I could. It was out of my hands now. This past Saturday it was warm again. It seemed some bedraggled seedlings may have pulled through. In a hopeful mood I gave the garden a good drink from the irrigation system. Two hours later my husband came in and said, “By the way, I’ve watered your garden for you.” DOH!!! When it finally dried out a little, things didn’t look too promising. Is that something growing up there??? Maybe???
All I can do at this point is to say that I had a big idea and made a big mess to go along with it. Mostly it has been glorious fun. I can’t bring myself to believe that NONE of my one million seeds will make it. Four o’clocks and peppers, for example, are fairly hardy. Since I can do no more now except wait, I’m going over to France for a few days. If worst comes to worst, when I get back, I can try again with these babies. Isn’t it great being a 50 something? There’s always another big idea around the corner. See you when I get back!