Having neglected the garden all last week, weeds were in their operation take over mode. I finally muster up the courage to face them and look over the potential damage. To be honest, my weed problem, just happens to be tomatoes. I know, it hurts me too to even call these wonderful, delicious fruits – weeds. In my garden, they are. Thanks to the compost. It’s either that, or you can just call me the tomato farmer. They are everywhere and part of my neglect is because I didn’t want to face the terrible reality that these tomatoes need to go.
You’ve got to understand, having lived in the Northwest, it was really hard to grow tomatoes. It’s simply too cold for them, unless you have a greenhouse, and even then, it’s still a toss up. Last years Tomato crop on the farm, from their lack of ripening, we had to make them directly into a sauce. So, coming here and not only being able to eat Tomatoes right now, but to have them in over-abundance in my garden – I needed time to get used to this.
Now that I have, I look over my garden and face another harsh reality. I not only have to weed out the tomato take-over, but I have some extra space and I am going to transplant some of the tomatoes into these areas. So, it’s my job to choose who lives and who dies. It’s a garden task I’m not really prone to -Thinning – used mostly when planting from seed in large quantities. After germination, you have a nice row of small seedlings, it is time to thin. Thinning creates nice spacing between the plants so they produce a good size fruit/vegetable.
One must go through the seedlings and any that are too close to one another -it’s do or die time – one must be pulled. I was taught it’s best to pull the smaller of the two, but let’s be honest people, that’s not always the case and you literally have to play favorites with these little guys. Hmmm, playing favorites – not really my cup of tea;)
As I pick one by one, choosing the bigger, stronger ones, I can’t help but think about the potential of each one and “what if.” Why does it always have to be that bigger equals stronger? I don’t agree. By nature, I always support the underdog, no matter what. I dunno, maybe it’s because I’m so small and throughout my life, many have judged my strength by my size. However, anyone who knows me, knows – I may be small but I’m strong. Some of that strength, is my stubbornness, I admit, which I actually like to think of more as perseverance 😉 but based on my own experience, the little can be mighty too. So my heart goes out and I choose some of the little guys for transplanting just to mix it up…and be fair.
I’m in a rhythym and am feeling good about my diplomatic choices for transplants, when I hear two little voices from the yard next door. “Hey, it’s the neighbor lady!” Looking up, I find them running over to the fence toward me. It’s Jade and Lily. Two adorable little girls from next door.
“You look like Dorothy today.” Jade says,
commenting on my long braids and dress. Taking it as a compliment, I say thank you.
“What are you doing?” They ask.
“I’m just weeding.”
“Can we watch?”
Lilly runs into my yard over to the swing hanging from a tree. Jade is still behind the fence watching and an idea comes to mind. Just last night, I was talking with my friend, Guisepi (Free Tea Party!) who was saying I should get some pictures of what I’m doing. I told him there’s no one else around for help like that and what do you know, help shows up the very next day. Just how Life works.
I call Jade over and ask her if she wants to help with a very important job. When she finds out it’s taking photos, she’s totally down. After showing her how to use the camera, she begins snapping away and of course, Lily wants in as well. When Jade is done with her job, she asks to help in the garden too. “Of course you can!”
Lily and Jade help me weed the tomatoes and transplant. From helping her grandpa in his garden, Jade is pretty knowledgeable and knows the difference between what she calls “a real plant” and a weed. Lily on the other hand, accidentally pulls out one of my watermelon plants after Jade tried to stop her. It was too late. Without me noticing she went right for it yanking the poor thing out. We talked to Lily about the difference between a weed and a “real plant” and I think with time, she’ll get it.
The girls picked the perfect day to come over. The next task in line is building a cob wall and decorating it with large glass chunks that had been smoothed by a river in Germany. I’ve been hauling these around hoping to find a use for them. I pour out the bag of river glass. Their eyes light up as they pick through the shiney pieces with their muddy hands. I tell them to have at it. It was my turn to snap some photos.
When we finish, it’s time for lunch. I thank them for their help and they promise to come back later to continue. I think I’ve just taken on two interns. It’s nice to have some kids around to play in the dirt with me.
From Jade and Lily’s unexpected help and company, it’s one of those days in the garden, I want to last forever. I walk away feeling deeply happy and inspired by the experience. It makes me question whether or not to leave all this and go to Europe for the summer as planned. I know my questioning is just out of fear that I may never have days like this again or that I’d be missing out on something here if I choose to be there.
Isn’t that just life though? …
Making choices means you decide one thing over another and sometimes just for the time being. There are no lost opporutunites, just what fits for now. Just like choosing the transpants – you got to trust the choices you make. You can’t think about the “what if” or “what might’ve been.” You make a choice and see it through. Some choices might bare you many fruits, while others may not bare you much at all. But you still learn and just like in the potential of each transplant you choose, whether big or small – maybe it’s not always about what they bare or how much they bare, but how they bare it – growth.