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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Little miracles...

I have been completely overwhelmed with pretty much everything to the point where I haven't been able to function enough to get anything accomplished - personally, professionally, or otherwise (as you can tell from this recent post). After some serious soul searching, I came to some realizations that either I didn't want to see or just couldn't see because I was too close to it. That's a topic for another post, but while doing this soul searching, I decided I would plant the garden I've always wanted to plant.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I do not have a green thumb - in fact, I usually call it the 'black thumb of death' since I usually end up killing anything in my yard or house (thank God the kids and bunny aren't plants). I decided that despite this, I would attempt to plant my own vegetables, some fruits and even some flowers. I've got this pretty little house with a cute little yard, why not give it a shot!

My typical M.O. is to get a grand idea and then not follow through, but I actually did it! Although I've neglected most of my other responsibilities in order to get it done, it's actually worked to my benefit to do that. By having the garden my main focus, it gave me time to clear my head of all the other clutter that's been drowning me. I've been focused on paying attention to how much direct sunlight certain areas of my yard get, planning out where the best place for a garden would be, what I could plant, strategizing how the kids can help with the least amount of destruction, and all the other details of planting a successful garden.

The kids have been a big part of this process when they're home, but while they're at school, it's been just me and the dirt and seeds. Back to basics.

We're planting broccoli, carrots, onions, okra, corn, tomatoes, green beans, spinach, zucchini, pumpkins, cantaloupe, watermelon, black-eyed susans, sunflowers, and cosmos (yeah, perhaps I'm being a little overly ambitious). I even got a little grape vine and a raspberry bush (which just look like one little stick each right now). But one of the most exciting things I've planted are some seeds that I brought with me from Buffalo.

Matt was the one with the green thumb. He knew the names of just about everything that came out of the ground, and how to care for it properly. His mom taught him a whole lot about gardening, and she would grow most of her flowers from seed.

The summer before he died was no different - he planted a whole crop of impatiens in front of our house, and in August when the seed pods were ready to burst, I went along and collected as many as I could. I had so much fun with that part of it, and so did Jacob. Even Sydney started getting in on it. Some of the pods were so full that you barely had to touch them and they'd burst their little seeds all over the ground. I managed to fill up one of Sydney's empty baby food jars with the seeds we were able to harvest. That was August of 2008. Matt died that November.

That baby food jar had been tucked away in our home in Buffalo, moved with us to California, and tucked away again until recently. The seeds are now almost three years old, but now that I've got the ambition to plant something, I got really excited about seeing if there's any life left in them.

Part of me has been very hopeful that something will sprout, but there's a part of me that's been trying to prepare myself for the possibility that I've simply waited too long to plant them and that they're too old to produce.

We did a lot of the planting last week, and a bunch more this week. Yesterday, I noticed that there is life springing up from the pots with the seeds from the impatiens - the seeds that came from the flowers that Matt planted in our front yard with his very own hands. I could not be more thrilled!!!! And now they're here, in our new yard of our new home. Planted by my hands and the hands of his children.

Inside each of those seeds is an embryo. Life. Little miracles. I have tons of little miracles popping up all over the place, and I am so thankful.

Now that the majority of that work is done (for now), I can shift some focus back onto the responsibilities I've neglected, while I enjoy watching all this new life growing around me.

Would I be overzealous if I decided to house some chickens in the back yard to use as fertilizer, egg producers and compost makers?


Mama_Bear_Sarah said...

i wanted a chicken or duck or something like that but we can't have them in the yard in our city :(

Anonymous said...

Hey Andrea, I've been following your blog for a while now. You are one strong woman and you're doing such a great job of bringing up your kids. Had to comment on this post as gardening and growing has always been a part of my life and this post really moved me - connections like this through plants really mean a lot to me. A funny story: my dad died when I was a baby, so I have no memories of him (hang on in there, there's a funny bit, really!). My mum's reaction was not really to mention him; consequently, I was in my thirties before I knew how he died and where he was buried. I went with my mum to see his grave (first time she'd been back since the funeral) and a friend asked what I was going to take with me. Hadn't really thought about it, but after a great deal of thought, as it was winter, I decided to take some snowdrops from my garden to plant for him. When we got to the graveyard......more snowdrops than you've ever seen in your life! I practically had to dig some up in order to make room for the ones from my own garden. I've never been back there at snowdrop time, sometimes I wonder whether I'd be able to tell which are the ones I planted. I'm so excited about your impatiens! daisy xxx

Anonymous said...


And check out Susan Orleans' article about the return of the backyard chicken. I loved this article.


Anonymous said...

Elias was the gardener at our house too . . . for the first summers I didn't want to do too much to 'mess up' what he had done - move things, cut things, etc. I planted a bit, but not much else.

Last year I ventured a bit more, learned a bit more too. Now this year I'm feeling more prepared to change a few things around and plant a bit more. I found I've loved being out there far more than I ever imagined I would have and, like you say, I like how I can clear my head a bit. It's so rewarding seeing the results too! It can be hard to find the time though . . .

I'll be moving a tree Elias planted a while before he died - my FIL wanted to move it right away but I didn't want it touched at first. I know it's not in the best spot, so it will find a new home shortly, and on the 22nd I will be planting a weeping cherry tree I managed to find, in honour of Elias.

Oh, and I totally want some chickens too! The problem with them here is they attract the bears . . .